The Animals

The Animals were an English rock band that released three albums and nine singles between 1964 and 1966 on Columbia and Decca. They formed in Newcastle and conquered London just in time to play a key role in the 1964 British Invasion that swept the US. They topped charts in multiple territories with their second single “House of the Rising Sun,” an ominous R&B ballad followed by the impassioned “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and the clarion calls “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “It’s My Life.”

The group disbanded after their 1966 hit “Don’t Bring Me Down.” Singer Eric Burdon formed a new band dubbed Eric Burdon & The Animals, which released five 1967–68 albums on MGM and charted with “Monterey,” “San Francisco Nights,” and “Sky Pilot.”

The original Animals regrouped in 1977 for the reunion album Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted and again in 1983 for one final album Ark.

Members: Eric Burdon (vocals), Alan Price (keyboards, 1962-65, 1977, 1983-84), Bryan “Chas” Chandler (bass, 1962-66, 1977, 1983-84), John Steel (drums, 1962-66, 1977, 1983-84), Hilton Valentine (guitar, 1962-66, 1977, 1983-84), Dave Rowberry (keyboards, 1965-66), Barry Jenkins (drums, 1966-69), John Weider (guitar, 1966-68), Danny McCulloch (bass, 1966-68), Tom Parker (organ, 1966), Vic Briggs (guitar, 1967-68), Zoot Money [aka George Bruno] (keyboards, 1968-69, 1983-84), Andy Somers [aka Andy Summers] (guitar, 1968-69)


Background

The Animals formed in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1962 when vocalist Eric Burdon joined the Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo, which featured keyboardist Alan Price, bassist Chas Chandler, guitarist Hilton Valentine, and drummer John Steel. Their set consisted of blues and R&B covers from the likes of Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, and Nina Simone.

Alan Price (b. April 19, 1942) first performed at age twelve as a bassist in The Black Diamonds, a skiffle group composed of pupils at Jarrow Middle School, including pianist Frankie Headley. By 1957, they gigged locally as the Frankie Headley Five. Price switched to rhythm guitar during their spell as the Hedley Trio.

Hilton Valentine (b. May 21, 1943) first performed at thirteen in The Heppers, a skiffle group of North Shields school friends. As rock ‘n’ roll took hold, he formed The Wildcats with rhythm guitarist (and future Animals roadie) James ‘Tappy’ Wright (1943–2016).

Eric Victor Burdon (b. May 11, 1941) started as a trombonist in 1957 at Newcastle College of Art and Industrial Design, where he met trumpeter John Steel (b. February 4, 1941). They formed The Pagan Jazzmen (later The Pagans), which jammed on skiffle and trad jazz in the university’s commons. In 1958, their music shifted to R&B and Burdon and Steel switch to vocals and drums, respectively. They folded in mid-1959 when Steel became a technical illustrator at the De Havilland aircraft company. In 1961, Pagans Alan Sanderson and Jimmy Crawford resurfaced in The Gamblers with (future Happy Magazine drummer) Alan White and (later Procol Harum organist) Matthew Fisher.

Bryan James ‘Chas’ Chandler (b. December 18, 1938) first appeared circa 1960 in rock ‘n’ rollers The Kon-tors, which eventually gained residencies at Newcastle’s Downbeat Club and Club A’ Gogo.

In the spring of 1960, Burdon and Steel reteamed in The Kansas City Seven (aka The KC7), named in ode to Kansas City bluesman Joe Turner. They featured two saxophonists, a trumpeter, a double-bassist, and now-organist Alan Price. In 1961, Burdon moonlighted in the Mighty Joe Young Band.

Between January and May 1962, the KC7 held a Friday residency at the Downbeat Club in Carliol Square. Chandler attended a show and lured Price into The Kon-tors. However, Price soon bored of their covers setlist and formed the Alan Price Rhythm & Blues Combo (APRBC) with Chandler and ex-KC7 tenor saxist Geoff Hedley. Price realized he was ill-equipped as vocalist and, in late 1962, roped Burdon into the band.


1963

In early 1963, Burdon traveled south to scope the R&B scene in London, where he sat in one night at the Ealing Club with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, a revolving-door apprentice group with future members of The Rolling Stones, Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, and the Graham Bond Organization.

In August, Chandler encountered Steel and invited him to replace drummer Barry Preston in the Alan Price Rhythm & Blues Combo, a now-resident band at Agogo’s Club in Whitley Bay. In September, saxist Nigel Stranger left to attend Oxford (he later surfaced in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers). Eschewing brass for a more rock-based R&B sound, they replaced him with ex-Wildcat guitarist Hilton Valentine.

The APRBC lineup of Burdon, Chandler, Price, Steel, and Valentine played their first show on Saturday, September 7, 1963, at the Downbeat Club. The following week (Sept. 10–14), they established a Tuesday–Saturday residency at the Club A’ Gogo and swiftly emerged as Newcastle’s leading local attraction.

On Sunday, September 15, the Alan Price Rhythm & Blues Combo went to Newcastle’s Graphis Sound Studio with producer Phil Woods and cut four songs: covers of Jimmy Reed (“Big Boss Man”), Etta James (“I Just  Wanna Make Love to You”), John Lee Hooker (“Boom Boom”), and Bo Diddley (“Roadrunner”). They pressed this session on one side of a 500-copy 12″, which the band distributed to fans at gigs.

