The Roaring Silence is an album released in 1976 by Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Like other Earth Band albums, this includes material by other composers. "Blinded by the Light", which reached number one in Billboard's Hot 100, is a cover version of a track by Bruce Springsteen; "Questions" is based on the main theme of Franz Schubert's Impromptu in G flat Major; "Starbird" takes its theme from Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Firebird. This album also marked the arrival of vocalist/guitarist Chris Hamlet Thompson.
The main riff of "Waiter, There's a Yawn in My Ear" is taken from the Manfred Mann Chapter Three track "Fish" which was recorded for their abandoned third album. It was ultimately released in 2005 on the Odds & Sods – Mis-takes & Out-takes box set.
Manfred Mann's Earth Band is a British progressive rock group formed in 1971 by Manfred Mann.
Having started in the 1960s with a British band that had such hits as "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" and "The Mighty Quinn", then moving on to Jazz Fusion with Manfred Mann's Chapter Three, Manfred's third band, "The Earth Band' is still alive and recording. In his 2003 biography, former member of Manfred Mann's earlier Manfred Mann Band and Beatles-associate Klaus Voormann alleged to have inspired Mann for the Earth Band's name by having besought Mann several times throughout the 1960s that Mann's soft pop style of those days had to become more "earthier" and rockier, not least of all because of the seemingly effeminate image of Mann's earlier band which had led to a number of close encounters with violence particularly in Ireland.
The original line-up consisted of Mick Rogers (guitar, vocals), Manfred Mann (organ, synthesizer, vocals), Colin Pattenden (bass guitar) and Chris Slade (drums). In its very earliest stages, the band was simply billed as "Manfred Mann". This did not mean the band was a solo project, but rather a continuation of the earlier 1960s group Manfred Mann in which Mann was a member. This iteration of the group released their first single "Please Mrs. Henry" in 1971, billed to "Manfred Mann". Their second single, Randy Newman's "Living Without You" was also released as by Manfred Mann in Europe, but as by Manfred Mann's Earth Band in the USA, where the track became a minor chart hit. Thereafter, "Manfred's Mann Earth Band" was the band name used on all releases.
The membership of the Earth Band was stable through 1976, in which time they released their first six albums.
The Earth Band combines the stylistic approach of progressive rock with Mann's jazz-influenced Moog synthesizer playing and keen ear for melody. Beside producing own material, a staple of the band's music and live performances from the beginning has been also relying on covers of songs by other modern pop/rock artists, notably Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, in MMEB's progressive rock style.
Mann's interest in English 20th century classical music saw him adapt Gustav Holst's Planets Suite, garnering an unlikely UK hit with a version of the "Jupiter" movement, with lyrics added, entitled Joybringer (included on the 1973 album Solar Fire). Another classical reference was Questions on the 1976 album The Roaring Silence that is based upon the main theme of Franz Schubert's Impromptu in G flat Major.
The title song to 1973's Messin', as well as most of the album The Good Earth tapped into ecological concerns, a recurring theme in Mann's music in later years, with The Good Earth giving away a free gift of a piece of land in Wales with each album sold. Like other progrock acts, beside treating environmental issues the band also issued concept albums on space and sci-fi themes (particularly Solar Fire, a minor resurgence of which was seen in the songs Launching place off The Good Earth, and Starbird, based upon Igor Stravinski's ballet The Firebird, on The Roaring Silence) and a number of their songs featured religious or biblical imagery (Prayer on the band's debut album, Buddah on Messin', Dylan's Father of day, father of night and In the beginning, darkness on Solar Fire, The road to Babylon and This side of paradise on The Roaring Silence, Resurrection on Angel Station).
Social criticism was tackled throughout the 1970s (Black and blue on Messin' dealt particularly with slavery, and Chicago institute on Watch with mental institutions and science as a mean of social control), a trend which grew throughout the 1980s, with songs such as Lies (through the 80s) on technological progress vs. social setbacks on Chance, and with Mann's growing involvement with the anti-apartheid movement which spawned the 1982 album Somewhere in Afrika. Mann's intention for acknowledgement of oppressed ethnics also influenced the 1992 album Plains Music working with traditional North-American natives material.
Guitarist/vocalist Mick Rogers left the group in 1976, being replaced by Chris Thompson on vocals and Dave Flett on guitar. The US breakthrough for the band came in the third week of February, 1977 when they charted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with Bruce Springsteen's Blinded by the Light from the 1976 album The Roaring Silence. While the Springsteen original from 1973's Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. album has a folky, acoustic sound, the Earth Band's version is driving rock, combining Mann's Moog synthesizer and organ work with Flett's guitar.
The counterpoint at the end of the song where Manfred can be heard opposite Thompson, was the feature that initially attracted him to the song. The band took advantage of the publicity and re-released another Springsteen song, "Spirit in the Night", which had been recorded the previous year on Nightingales and Bombers, originally with Rogers on vocals---although for some territories it was re-recorded with a vocal from Thompson.
The albums Nightingales and Bombers, The Roaring Silence, and Watch followed. Watch produced another hit single in "Davy's on the Road Again", and the albums were original despite the dependence on covers of other artists' songs. Nightingales and Bombers took its title from a World War II naturalist's recording of a nightingale singing in a garden as warplanes flew overhead; the recording appears in a track on the album. Roaring Silence featured a guest appearance by jazz saxophonist Barbara Thompson, and Watch included two stand-out recordings from the band's live performances of "Davy's on the Road Again" and "Mighty Quinn."
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