Wrapped Up Like a Douche! Blinded by the Light

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Manfred Mann Roaring Silence album coverSong: Blinded by the Light

Artist: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (1976 – Original by Bruce Springsteen )

Album: The Roaring Silence (Warner Bros. Records)

Most people know the song Blinded by the Light from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (usually known as Manfred Man), but it was actually a Bruce Springsteen Song, and an important one at that. It was really about driving around in your car and Bruce himself was the “teenage diplomat” in the song, but beyond that, there is not a lot of meaning in the confusing and often random-seeming lyrics. Many have assigned a world of meaning to the lyrics, however, for better or worse. He considered the last two lines to be the best:

And little Early-Pearly came by in her curly-wurly
And asked me if I needed a ride

These are not the lines people remember. Most people remember hearing a word they couldn’t believe could be on the radio: douche. As in “wrapped up like a douche,” at least in the Manfred Mann version, the one people remember from the radio. But the word is not douche, it’s deuce.

What Does Deuce Mean in Blinded by the Light?

Some who understand that the word is ‘deuce’ instead of ‘douche’ still mishear the lyrics as ‘wrapped up like a deuce’ which still makes no sense. Again, the song is about riding around town in your car, and the line is “revved up like a deuce.” Deuce means “Deuce coupe” which refers to a 1932 Ford Coupe, the hot-rod of its day.

Blinded by the Light was the first single released on Springsteen’s first album with Columbia Records, Greetings from Asbury, Park, N.J., in 1973. It was an add on since the label wasn’t happy with the first version of album. At that point, most all the other band members were out of town, so Springsteen played most of the instruments himself, along with “Spirit of the Night.”

It tanked as a single, but Manfred Mann’s later cover of it was number one on Billboard’s Top 100 for the week of February 19, 1977. It actually debuted on the charts on November 20, 1976, and reached the top 13 weeks later, while A New Kid in Town by the Eagles was number two. It is still a radio classic, played many times a day, every day. The band tried to follow up this success with another cover from Springsteen, Spirit in the Night, which hit number 40 in June 1977. They also covered Bob Dylan’s You Angel You, which was number 58 in the summer of 1979.

Of course, Springsteen purists will insist that the original is better, even though he long since changed his style dramatically and stopped playing the tune in concert. What many probably don’t know is that the singer of Manfred Mann, Paul Jones, was actually a big influence on Springsteen’s style in those days, and he performed the Manfred Mann song Pretty Flamingo in concerts. His style WAS a bit more like Paul Jones in those days, at least in some songs, not as rough and straight-forward as today. So, in a way, Manfred Mann making a hit out of Blinded by the Light represents things coming full circle. The debate over which is better, however, will never be settled. It is a matter of taste and both sides probably insist the other side lacks any! When it comes to Springsteen, though, love is blind.

I personally appreciate the original, especially for conveying the lyrics, but I still love the Manfred Mann version too. The difference between the two is not slight and until you hear the lyrics you would not even recognize Bruce Springsteen’s version unless you had already known it from the old days.

It was Manfred Mann, however, with their re-working of the lyrics, that caused the confusion of the deuce line.

Bruce sang “cut loose like a deuce.” Manfred Mann changed it to “revved up like a deuce.” which came out sounding more like wrapped up like a douche.

Is Wrapped Up Like a Douche the Biggest Mondegreen?

It may be the most frequently misheard lyric in a pop-song ever. In fact, it almost certainly is. It is a classic mondegreen, a term coined by writer Sylvia Wright to mean a misheard phrase that makes it have a new meaning. Misheard lyrics are one of the joys of popular music. Some folks “mishear” them on purpose. The funny thing is, we hate to let them go when we learn the truth. Despite the fact that the alternative is a line about feminine hygiene products, most of us will still sing the song that way. Although some Springsteen fans may not find much humor in it, Bruce himself thought it was pretty funny and gave the misheard lyric some credit for making the Manfred Mann version the hit that it became. The misheard line is in the chorus of the Manfred Mann version, and the next line is also heard in various ways, such as:

Blinded by the light
Wrapped up like a douche
When you’re rollin in the night


Blinded by the light
Wrapped up like a douche
another rumor in the night

The actual lines are:

Blinded by the light
Revved up like a deuce
Another runner in the night

In the video below you can compare both versions one after the other:

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