In October and November, the Alan Price Rhythm & Blues Combo performed almost nightly with residencies at the Downbeat Club (Saturdays), Agogo’s Club (Sundays), and Club A’ Gogo (Wednesday–Friday). Downbeat Club manager Mike Jeffery became the band’s manager. They retired the Rhythm & Blues Combo name after a Nov. 30 show at the University of Newcastle Students Union.

In December, Jeffrey secured a tradeoff with London up-and-comers The Yardbirds whereby they would take The Animals’ upcoming Newcastle slots in exchange for The Yarbirds’ pending London dates. He also relayed advice from Burdon’s acquaintance Graham Bond, who suggested they drop the name Alan Price Rhythm & Blues Combo for a more succinct, alarming moniker: The Animals. (By alternate accounts, they chose their name in ode to a character named “Animal” Hogg, an associate of the band.)

On Saturday, December 7, The Animals made their London debut as part of an ‘all-nighter’ show at The Scene in Piccadilly Circus. On Dec. 9, they made their television debut (Manchester region) on the Granada TV show Scene At 6:30. Their December tour hit Liverpool (12/10: Cavern Club), Reading (12/15: Ricky-Tick), Croydon (12/21: Star Hotel), and London’s Flamingo. They played their first hometown show as The Animals on Dec. 20 at the Club A’ Gogo, where they supported visiting American bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson on Dec. 26 and 30 end-of-year shows.


1964

In January 1964, The Animals signed to EMI’s Columbia division and gigged throughout the UK. On February 23, they shared a double-bill with Manfred Mann at Reading’s Olympia Ballroom. In March, they twice headlined over The Groundhogs at London’s 100 Club.

On March 19, The Animals performed at Granada TV Studios in Manchester for “A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” a TV special with Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent (aired Sept. 30).


“Baby Let Me Take You Home”

On March 27, 1964, The Animals released their first single, “Baby Let Me Take You Home” backed with “Gonna Send You Back to Walker,” both title-modified covers of recent American R&B songs.

A. “Baby Let Me Take You Home” (2:19) originated as “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand,” a January 1964 Atlantic a-side by New Brunswick soul singer Hoagy Lands. New York songwriter Bert Russell (“Twist and Shout,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Here Comes the Night”) co-wrote “Baby Let Me Take You Home” with Wes Farrell, his writing partner on the 1965 McCoys hit “Hang On Sloopy.”

B. “Gonna Send You Back to Walker” (2:20) originated as “Gonna Send You Back to Georgia (A City Slick),” a 1963 a-side on the NYC-based Wand label by Detroit R&B singer Timmy Shaw (aka Jake Hammonds), who co-wrote the song with Johnnie Mae Matthews. Burdon replaced Georgia (the US state) with Walker, a suburb of Newcastle.

“Baby Let Me Take You Home” is one of the first singles produced by Aldershot, Hampshire, native Mickie Most, a former singer (“Mister Porter,” “The Feminine Look”) who spotted The Animals at Newcastle’s Club A-Go-Go and offered to be their producer.

“Baby Let Me Take You Home” reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart. On March 31, The Animals headlined over The Groundhogs and The Pretty Things at the 100 Club. They embarked on a package tour with Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, King Size Taylor & The Dominos, The Other Two, The Nashville Teens, and The Swinging Blue Jeans.


“The House of the Rising Sun”

On June 25, 1964, The Animals released their second single, “The House of the Rising Sun,” a blues traditional backed with “Talkin’ ‘Bout You,” a Ray Charles cover.

A. “The House of the Rising Sun” (4:15) is a song of undetermined origin, first cut as the 1933 shellac “Rising Sun Blues” by the American folk duo Ashley and Foster. In 1953, folkster Hally Wood cut the earliest released version under its finalized name. Recent versions included 1959–62 covers by Lonnie Donegan, Joan Baez, Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, and Bob Dylan, who transposed the song’s arrangement to 6/8 time on his March 1962 debut album. The Animals cut their version on May 18, 1964, in one take.

B. “Talkin’ ‘Bout You” (1:47) originated as a 1958 a-side by Ray Charles; included on his fourth album Yes Indeed! Brenda Lee and Joey Dee & The Starliters cut 1961–62 covers of the song.

On July 7, “The House of the Rising Sun” reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, where it overtook “It’s Over” by Roy Orbison and bowed the following week to “It’s All Over Now,” the first No. 1 hit by The Rolling Stones. “The House of the Rising Sun” also went to No. 1 in Canada, Finland, and Spain and peaked at No. 2 in Australia and New Zealand.

The Animals mimed “The House of the Rising Sun” on the July 1 broadcast of the BBC music program Top of the Pops, which thrice aired the song amid the Stones and Orbison hits and concurrent charting singles by The Applejacks (“Like Dreamers Do”), The Beatles (“A Hard Day’s Night”), Cliff Richard & The Shadows (“On the Beach”), Dusty Springfield (“I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”), Manfred Mann (“Do Wah Diddy Diddy”), The Nashville Teens (“Tobacco Road”), and Peter & Gordon (“Nobody I Know”).

On September 5, The Animals became the third British rock act (after The Tornadoes) to top the US singles chart when “The House of the Rising Sun” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it overtook “Where Did Our Love Go” by The Supremes and held the spot for three weeks until Roy Orbison took the honor with “Oh, Pretty Woman.”


