Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)

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"Mighty Quinn"
Single by Manfred Mann
from the album Mighty Garvey! (UK)
The Mighty Quinn (US)
B-side "By Request – Edwin Garvey"
Released 12 January 1968 (1968-01-12)
Format 7" 45 RPM
Genre Rock
Length 2:51
Label Fontana Tf 897[1]
Writer(s) Bob Dylan[1]
Producer(s) Mike Hurst[1]
Manfred Mann singles chronology
"So Long, Dad"
(1967)
"Mighty Quinn"
(1968)
"Theme from 'Up The Junction'"
(1968)
"The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)"
Song by Bob Dylan from the album Self Portrait
Released 8 June 1970 (1970-06-08)
Recorded 31 August 1969, Isle of Wight Festival
Length 02:48
Label Columbia
Writer Bob Dylan
Producer Bob Johnston
Self Portrait track listing
The Boxer
(16)
"The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)"
(17)
Take Me as I Am (Or Let Me Go)
(18)

"Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)" is a folk-rock song written by Bob Dylan and first recorded during The Basement Tapes sessions in 1967. The song was first released in January 1968 as "Mighty Quinn" by the British band Manfred Mann[2] and became a great success. It has been recorded by a number of performers, often under the "Mighty Quinn" title.

The subject of the song is the arrival of the mighty Quinn (an Eskimo), who changes despair into joy and chaos into rest, and attracts attention from the animals. Dylan is widely believed to have derived the title character from actor Anthony Quinn's role as an Eskimo in the 1960 movie The Savage Innocents.[3] Dylan has also been quoted as saying that the song was nothing more than a "simple nursery rhyme." A 2004 Chicago Tribune article[4] also claimed that the song was named after Gordon Quinn, co-founder of Kartemquin Films, who had given Dylan and Howard Alk uncredited editing assistance on Eat the Document.

Manfred Mann and Dylan versions[edit]

Dylan recorded the song in 1967 during the Basement Tapes sessions, but did not release a version for another three years. Meanwhile, the song was picked up and recorded by the British band Manfred Mann, who released it under the title "Mighty Quinn".[5] The Manfred Mann version reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart for the week of 14 February 1968 and remained there the following week.[6] It also charted on the American Billboard chart, peaking at #10, and reached #4 in Cash Box.

A later incarnation of Manfred Mann, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, included a dramatically different live version of the song on their 1978 album Watch.

A demo of 14 of the Basement Tape recordings, including the first of two takes of "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)", was produced in 1968, but was not intended for release. Recordings taken from the demos began appearing on bootlegs, starting with Great White Wonder,[5] a double-album bootleg that came out in July 1969. The first official release of the song was in 1970 on Dylan's Self Portrait album,[7] a live recording from 1969's Isle of Wight Festival. The live version was also selected in 1971 for the second compilation of Dylan's career, Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II.[8]

When Columbia finally released The Basement Tapes in 1975, the song was not among the double-album's 24 songs (although an Eskimo was featured on the album cover, alongside Dylan, The Band, and several other people meant to represent certain characters from some of Dylan's songs). However, ten years later, in 1985, the second of the original takes appeared on the 5 LP Biograph set (this time titled "Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)").[9] This version from the Basement Tapes was used again on The Essential Bob Dylan, a compilation released in 2000.

The Manfred Mann version is noted for Klaus Voormann's use of a distinctive flute part.

Variations in title of song[edit]

The first release of the song and #1 hit by Manfred Mann, which topped the UK charts in February 1968, was released as "Mighty Quinn". When Dylan released a live version of this song on his album Self Portrait, in June 1970, the song was titled "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)". This title was repeated when the same live recording was released on the album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 in November 1971. When Dylan's original "basement tapes" recording of the song, backed by The Band and recorded in West Saugerties, New York in 1967, was eventually released as part of the compilation album Biograph, in October 1985, it was entitled "Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)".

