- 2 Chicago version
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Other cover versions
- 5 VW Polo advert
- 6 In other media
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The original recording was a fast, Hammond organ-driven blues rock track released as a single by the Spencer Davis Group in early 1967, reaching number nine in the UK Singles Chart and number 10 in the U.S. (the US edition was slightly edited) Billboard Hot 100. It was the last hit single by the band before the brothers Steve and Muff Winwood left to pursue their own separate careers.
"I'm a Man" was included on the band's summer 1967 album, I'm a Man, as well as being featured on the recent Spencer Davis Group DVD Gimme Some Lovin' Live 1966. Although the recording is said to be late 1966, this date is in fact controversial. In an article and an interview on the "Living Archives" (Elävä arkisto) website of YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation, the producer of the original live recording, Mr. Tapani Karhu, clearly states that the date of the show was 19 March 1967.
Chicago Transit Authority (now known as Chicago) recorded a cover version of "I'm a Man" for their 1969 debut album, The Chicago Transit Authority. When the band's popularity surged after their second album, "I'm a Man" was released as the B-side to a re-release of "Questions 67 and 68". Radio stations ended up playing both sides, and "I'm a Man" reached #49 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1971.
Chicago's cover arrangement which features an extended percussion and drum section clocks in at 7 minutes and 40 seconds, and is based around the bluesy guitar playing of Terry Kath, the virtuoso drumming of Danny Seraphine, and the horn section doubling on auxiliary percussion instruments, such asclaves, cowbell, maracas, and tambourine. Kath, Peter Cetera and Robert Lamm each sing a verse apiece (singing not the lyrics as written, but as Chicago apparently misunderstood them), preluding the extended drum solo before a return to the second and third verses and choruses that bring the song to a climactic drum roll, and finally leading into a guitar solo to bring the song to a dramatic close. This version remains a fan favourite and is featured on the 1971 four record live album Chicago at Carnegie Hall and Chicago Live in Japan , the recording of Chicago's 5 day stint at the Osaka Festival Hall in June of 1972, which was initially released exclusively in Japan in 1975 and was later released on CD on Chicago Records elsewhere in the 1990s as well as a live recording at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival from 1969. Santana has also used a small part of this song in the track "Waiting" which appears on their self titled 1969 debut album. In many live performances, Chicago would hand pick a female track athlete from the crowd to run out on to the stage and perform gymnasticmoves to accentuate her man-esque body features, particularly the legs.
- Terry Kath - lead vocals (first verses), backing vocals (choruses), fuzzed wah-wah electric guitars
- Peter Cetera - lead vocals (second verses), backing vocals (choruses), bass
- Robert Lamm - lead vocals (third verses), backing vocals (choruses), Hammond organ, maracas(?)
- Danny Seraphine - drums, maracas(?)
- Jimmy Pankow - cowbell, trombone
- Lee Loughnane - claves, trumpet
- Walt Parazaider - tambourine, tenor saxophone
It is unclear if the maracas were performed by Lamm or overdubbed by Seraphine during his drum solo.
The Serfs album The Early Bird Cafe, Capitol, 1968, featured a percussion-heavy intro (pre-dating Chicago's) and Mike Finnigan's lead vocal. Their arrangement segued into Bo Diddley's song of the same name.
Progressive hungarian band Syrius often played the song - combined with Brian Auger song Black Cat - in their concerts between 1970 and 1973. The studio version of the song has been recorded in 1971 in Australia, but it has been released more than twenty years later in 1994 on album Most, Mult, Lesz.
Former Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine's current band, California Transit Authority (CTA), performed "I'm a Man" at their appearance at the 2006 Modern Drummer Festival in New Jersey. The performance featured extensive drumset and percussion solos. The tune also appears on CTA's first album, "Full Circle," released in 2007.
Marzio Vincenzi, lead and background vocalist originally from Bologna, Italy, and Mauro Malavasi produced in 1978 a version of "I'm a Man" under the name Macho which is a classic of disco music, or as some[who?] have classified it, "rosco music", a hybrid between rock and disco genres.
A further disco-flavored version is the one released by keyboardist Keith Emerson in his soundtrack album of the 1981 film Nighthawks, featuring him providing unlikely lead vocals. The song underpins a key scene in the movie in a slightly different version which features a longer instrumental coda not included in the original record.
Another disco cover by Star City has been released in 1978.
In 1987 the Italian producer Gianfranco Bortolotti edited as Club House the maxi-single "I'm a man/Yéké Yéké" remixing both tracks.
A remix of the original was featured on Gravy: Remixes & Rarities in 2007 released by Acid Jazz Records.
The Sub recorded a version on their 1970s album Sub - In Concert.
Funk group Capri released a live version with horns and extended arrangement on their 2008 E.P. "I'm A Man".
Volkswagen aired a UK television commercial titled "Dog" in late winter 2008, which featured a dog miming singing "I'm a Man". The version used in the advert for the Polo was a cover version by a young British singer-songwriter, Charlie Winston. The Noam Murro-directed advert was banned after complaints from the RSPCA and over 750 viewers.
The Live365 Internet radio service Radio Vietnam uses excerpts from "I'm a Man" as one of their station IDs.
The song was used in the Mad Men Season 7 premiere episode, "Time Zones".