“I’m Crying”

On September 11, 1964, The Animals released their third single, “I’m Crying,” a frenetic R&B number backed with the 12-bar “Take It Easy,” both Burdon–Price originals.

A. “I’m Crying” (2:30)
B. “Take It Easy” (2:51)

“I’m Crying” reached No. 6 in Canada and No. 8 on the UK Singles Chart. It peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.

American garage rockers The Spartas cover “I’m Crying” on a late-1964 single. Paul Revere & The Raiders include a cover on their 1966 album Just Like Us.


The Animals

The Animals released their self-titled debut album on October 30, 1964, on Columbia. It features covers of blues, R&B, and early rock chestnuts by Chuck Berry (“Memphis Tennessee,” “Around and Around”), Fats Domino (“I’ve Been Around,” “I’m in Love Again”), John Lee Hooker (“Dimples,” “Boom Boom”), Larry Williams (“She Said Yeah”), and Little Richard (“The Girl Can’t Help It”), plus an amalgamation of Bo Diddley tunes with tributary lyrics by Eric Burdon.

1. “Story of Bo Diddley” (5:45) is Burdon’s tribute to singer–guitarist Bo Diddley, a Mississippi bluesman and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer. The song derives from two of Diddley’s 1955–57 Checker a-sides: “Bo Diddley” and “Hey, Bo Diddley.” Burdon split the writing credit with Ellas McDaniel (Diddley’s real name). The lyrics offer a stream-of-conscious recount of Diddley’s background and relationship to rock history.

2. “Bury My Body” (2:52) is a gospel-blues traditional of undetermined origin. In 1940, Greenville bluesman Joshua White cut an early version titled “I Don’t Care Where Dey Bury My Body.” English skiffle singer Lonnie Donegan covered “Bury My Body” as the b-side of his February 1956 second single “Diggin’ My Potatoes.” Alan Price arranged The Animals version.

3. “Dimples” (3:14) originated as a 1956 Vee Jay Records a-side by Mississippi bluesman John Lee Hooker. Five months prior to The Animals, the Spencer Davis Group covered “Dimples” as their debut single. Further “Dimples” covers appeared in 1964–65 by Long John Baldry & the Hoochie Coochie Men, Swedish popsters Tages, and German garage rockers The Boots.

4. “I’ve Been Around” (1:39) originated as a 1959 b-side by New Orleans boogie-woogie balladeer Fats Domino. Jamaican-British singer Millie Small covered the song on her 1965 Fontana release Sings Fats Domino.

5. “I’m in Love Again” (3:03) originated as a 1956 Domino b-side, co-written by Imperial producer Dave Bartholomew.

6. “The Girl Can’t Help It” (2:23) is a song by American pianist–actor Bobby Troup; first released as a December 1956 a-side by Little Richard for the namesake musical comedy starring Jayne Mansfield.

7. “I’m Mad Again” (4:18) originated as the b-side of John Lee Hooker’s 1961 single “I’m Going Upstairs.”

8. “She Said Yeah” (2:21) originated as a 1958 a-side by American R&B singer Larry Williams; written by Don Christy (aka Sonny Bono) and Roddy Jackson. Additional versions appeared in 1964–65 by Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers and The Rolling Stones. (The Beatles covered its original b-side, “Bad Boy”).

9. “The Right Time” (3:47) originated as a 1957 Savoy a-side by Charlotte R&B singer Nappy Brown (alternately credited to him and label owner Lew Herman). It’s based on a 1937 song titled “Night Time Is the Right Time” by blues pianist Roosevelt Sykes (listed as “the Honey Dripper”). Nappy’s song inspired the 1958 hit Ray Charles version. Additional versions by Bobby Darin, John Lee Hooker, and Rufus & Carla predate The Animals version, which inspired 1965 covers by Lulu, The Sonics, and the Graham Bond Organization.

10. “Memphis Tennessee” (3:08) originated as a June 1959 Chess b-side by rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry. It recently charted in the UK as a September 1963 Decca a-side by Dave Berry & The Cruisers. In July 1964, Hollywood singer Johnny Rivers scored a US No. 2 hit with his version.

11. “Boom Boom” (3:20) is a song by John Lee Hooker from his 1962 album Burnin’. The Animals (as the Alan Price Rhythm & Blues Combo) included “Boom Boom” in their early setlist. In the year since their Graphis Sound Studio session, versions of “Boom Boom” appeared by Ruphus Thomas and The Yardbirds.

12. “Around and Around” (2:48) originated as the b-side to Chuck Berry’s 1958 signature hit “Johnny B. Goode.” The Rolling Stones covered the song on their August 1964 Five by Five EP.

Sessions took place on July 21, 1964, with Mickie Most (apart from “Boom Boom,” recorded on January 22). The Animals reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart and later (1966) ranked No. 9 in Findland.

In the US, MGM issued The Animals, which features both sides of their first two singles (“The House of the Rising Sun,” “Talkin’ ’bout You,” “Baby Let Me Take You Home,” “Gonna Send You Back to Walker”) and seven tracks from the album’s UK counterpart: “The Girl Can’t Help It,” “The Right Time,” “Around and Around,” “I’m in Love Again,” “Memphis Tennessee,” “I’m Mad Again,” and “I’ve Been Around.” It also includes “Blue Feeling,” an exclusive track unissued in the UK.

