Manfred Mann – The Greatest Hits And More

Nose-to-tail compilation of 60s hits plus solo gems.

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They were a clever bunch, those Manfreds, whether they were tearing through the Ready Steady Go! theme tune (5-4-3-2-1), ripping off Bob Dylan numbers (Mighty Quinn, If You Gotta Go Go Now) or boldly spinning Tommy Roe’s bubblegum hit Sweet Pea into a cool-stepping jazzy instrumental.

A band who were always highly aware of their superior musical prowess, they put backs up a little by polishing the blues into the kind of shiny pop hits that forever evoke dandies and dolly birds cavorting down Carnaby Street. This excellent compilation reminds us that they were mighty good at it, too. When original bluesman Paul Jones left the group, taking his harmonica with him, in came Mike D’Abo and the knowing vignettes of British life such as Semi Detached Suburban Mr James, and the immortal Handbags & Gladrags – an epitaph to swinging London if ever there was one.

Claudia Elliott is a music writer and sub-editor. She has freelanced for BBC Radio 2's Sounds of the 60s, Uncut, History of Rock, Classic Rock and The Blues magazine. She is a 1960s music specialist.