Manfred Mann (Lubowitz) and his eponymous band became the first Western rock and roll band to go behind the Iron Curtain by performing in Prague on this date in 1965. In both Prague and Bratislava, Czech police intervened in the concert and beat up fans. The country was nevertheless more liberal about Western music than other communist nations, and Manfred Mann’s appearance inspired the formation of dozens of Czechoslovakian rhythm and blues bands, which by 1967 would be messing with psychedelic sounds. Also in 1965, Allen Ginsberg was made “student king” of Prague and announced that rock and roll had “shaken loose the oppressive shackles of Stalinism.” He was thrown out of the country for subversion and perversion. To see Manfred Mann playing their hit, “Do Wah Diddy,” on the Ed Sullivan Show, look below.
“We don’t make a real effort to make people sing. All we do is stop, and suddenly people are singing and we just leave it and then we carry on.” -Manfred Mann