The MGM Animals appeared one month ahead of the Columbia version. It contains the radio-edit version of “The House of the Rising Sun” (2:59). MGM–Verve soundman Val Valentin takes credit on the US version.

In November, MGM placed “Blue Feeling” on the back of The Animals fourth US single, “Boom Boom,” one track from the Columbia Animals missing from the MGM version. It reappeared on their second US album.

B. “Blue Feeling” (2:28) is a song by Jimmy Henshaw, the guitarist–keyboardist of The V.I.P.’s, a Carlisle R&B–mod group that later morphed into Spooky Tooth.


1965


“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

On January 29, 1965, The Animals released their fourth single, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” a Nina Simone cover backed with “Club-A-GoGo,” a Burdon–Price original.

A. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” (2:28) is a song initiated by New York BMI pianist–arranger Horace Ott, who conceived the hookline as a plea to his then-estranged girlfriend (and later wife) Gloria Caldwell. He completed the song with elder ASCAP partners Bennie Benjamin and Sol Marcus, the team behind 1940s hits for the Ink Spots and Mills Brothers. Due to BMI–ASCAP legal disparities, Ott listed Caldwell as a co-writer in lieu of himself. They submitted “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” to blues-jazz singer Nina Simone, whose loose arrangement of the song appeared as an a-side from her November 1964 album Broadway, Blues, Ballads.

B. “Club-A-GoGo” (2:19) is a tribute to the Newcastle nightspot where The Animal’s held a midweek residency in the months before their conquest of London.

Mickie Most produced “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” amid work on 1965 Columbia singles by Herman’s Hermits, The Cherokees, The Symbols, and Ron & Mel.

“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” reached No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 4 in Canada, and No. 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The Animals performed it pre-release on the January 24 broadcast of the Ed Sullivan Show and mimed it on the February 4 broadcast of TotP, which thrice aired the song amid winter hits by The Kinks (“Tired of Waiting for You”), The Hollies (“Yes I Will”), The Shangri-Las (“Leader of the Pack”), Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders (“The Game of Love”), and Brian Poole & The Tremeloes (“Three Bells”).

The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” inspired a late-1965 version by Finnish beatsters The Roosters. Subsequent versions include late-sixties covers by Joe Cocker and Sandy Coast and 1977–78 interpretations by the Latin-disco project Santa Esmeralda (16:12) and the soul-jazz duo Brian Auger & Julie Tippetts. Elvis Costello cut a sparse, marimba-laden version on his 1986 album King of America.


The Animals On Tour

In February 1965, MGM released The Animals On Tour, their second US album. It contains three of the five Columbia Animals tracks missing from the MGM version: “She Said Yeah,” “Dimples,” and the recent US a-side “Boom Boom” (2:57, without the guitar solo). “Dimples” is an alternate version from the 1/22/64 session that produced “Boom Boom” and its US b-side “Blue Feeling.”

On Tour also contains The Animals third a-side (“I’m Crying”) and eight songs from their upcoming second UK album. “How You’ve Changed,” “Mess Around,” “Bright Lights, Big City,” “I Believe to My Soul,” “Worried Life Blues,” “Let the Good Times Roll,” “I Ain’t Got You,” and “Hallelujah, I Love Her So.”

Despite its title, On Tour contains no live material.


“Bring It On Home to Me”

On April 9, 1965, The Animals released their fifth single, “Bring It On Home to Me,” a Sam Cooke cover back with “For Miss Caulker,” a Burdon original.

A. “Bring It On Home to Me” (2:43) originated as a May 1962 RCA Victor a-side by soul legend Sam Cooke, whose song reworked the 1959 Ace Records a-side “I Want to Go Home” by Texas blues pianist–singer Charles Brown. The Animals’ version followed 1964–85 British covers by The Big Three, Millie Small, The Merseybeats, and Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band.

“Bring It On Home to Me” remained a non-album track in the UK but does appear on the band’s third US album Animal Tracks. “For Miss Caulker” appears on their second UK album, also titled Animal Tracks

“Bring It On Home to Me” reached No. 7 in the UK and No. 32 on the US Hot 100. The Animals mimed it on the April 1 broadcast of TotP, which thrice aired the song amid spring ’65 hits by The Beatles (“Help,” “Ticket to Ride”), Cliff Richard (“The Minute You’re Gone”), Donovan (“Catch the Wind”), The Kinks (“Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy”), Them (“Here Comes the Night”), Unit 4+2 (“Concrete and Clay”), The Who (“I Can’t Explain”), and The Yardbirds (“For Your Love”).


Animal Tracks

The Animals released their second UK album, Animal Tracks, on May 7, 1965, on Columbia. It contains the recent b-side “For Miss Caulker” and eight songs that first appeared on the US release The Animals On Tour, including covers of R&B staples by Jimmy Reed (“Bright Lights, Big City”) and Ray Charles (“Hallelujah I Love Her So,” “I Believe to My Soul”) and the Chuck Berry blues ballad “How You’ve Changed.”

The two side-closing tracks, “Roberta” and the Bo Diddley cover “Road Runner,” are native to this release.

1. “Mess Around” (2:22) originated as a 1953 Atlantic a-side by Ray Charles; written by label boss Ahmet Ertegun. Squeeze included this song in their 1980 live set.

