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60s icons The Manfreds back with celebratory tour





The Manfreds – featuring three members of chart-topping 60s legends Manfred Mann – are celebrating 60 years as one of Britain's most respected bands.

The Manfreds
The Manfreds

Pioneers of rhythm and blues in the UK, and a massive part of the British Invasion, The Manfreds’ music still retains a timeless quality all these years later.

As well as celebrating their anniversary, the group’s upcoming jaunt will also mark the last opportunity for fans to see both original frontmen Paul Jones and Mike D’Abo on tour together as it’s the last full tour Mike is doing with The Manfreds, though he’s not fully retiring from gigging, just touring. Joining Mike and Paul is original guitarist Tom McGuinness.

Speaking to the Cambridge Independent from “near Saffron Walden”, Paul Jones, 81, says it genuinely has been six decades since Manfred Mann first came together.

“Actually, the band assembled originally towards the end of 1962,” he explains, “so as far as the actual kick-off of the band is concerned, we’ve passed 60 years – but it was more than a year before we had a hit record.

“The first hit came out towards the end of 1963 so it really is 60 years this year, and it’s a great to have a celebration like that.

“We have done these autumn tours roughly every other year since the early-to-mid 90s, and we’ve had guests on every single one, except the 50th anniversary.

“We did the 50th anniversary tour no guests, just us, and so we’re doing exactly that on the 60th anniversary tour.”

The Manfreds tour poster
The Manfreds tour poster

Led by South African-born keyboard player Manfred Mann, who is no longer involved, the band originally lasted from 1962 until 1969, with Paul as the lead singer from 1962 to 1966 and Mike D’Abo taking over lead vocal duties from 1966 onwards.

Reforming as The Manfreds in 1991, the collective have carried on performing together ever since. Fans attending the autumn gigs can expect to hear many of their much-loved hits, including Pretty Flamingo, 5-4-3-2-1, The One in the Middle, Mighty Quinn and Do Wah Diddy Diddy, one of the most popular and instantly recognisable songs of the decade.

There aren’t many bands from the 1960s still going strong with three members from the hitmaking line-up. “If you want to be really strict about it, the Stones are down to two now,” says Paul, “just Mick and Keith, because even Ronnie came in later on, of course, but they’ve got three from pretty nearly the original line-up, which is darn good going these days, isn’t it?

“You’ve got a whole number of bands and all they’ve got is the drummer from the original band, or one other member.”

It’s also worth noting that all the original members of Manfred Mann are still alive, which perhaps no other band from that period can say.

“Well, yes, when we got back together again in 1991, we actually did have everybody except Manfred,” notes Paul, who left the fold in the mid-60s to pursue a solo career as he felt the group was becoming more and more pop-driven.

“And in a way it was a coincidence, or a sort of spin-off, that we got the band back together, because in 1991 Tom McGuinness was celebrating his 50th birthday and he decided to celebrate by having every band that he’d ever played in on one gig, on one evening.

“That meant having The Manfreds, of course, having The Blues Band, having McGuinness Flint and also having a band called The Roosters, which was his first band.

“He couldn’t get The Roosters back together again, for one reason: another member of The Roosters was Eric Clapton and we couldn’t find him – he’d vanished...

“But we had all of that back together again and it was a wonderfully enjoyable evening. We got back to the dressing room and somebody said, ‘You realise we’re going to have to do more of this, don’t you?’ because The Manfreds obviously topped the bill and that was what we realised we were going to have to do more of.

“And sure enough, we started there and then to get gigs and go back out on the road. It was a little bit slow starting but it’s going very well now, 30 years later!”

Paul, who has also worked extensively as an actor in TV and theatre, says he’s “moderately in touch” with Manfred but notes: “There were times when we weren’t in touch because we really wanted him to come back and play with us. Not all year round but to do the odd tour, but he wouldn’t do it.

“I absolutely understand because Manfred Mann’s Earth Band is a very going concern, and so why would he muddy the water of his own career? So there was a time when we were sort of not very friendly but that’s long gone now – we’re all mates again.”

Paul notes that only Manfred Mann and keyboard player and drummer Mike Hugg were in Manfred Mann before he was. Mike was involved with The Manfreds until recently.

“Absolutely – right from 1991 through to 2021,” says Paul, a committed Christian, “but he’s been off with ear problems and stuff like that... we’re in contact and seeing how things go for him.

“He’s still spiritually there, if you see what I mean. A lot of stuff that we put in the repertoire because of him when he was there, we are still playing when he’s not there, so he’s still with us in spirit.”

[Read more: Tony Hicks of The Hollies: ‘I can’t wait to be in Cambridge’, Graham Nash of Hollies and Crosby Stills & Nash fame to make Cambridge Folk Festival debut]

The Manfreds will be appearing at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday, November 11. Tickets, priced £35.50 and £37.50, are available at cornex.co.uk. For more on the band, visit themanfreds.com.



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