214. ‘Pretty Flamingo’, by Manfred Mann

After our Dusty Springfield extravaganza last time out, we’re back with something a little more routine. A little more of its time. Guitars, drums and a husky-voiced man.

6607-manfred-mann

Pretty Flamingo, by Manfred Mann (their 2nd of three #1s)

3 weeks, from 5th – 26th May 1966

It’s got an intro that has always reminded me of Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, in the way that the bass and the drums roll in, after a couple of guitar chords. It’s a song that I’ve known for quite a while, a perennial of the ‘Best of The Sixties’ tapes and CDs that accompanied long car journeys with my family. And it’s a song I’ve always liked: it’s sunny, breezy, poppy… A song that gives you a pleasant two and a half minutes; but that doesn’t linger too long afterwards.

Manfred Mann have grown up since ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’ gave them their first chart-topper nearly two years back. It’s a more mature sound, more laidback and a tiny bit trippy. And, though I described singer Paul Jones’s voice as husky in the intro – it’s not a regular kind of husky. It’s nasally, and a bit rough. An acquired taste. The opening line hits you: On our block, All of the guys call her flamingo… This was one of Jones’s final recordings with the Mann’s – he would leave a couple of months later.

And actually, thinking about it more closely, is calling a girl a ‘flamingo’ that much of a compliment? It kind of suggests you have scrawny legs and a big beak… Or, rather, according to the lyric, it’s: ‘Cos her hair glows like the sun, And her eyes can light the skies… I’m still not convinced. When she walks, She moves so fine, Like a flamingo… (Flamingos are lanky and walk with an old man stoop. I doubt the songwriter had ever actually seen a flamingo…)

Manfred-Mann-–-Pretty-Flamingo-HMV-Records-POP

All lyrical inconsistencies are forgiven, however, when we get to the bridge, which has a hook to die for: When she walks by, She brightens up the neighbourhood… And then we have what sounds like a flute solo, and some sha-la-las to wrap up, because it’s that kind of record. I also like the ‘Ha!’ after the If he just could… line, which suggests that deep down Jones knows it ain’t never happening with Ms Flamingo.

It’s a fun song, a cute song, a song that needs but a short post like this to do it justice. This was the middle disc in Manfred Mann’s chart-topping run, and I like that they straddled the swinging sixties with their #1s: one in 1964, one in ’66, and one to come in ’68. They’re not a name that instantly springs to mind when you think of ‘Biggest Acts of the 60s’, but perhaps they should be. Enjoy!

9 thoughts on “214. ‘Pretty Flamingo’, by Manfred Mann

  1. It never occurred to me that this sounds a little like…Like A Rolling Stone…but you are right…it does resemble it. I haven’t heard this song a lot like ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy… I like this one a lot… fun to hear them at this period and know what they morphed into…in the 70s.

  2. A great pop band of the day, and still touring as the Manfreds – minus actual Manfred Mann but including everyone else – always a good evening out seen them many times. Paul Jones is still in good voice and Mike D’Abo fronted their best poppier material, with McGuiness-Flint giving the 2 leads a break from singing for their hit.. 🙂

  3. Pingback: 221. ‘With a Girl Like You’, by The Troggs – The UK Number Ones Blog

  4. Pingback: Recap: #211 – #240 – The UK Number Ones Blog

  5. Pingback: 244. ‘Mighty Quinn’, by Manfred Mann – The UK Number Ones Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s