2. “How You’ve Changed” (3:14) originated as a Chuck Berry album track on his 1958 Chess release One Dozen Berrys.

3. “Hallelujah I Love Her So” (2:48) originated as a 1956 Ray Charles a-side, based loosely on the 1953 Ike Turner song “Get It Over Baby.” Charles’ original inspired more than thirty covers before The Animals’ version, including 1960–61 interpretations by Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers (aka The Beatles) and pioneering Kiwi rockers Max Merritt & His Meteors. The Animals’ cover inspired 1965 versions by Danish beatsters The Matadors and Aussie rockers Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs.

4. “I Believe to My Soul” (3:26) originated as a 1959 Ray Charles b-side. (The Rolling Stones covered the a-side, “I’m Movin’ On,” on their 1965 UK EP Got Live If You Want It!)

5. “Worried Life Blues” (4:13) originated as a 1941 b-side by Chicago blues pianist Major Merriweather (aka Big Maceo Merriweather), who based the song on the 1936 recording “Someday, Baby Blues” by Tennessee bluesman Sleepy John Estes.

6. “Roberta” (2:08) is a song co-written by Ace Records founder John Vincent with Al Smith; first recorded in 1959 by Frankie Ford with Huey “Piano” Smith & Orch. as the b-side to Ford’s rock novelty hit “Sea Cruise.”

1. “I Ain’t Got You” (2:31) originated as a 1956 Vee-Jay a-side by Chicago bluesman Billy Boy Arnold; written by label founder Calvin Carter.

2. “Bright Lights, Big City” (2:57) originated as a 1961 Vee-Jay a-side by Mississippi bluesman Jimmy Reed. The Animals’ version preceded 1965–66 covers by Them, Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, and Kiwi rockers The La De Da’s.

3. “Let the Good Times Roll” (1:57) originated as a 1956 Aladdin a-side by the New Orleans R&B duo Shirley & Lee. At least fifteen cover versions appeared before The Animals, including 1962–64 versions by The Kingsmen, The Orlons, The Righteous Brothers, and a duet by Chubby Checker & Dee Dee Sharp.

4. “For Miss Caulker” (3:59) is an Eric Burdon original; purportedly about a woman he romanced before The Animals left Newcastle. (In the shipbuilding trade, a caulker is a person who caulks the seams on boats.)

5. “Road Runner” (2:50) originated as a 1960 a-side by Bo Diddley. The Animals version directly followed covers by Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, The Pretty Things, and The Zombies. Further renditions include 1965–66 versions by The Liverbirds, Danish beatsters The Defenders, and (Jade Warrior precursor) The Tomcats.

“For Miss Caulker” stems from a March 20 session for their recent single. The Animals recorded the other ten songs on November 16–17, 1964, with Mickie Most. Animal Tracks, reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart.


Alan Price Exits

Animal Tracks the final album of their original formation with keyboardist Alan Price, who departed in May 1965 to form his own band, the Alan Price Set, which debuted with the single “Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird),” a Bacharach–Hilliard song fist recorded by soul singer Chuck Jackson. The Price Set released eight singles and the 1966–67 Decca albums The Price to Play and A Price on His Head.

The Alan Price Set scored UK Top 20 hits with “Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear,” “The House That Jack Built” (both UK No. 4), “Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo,” “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” and the most well-known cover of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins R&B standard “I Put a Spell on You,” a perennial number in ominous rock circles.

The Animals hired keyboardist Dave Rowberry (b. July 4, 1940), a native of Mapperley, Nottinghamshire, who played from 1962 in The Mike Cotton Jazzmen (later The Mike Cotton Sound), which served as a local backing band for visiting US singers (Solomon Burke, Stevie Wonder, Four Tops) and released multiple singles on Columbia, including the 1963 UK hit “Swing That Hammer.” (Another Cotton Sound member, bassist Jim Rodford, surfaced later in the Zombies spinoff Argent.)


“We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place”

On July 16, 1965, The Animals released their sixth single, “We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place,” a perseverance anthem backed with “I Can’t Believe It,” a Burdon original. The was their first release with new keyboardist Dave Rowberry.

A. “We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place” (3:17) is a song by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, the Brill Building songwriting team behind recent hits by The Drifters (“On Broadway”) and The Righteous Brothers (“You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”). There demo reached Mickie Most, who phoned the Brill Building to request material (a call that landed two subsequent a-sides). Burdon modified the song’s opening couplet to reflect The Animals’ industrial Tyneside roots (“In this dirty old part of the city Where the sun refused to shine”).

B. “I Can’t Believe It” (3:35)

“We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place” reached No. 2 in Canada and the UK and No. 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song resonated with American servicemen in Vietnam, where combatants took solace in Burdon’s determination to escape miserable surroundings. Its message fueled 1966–67 covers by The Cryan’ Shames and The American Breed.

The Animals mimed “We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place” on the July 22 broadcast of TotP, which aired the song across four straight weeks amid summer ’65 hits by Billy Fury (“In Thoughts of You”), The Byrds (“Mr. Tambourine Man”), Dave Clark Five (“Catch Us If You Can”), The Fortunes (“You’ve Got Your Troubles”), Jonathan King (“Everyone’s Gone to the Moon”), The Kinks (“See My Friends”), Marianne Faithfull (“Summer Nights”), The Searchers (“He’s Got No Love”), and The Yardbirds (“Heart Full of Soul”).

