Music Mystery #246: Wrapped up like a Douche??

Everyone who has heard that song “Blinded by the Light” and wondered what the line about a douche is, here is your answer.

Blinded by the Light was originally written by Bruce Springsteen and was his first single off the album Greetings from Asbury Park N.J. A version of the song recorded by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was a major hit, reaching #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 on 19 February 1977. Interestingly enough, as of 2008, the Manfred Mann’s Earth Band recording of “Blinded by the Light” is still Springsteen’s only Number 1 single as a songwriter on the Hot 100.

Okay here’s the big question, so what’s up with the “wrapped up like a douche” line in the chorus. The original Springsteen lyrics for the chorus are He was just blinded by the light, Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night…

In Manfred Mann’s version, the chorus is Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce another runner in the night…

The contentious word is “deuce”, which Springsteen clearly pronounces. However, Manfred Mann pronounces “deuce” with a little flourish at the end making it sound like douche, which is French for “shower”. In addition, once you know that “wrapped” is actually “revved” it make’s more sense.

Alright, so what the hell is a “deuce”?!?
Although there really is no definitive answer, Springsteen nor Mann have ever commented on it, most folks, including myself, believe that it is a reference to the 1932 Ford Coupe beloved of hotrodders, nicknamed the Deuce Coupe ala the Beach Boys’ hit, “Little Deuce Coupe”. However, in a song that mentions, go-kart Mozarts checkin’ out the weather charts, and some kidnapped handicap was complainin’ that he caught the clap from some mousetrap he bought last night, who knows what the eff it means.

A 1932 Ford “Deuce” Coupe hotrod

Have a listen to both versions and see what you think.

Blinded by the Light – Bruce Springsteen – Greetings from Asbury Park N.J. – 1973

Blinded by the Light -Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – 1977

“Now you know….and knowing is half the battle!”

More Music Mysteries Revealed to come! I’ll answer such hard hitting questions such as “Who was the first pop singer to change his name to a symbol, decades before Prince?”, “What does the “L.L.” in “L.L. Cool J” stand for?, “Is it true that you can hear a woman being murdered in the song “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players?

As well as plenty of other musical urban legends, and downright perplexing shit! Stay Tuned!!

5 Responses to Music Mystery #246: Wrapped up like a Douche??

  1. On the one hand, I could maybe see why Manfred Mann changed the lyrics a bit. “Cut loose like a deuce” is uncomfortably close to the expression, “drop a deuce,” and could inspire sniggering.

    I don’t think that’s it that, though. In the live version of Manfred Mann’s “Blinded by the Light” that you posted, the lyrics are much easier to understand than they are in the studio version. This makes it crystal clear that he really is singing “douche,” no matter what the lyric sheet says. This has inspired sniggering for over thirty years.

  2. The Springsteen version is infinitely better, although that little guitar intro after the horns sounds extremely similar to the famous opening of “Listen to the Music” by the Doobie Brothers.

  3. Former Housemate Mike says:

    I always thought it was a drug reference based on the Manfred Mann version. Though I have never heard such a reference, “wrapped up like a deuce” just sounded like a weed reference to me.

  4. DAlyosha says:

    Wow. The Springsteen version of this is a real improvement (though I don’t know if ‘improvement’ is the right word, because the Springsteen version came before the dreaded ‘racked up like a Douche’ one) ~and I’m not one of those people who just goes around thinking that even Bruce Springsteen’s farts are miracles of melodious genius. In any case, what a freaking relief after all these years to finally have that line explained. The thing about it, for me anyway, has always been this: regardless of how many times you listen to it, it still sounds like there is no way he could be saying anything else but ‘like a douche’ (though it always sounded like ‘racked’ or ‘hacked’ up to me, not that ‘wrapped up’ would have made any more or less sense than ‘racked up’ or ‘hacked up’). I mean, unlike other ambiguous song lyrics that I can think of, the guy is not mumbling, and there are not five different possible explanations for what he could be saying. Most people with whom I’ve discussed this agree with me in that they pretty much concluded that he had to be saying ‘douche’~it was just a question of WHY THE FUCK WOULD HE SAY IT?

    Anyway, I don’t know if the truth makes it any better: Manfred Mann’s interpretation of this song is, with or without the ‘douche’ line, one of those examples of a song that got(and gets) a lot of play because it is ‘catchy’. ‘Catchy’ does not always mean good: sometimes ‘catchy’ is the same as a mosquito flying around your bed in the middle of the night, fixing to bite you, that won’t go away. Lots of commercial jingles are catchy. That Springsteen chose not to take it’s potential catchiness and use it to drive it like nails through the collective brain of the public is merciful and makes for a far better, more subtle song, and unfortunately accounts for why his is not the one that is still widely played on the radio after thirty-something years.

  5. Greg says:

    While it a bad ass picture, the car shown with the model is actualy a ’30-’31 Ford Model A. It does have a ’32 grill however.

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