He has successfully re-invented his career on a number of occasions, riding the 60s pop wave, experimenting with heavy jazz rock and launched his own prog band (as a way of being able to escape the restrictions of the three minute pop song) whilst still managing to score a number of hits with his new band, including a No 1 in the States. From the outset Manfred has been best known as an interpreter of other performers' material, often selecting obscure or undiscovered tracks and adding his own interpretation, resulting in a very different take on the source material. Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Mike Heron, Sting, Paul Weller, Del Amitri, Super Furry Animals, Abba plus many more have all been given the Manfred treatment resulting in many memorable singles, album tracks and live songs.
Manfred Mann (born Manfred Lubowitz) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 21 October 1940. A mainly self-taught jazz pianist, he had private lessons with John Mehegan of Juillard School (New York) who passed through South Africa, and Professor Hartmann of the University of the Witwatersrand. In late 1961 he moved to the UK, primarily to get away from South Africa and to develop his talents outside of his home country. Manfred played jazz piano and taught music and harmony theory and it was during this time that he adopted the name Manfred Manne for his writing for Jazz News. The name was derived from another jazz performer, the drummer Shelley Manne. The ‘e’ would eventually be removed to become Manfred Mann.
During the 1960s, Manfred was a founder member of the hugely successful group Manfred Mann (using his name at the suggestion of their producer). A string of chart hits followed in both the UK and the US. It was during this time that Manfred first showed his talent at interpreting other people's material with hits obtained from songs such as 'Do Wah Diddy Diddy' (The Exciters), 'Just Like A Woman' and Mighty Quinn' (Bob Dylan) and 'Pretty Flamingo' (Mark Barkan).