Charts[edit]

Chart (1968) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[10] 4
Germany (Media Control Charts)[11] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[12] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[13] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[14] 2
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[16] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 10

Subsequent notable recordings[edit]

Over the years, the song has been recorded by numerous artists.

Popular culture[edit]

The song is an unofficial anthem for at least two teams named Harlequins, for which "Quinn" can be shorthand:

  • Cork Harlequins Hockey Club plays the song in national competitions when they score a goal. It was sung at their men's Irish Senior Cup win in May 2012, and their ladies' Irish League finals in 2009 and 2010.[citation needed]
  • English premiership rugby union club Harlequins F.C. is referred to by their fans as the "Mighty Quins" and the chorus is sung as "Quins" rather than "Quinn". The song has been the anthem of the club since the 1990s and was recorded by the players on a single that was sold through the club shop.

Between 1967 and 1972, Rotherham United used to run out to Manfred Mann's "Mighty Quinn" in deference to John Quinn, who they signed from Sheffield Wednesday and played 114 matches for Rotherham.

Dylan makes reference to the song in his 2004 autobiography Chronicles Volume One: "On the way back to the house I passed the local movie theater on Prytania Street, where The Mighty Quinn was showing. Years earlier, I had written a song called 'The Mighty Quinn' which was a hit in England, and I wondered what the movie was about. Eventually, I'd sneak off and go there to see it. It was a mystery, suspense, Jamaican thriller with Denzel Washington as the Mighty Xavier Quinn a detective who solves crimes. Funny, that's just the way I imagined him when I wrote the song 'The Mighty Quinn,' Denzel Washington."[22]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 114. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ Manfred Mann: Mighty Quinn at Discogs (list of releases)
  3. ^ Oliver Trager, Keys to the rain: the definitive Bob Dylan encyclopedia, Billboard Books, 2004, pp.505-6.
  4. ^ 'Shoe string cinema ; His latest documentary will air in prime time Monday, but after 20 years the maker of 'Hoop Dreams' still has to hustle for funding,' Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Ill.: 28 Mar 2004. pg. 12
  5. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 54 - Hail, Hail, Rock 'n' Roll: Getting back to rock's funky, essential essence. [Part 3]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. 
  6. ^ "Manfred Mann No.1 in the UK on 14 February 1968 with "Mighty Quinn" for 2 weeks". Retrieved 9 January 2007. 
  7. ^ Bob Dylan: Self Portrait at Discogs (list of releases)
  8. ^ Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II at Discogs (list of releases)
  9. ^ Bob Dylan: Biograph at Discogs (list of releases)
  10. ^ "Manfred Mann – Mighty Quinn – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  11. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  12. ^ "Manfred Mann – Mighty Quinn – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart.
  13. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Manfred Mann – Mighty Quinn" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  14. ^ "Topp 20 Single uke 9, 1968 – VG-lista. Offisielle hitlister fra og med 1958" (in Norwegian). VG-lista.
  15. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart.
  16. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "Manfred Mann Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Manfred Mann.
  18. ^ Ian and Sylvia, Nashville (Vanguard 79284) Retrieved 28 September 2011
  19. ^ Gary Puckett And The Union Gap (Featuring "Young Girl") at Discogs (list of releases)
  20. ^ The Ventures: Flights of Fantasy at Discogs
  21. ^ The Hollies: Hollies Sing Dylan at Discogs (list of releases)
  22. ^ Dylan, Bob (2004). Chronicles Volume One. Simon & Schuster. p. 187. ISBN 0-7432-3076-0. 

References[edit]

  • Gray, Michael (2006). The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia. Continuum International. ISBN 0-8264-6933-7. 
  • Heylin, Clinton (2003). Behind the Shades Revisited. Harper Entertainment. ISBN 0-06-052569-X. 
  • Sounes, Howard (2001). Down The Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan. Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-1686-8. 
  • Trager, Oliver (2004). Keys to the Rain. Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-7974-0. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Everlasting Love" by Love Affair
UK number one single
14 February 1968
(Manfred Mann version, 2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Cinderella Rockefella" by Esther and Abi Ofarim