“We Gotta Get Out of This Place” opens the MGM version of Animal Tracks, their third US album, released in September 1965. It contains six singles sides from January onward: “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Bring It On Home to Me,” WGGOoTP, and their respective b-sides “Club A-Go-Go,” “For Miss Caulker,” and “I Can’t Believe It.” The MGM Animal Tracks also contains the September 1964 b-side “Take It Easy” and two tracks omitted from the US version of their debut album, “The Story of Bo Diddley” and “Bury My Body.” Of the MGM album’s ten tracks, only two (“Roberta” and “For Miss Caulker”) appear on the namesake UK Columbia release Animal Tracks.

As with the first two US Animals albums, New York soundman Val Valentin takes credit as the engineer on the MGM Animal Tracks. Valentin’s name appears on more than fifty 1965 MGM–Verve albums, including Wooly Bully by Dallas garage-rockers Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs, whose organ-based sound mirrored the early Animals.


“It’s My Life”

On October 22, 1965, The Animals released their seventh single, “It’s My Life,” an independence statement backed with “I’m Going to Change the World,” an Eric Burdon original.

A. “It’s My Life” (3:09) is a song written for The Animals by composer Carl D’Errico and lyricist Roger Atkins, a Brill Building team that producer Mickie Most secured through the same call that netted “We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place.” Once again, Burdon alludes to his working class Tyneside roots in the opening lines (“It’s a hard world to get a break in, all the good things have been taken”). Atkins wrote the refrain as a warning (“Sure I’ll do wrong, hurt you some time…”) but Burdon rephrases the line as a taunt (“Show me I’m wrong, hurt me sometime…”).

B. “I’m Going to Change the World” (3:31)

“It’s My Life” reached No. 2 in Canada, No. 5 in Norway, No. 7 in the UK, and No. 9 in Ireland. It peaked at No. 20 on the Cashbox Top 100 in the US, where The Animals performed the song on the NBC music-variety program Hullabaloo. This is their final single with producer Mickie Most, who subsequently worked with Donovan, Lulu, and She Trinity.


1966

In February 1966, MGM issued The Best of The Animals, a collection of their US hits. It contains six transatlantic a-sides released between June 1964 and October 1965 (singles two through seven): “The House of the Rising Sun” (full version, 4:29), “I’m Crying,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Bring It On Home to Me,” “We Gotta Get out of This Place,” and “It’s My Life.”

Best of also contains their first b-side (“Gonna Send You Back to Walker”) and three songs from their debut UK album: “I’m Mad Again,” “I’m in Love Again” (both included on the US counterpart), and “Boom Boom” (a US-only a-side included on their second MGM album The Animals On Tour). Side Two contains “Roberta,” a common track between the (mostly different) UK and US albums titled Animal Tracks.

The Best of The Animals peaked at No. 6 on the US Billboard 200 (their highest placement on said chart) and remained in the chart for two years. Keyboardist Dave Rowberry appears on the cover photo despite his presence on only two songs (“We Gotta Get out of This Place” and “It’s My Life”).


“Inside – Looking Out”

On February 11, 1966, The Animals released their eighth single, “Inside – Looking Out,” an adaptation of a prison chant backed with “Outcast,” an Eddie & Ernie cover. This was their first of three singles on Decca after two albums and seven singles on Columbia.

A. “Inside – Looking Out” (3:44) derives from a late-forties prison work chant titled “Rosie,” attributed to C.B. Cook a preserved as a field recording by American folk archivist Alex Lomax, who Eric Burdon and Chas Chandler credit as a third writer.

“Inside – Looking Out” reached No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart. The song inspired 1969–70 covers by the Grand Funk Railroad and Austrian Krautrockers Novak’s Kapelle, who interpolate it on their single “Hypodermic Needle.”

Veteran American soundman Tom Wilson became The Animals’ producer on this release. He produced their 1966 output amid projects by The Blues Project and Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention.


Animalisms

The Animals released their third UK album, Animalisms, on May 13, 1966, on Decca. It features two Burdon–Rowberry originals (“You’re on My Mind,” “She’ll Return It”) and nine covers, including the recent b-side “Outcast” and songs by Chuck Berry (“Sweet Little Sixteen”), Jackie Wilson (“Squeeze Her, Tease Her”), Joe Tex (“One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show”), John Lee Hooker (“Maudie”), Ray Charles (“That’s All I Am to You”), and the band’s take on the ubiquitous Screamin’ Jay Hawkins signature “I Put a Spell On You.”

1. “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” (3:18) originated as a 1965 Dial–Atlantic a-side by Texas soul singer Joe Tex. (Two earlier title-sake songs appeared in the 1950s by Stick McGhee and Big Maybelle.) The phrase means “one setback should not impede progress.”

2. “Maudie” (4:01) originated as an album track by John Lee Hooker, included on his 1959 Vee-Jay release I’m John Lee Hooker.

3. “Outcast” (3:02) originated as a 1965 a-side by Eddie & Ernie, a Phoenix soul duo that recorded for the NYC-based Eastern Records label.

4. “Sweet Little Sixteen” (3:05) is one of the signature hits of Chuck Berry, whose 1958 original inspired 1961–65 covers by early UK rockers Billy Fury & The Tornadoes and Vince Taylor, as well as Animals contemporaries The Searches and continental beatsters The Rattles and (ABBA precursor) The Hep Stars. The Animals’ version appeared one month before The Hollies (on their June 1966 fourth album Would You Believe?).

