Mike Hugg (born Michael John Hugg, 11 August 1942 in Gosport, Hampshire) is a musician (drums, vibraphone, vocals, keyboards, songwriter) who achieved fame as a founding member of the 1960s group Manfred Mann.
Hugg's parents condoned his jazz drumming as long as he continued his piano lessons. Pursuing a career in jazz, he met Manfred Mann while serving as a musician at Butlin's Clacton and they formed a seven-piece group. The Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers recruited Paul Jones and later Tom McGuinness. On signing with HMV Records their producer, John Burgess, changed their name to Manfred Mann.
Hugg is a competent pianist and an able vibraphone player but his main role in Manfred Mann was drummer. However, he recorded several vibraphone solos with the band (e.g. "I'm your Kingpin") and used the instrument to augment hits such as "Oh No Not My Baby". He was credited as co-writer of the group's early hits and contributed solo compositions throughout its life, including jazzy instrumentals ("Bare Hugg") and wistful acid-pop ("Funniest Gig", "Harry the One Man Band"). His abilities as a songwriter grew throughout the group's career, though Hugg became progressively unhappy with the band's commercial output, describing the group's single "Ha! Ha! Said the Clown", in an interview with Melody Maker as one of the five worst records he had ever heard.
He and his brother composed "Mister, You're a Better Man Than I" which was recorded by the Yardbirds in 1965. Hugg also composed the majority of the songs for the 1968 Paramount film Up the Junction.
By this time Hugg was already branching out into film and television composition. After composing for Up The Junction, he wrote incidental music to a BBC Wednesday Play, and contributed to the score for the Jesús Franco film Venus in Furs in 1969, together with Manfred Mann. He co-wrote the theme music to the BBC TV comedy series, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads in 1972, followed by the score to the 1976 feature film. Hugg released three solo albums in the 1970s.
When he and Manfred Mann formed the more progressive Manfred Mann Chapter Three, taking inspiration from Doctor John and free jazz and touring with a five-piece brass section, Hugg moved to electric piano and lead vocals. The latter, by his own account, purely for want of someone better. One of its themes was used as the soundtrack of TV advertisement for cigars.
Manfred Mann Chapter Three
- 1972 Somewhere
- 1973 Stress & Strain
- 1975 Neon Dreams (Hugg)
- Rawlings, Terry (2002). Then, Now and Rare British Beat 1960–1969. Omnibus Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-7119-9094-4.
- Interview. Retrosellers.com. Retrieved on 27 August 2011.
- Manfred Mann. Starling.rinet.ru. Retrieved on 27 August 2011.
- Eder, Bruce. (11 August 1942) Mike Hugg. AllMusic. Retrieved on 27 August 2011.
- Mike Hugg on the Manfreds' official website
- PBD Jazz Trio
- Mike Hugg discography at Discogs
- Mike Hugg at the Internet Movie Database
- on YouTube