For our LCM Classic this week we head back to 1968 and our favourite Bob Dylan song about an Eskimo, the 'Mighty Quinn'. The version we have chosen is by folk rockers Manfred Mann, who released the cover in the January of 1968.
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'. Dylan has also been quoted as saying that the song was nothing more than a "simple nursery rhyme." A 2004 Chicago Tribune article 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.
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 Manfred Mann, who released it under the title "Mighty Quinn".The Manfred Mann version reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart for the week of 14 February 1968 and remained there the following week. It also charted on the American Billboard chart, peaking at #10, and reached #4 in Cash Box.