5. “You’re on My Mind” (2:52) is an original ballad by Eric Burdon and Dave Rowberry, whose quaint organ fills the backspace of Eric’s tender vocals. The song is moderate paced with tapped drums and simple chords (verse: C and Am; bridge: Am and Em).

6. “Clapping” (1:18) is a percussive interlude credited to Rowberry.

7. “Gin House Blues” (4:36) originated as the b-side of a 1928 Columbia shellac by blues singer Bessie Smith; written by pianist JC Johnson under the pseudonym Harry Burke. (Animalisms erroneously credits the song to Henry Troy and swing pioneer Fletcher Henderson, who co-wrote an earlier title-sake song that Bessie recorded in 1926.)

8. “Squeeze Her, Tease Her” (2:57) originated as a 1964 Brunswick a-side by soul superstar Jackie Wilson, who co-wrote the song with ex-Royals Alonzo Tucker.

9. “What Am I Living For” (3:11) originated as a 1958 Atlantic a-side by R&B singer Chuck Willis (known as the “Sheik of Shake” due to his trademark turban getup), whose version appeared one month before his death.

10. “I Put a Spell on You” (2:54) originated as a 1956 Okeh a-side by American R&B performer–musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Though not a hit in its own time, the song became a standard in the mid-sixties with covers by Nina Simone, Manfred Mann, and Them. The Animals’ version appeared two months after a cover by the Alan Price Set. Price learned about the song from Chris Farlowe, who featured “I Put a Spell on You” in his live act. The APS version reached No. 9 in the UK Record Retailer chart and No. 10 in the Netherlands..

11. “That’s All I Am to You” (2:22) originated as a 1965 ABC-Paramount b-side by Ray Charles; co-written by Elvis Presley songwriters Winfield Scott and Otis Blackwell.

12. “She’ll Return It” (2:40) is an uptempo R&B–rocker by Burdon and Rowberry.

Sessions took place in January 1966 with Tom Wilson. Animalisms reached No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 7 in Finland.

Animalisms is the final Animals release with original drummer John Steel, who resigned in March 1966 due to exhaustion. Eric Burdon hired Nashville Teens drummer Barry Jenkins, who The Animals welcomed with no audition. Steel surfaced briefly in seventies pub rockers Eggs Over Easy but doesn’t appear on their 1972 A&M album.


“Don’t Bring Me Down”

On May 27, 1966, The Animals released their ninth single, “Don’t Bring Me Down,” an R&B belter backed with “Cheating,” a Burdon–Chandler original.

A. “Don’t Bring Me Down” (3:13) is a song by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, the Brill Building songwriting team responsible for Girl Group classics by The Shirelles (“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”), The Chiffons (“One Fine Day”), and The Cookies (“Don’t Say Nothing Bad About My Baby”). They also wrote the 1961 Bobby Vee hit “Take Good Care of My Baby,” which Burdon cynically name-drops in “The Story of Bo Diddley.”

B. “Cheating” (2:23)

Ex-Animals producer Mickie Most purportedly marshaled the Goffin–King submission through the same call that yielded “We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “It’s My Life.” In 1982, ex-New York Dolls singer David Johansen combined the three songs in a live medley that went into high rotation on the fledgling US cable music network MTV. (“Don’t Bring Me Down” appears in the middle of Johansen’s Animals medley.)

“Don’t Bring Me Down” and “Cheating” appear on the July 1966 MGM release Animalization, the band’s fourth US studio album. It features eight songs from the recent UK release Animalisms: “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show,” “You’re On My Mind,” “She’ll Return It,” “Gin House Blues,” “Maudie,” “What Am I Living For,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and “I Put a Spell On You.”

Animalization also includes the earlier a-side “Inside – Looking Out” (in lieu of its b-side “Outcast,” which appears on Animalisms) and the new recording “See See Rider,” one of three Animalization tracks (along with the “Don’t Bring Me Down” single) recorded since the arrival of drummer Barry Jenkins, who appears on the front-cover photo (John Steel appears on the back cover).

See See Rider” (3:58) originated as a 1925 Paramount b-side by Southern soul singer Gertrude “Ma” Rainey. In 1940, Huddie Leadbelly covered the song as a Bluebird a-side titled “Easy Rider.” Fifties-era covers proliferated by Ray Charles, The Orioles, Louis Armstrong, Odetta, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. A 1962 live version by Joey Dee & The Starliters endured the song to rock audiences. Beat vocalist Dave Berry cut one of the earliest British versions (titled “C.C. Rider”) on his November 1964 debut album.


Breakup

The Animals supported Animalization with a July–August US tour Herman’s Hermits. On August 13, they played Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium with newcomers The Jefferson Airplane. They wrapped the tour on August 30 at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City.

After their August 3 show at Wollman Rink in Central Park, New York City, Chas Chandler attended a show at Cafe Wha’ by Jimmy James & The Blue Flames. Chas learned of James (aka Johnny Allen Hendrix) through Keith Richard’s girlfriend Linda Keith, who saw star potential in the young black guitarist and knew of Chandler’s desire to enter rock management. Once the Animalization tour ended, Chandler whisked James to London and rechristened him Jimi Hendrix.

