Friday, October 28, 2011

Manfred Mann's Earth Band - "Runner"

(Debuted January 21, 1984, Peaked #22, 15 Weeks on the Chart)

One of the biggest stories of 1984 was the Olympic games in Los Angeles. With that in mind, several recordings took advantage of the coming games, including "Runner," which featured images of a torch bearer in its video and a synthesized intro that might have reminded some listeners of the theme to Chariots of Fire. It was an undeniably radio-ready single and was definitely timely. but received less interest than it eventually deserved.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band was formed in 1971 and is still an active band today. As a group that tended to lean to the progressive side, they were always a better album act than a hit-making one. As it turned out, "Runner" would be their only listing on the Hot 100 for the 1980s. Mick Rogers takes on the vocals; he was returning to the band after leaving in 1976.

"Runner" was added to the American version of the group's Somewhere in Afrika LP, but had not yet been recorded when that album was ready to issue in other countries. The album had been recorded as a celebration of South Africa, the nation where Mann had been born. It was also recorded in the face of Mann being banned from entering the country because of his anti-apartheid work.

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