Meanwhile, Eric Burdon dissolved the band. On September 16, he appeared on the ITV music program Ready Steady Go! for an episode titled The Otis Redding Special, on which Burdon did a solo rendition of the recent Sam & Dave hit “Hold on I’m Coming” and then joined Otis Redding and Chris Farlowe for renditions of “Shake” and “Land of 1000 Dances.”

Hilton Valentine joined the Alan Price Set while Dave Roberry entered session work. In 1972, Rowberry reunited with Mike Cotton Sound alumni on Everybody’s In Show-Biz, a Dixieland-style double-album by The Kinks.


“Help Me Girl”

On October 14, 1966, The Animals released their tenth single, “Help Me Girl,” backed with “See See Rider (See What You’ve Done),” a song first released in the US on Animalization. The intended b-side was “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” a Randy Newman cover that Decca vaulted for the time being. This is their first release billed as Eric Burdon & The Animals.

“Help Me Girl” reached No. 14 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100. German and Japanese pressings stress “See See Rider” as the a-side, hence picture sleeves that show the final lineup of the original Animals (Burdon, Chandler, Jenkins, Rowberry, Valentine) instead of Eric’s new band.

Burdon performed “Help Me Girl” on the October 7 broadcast of the ITV music program Ready Steady Go!, which also featured performances by Paul & Barry Ryan (“Have You Ever Loved Somebody?”) and The Rolling Stones (“Have You Seen Your Mother Baby Standing In the Shadow,” “Paint It Black,” “Lady Jane”).


Animalism

On November 21, 1966, MGM released Animalism, the fifth US Animals album. This collect the final batch of recordings by the two Rowberry-era lineups (January–July 1966). Only two tracks (“Outcast” and “That’s All I Am to You”) overlap with their similarly-titled third UK studio album Animalisms.

Animalism features covers of songs by Howlin’ Wolf (“Smokestack Lightning”), Little Richard (“Lucille”), Sam Cook (“Shake”), and British newcomer Donovan (“Hey Gyp”). Frank Zappa contributes the opening track “All Night Long” and also plays on the Fred Neil cover “The Other Side of This Life.” Animalism did not appear in the UK.

1. “All Night Long” (2:46) is a Zappa original. He never released his own studio version but did perform it live with the Mothers of Invention.

2. “Shake” (3:11) originated as a Sam Cook a-side, cut during his last sessions and released eleven days after his death in December 1964. The Supremes and Otis Redding followed with 1965 cover versions. The first UK version of “Shake” appears on The Roulettes 1965 album Stakes and Chips. In 1966, Rod Stewart cut “Shake” as his third solo a-side, followed by a Small Faces rendition and antipodean covers by Max Merritt & The Meteors and The La De Da’s.

3. “The Other Side of This Life” (3:30) originated as “Other Side to This Life” on the August 1965 Elektra release Bleecker & MacDougal, the second album by Greenwich Village folkster Fred Neil, whose version also inspired 1965–66 covers by The Lovin’ Spoonful, Judy Henske, Gale Garnett, Chad Mitchell, and Peter Paul & Mary.

4. “Rock Me Baby” (5:23) originated as “Roll Me Mama,” a 1939 Vocalion shellac by Texas blues pianist Curtis Jones. Texas blues guitarist Melvin “Lil’ Son” Jackson repurposed the song as “Rockin’ and Rollin’,” a 1951 Imperial shellac. Subsequent re-titled versions appeared by Lightning Slim (“Rock Me Mama,” 1954) and Muddy Waters (“Rock Me,” 1957). B.B. King reworked the chord structure for his May 1964 Kent a-side “Rock Me Baby,” the basis of mid-sixties versions by Memphis Slim and Otis Redding. The Animals cover of the King version appeared seven months after a British cover of the Jackson version by Alexis Korner Blues Inc.

5. “Lucille” (2:19) is one of the signiture hits of Little Richard (aka Richard Penniman), whose 1957 original inspired sixties covers by the Everly Brothers, The Fireballs, Otis Redding, and local versions by The Hollies, The Marauders, Peter & Gordon, The Renegades, and Tom Jones & The Squires.

6. “Smokestack Lightning” (5:19) originated as the 1951 RPM b-side “Crying at Daybreak” by Howlin’ Wolf (aka Chester Burnett), who re-recorded it as the 1956 Chess a-side “Smokestack Lightning,” an early setlist staple of Manfred Mann and The Yardbirds, who both included renditions on their debut albums.

7. “Hey Gyp” (3:46) originated as the b-side of “Turquiose,” a 1965 non-album single by Scottish folkster Donovan, who based it on the 1930 blues recording “Can I Do It For You?” by Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie. The Gyp in question is sculpture Gyp Mills, a friend of Donovan.

8. “Hit the Road, Jack” (3:16) is an R&B standard written by singer Percy Mayfield for Ray Charles, whose 1961 version topped the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts.

9. “Outcast” (2:35) is a shorter version of the Eddie & Ernie cover on Animalisms (first released as the “Inside – Looking Out” b-side).

10. “Louisiana Blues” (2:37) originated as a 1950 Chess a-side by Muddy Waters, credited under his real name McKinley Morganfield. English folkster John Renbourn (future Pentangle) covered the song on his 1965 debut album.

11. “That’s All I Am to You” (2:08) a shorter version (by fourteen seconds) of the corresponding Ray Charles cover on Animalisms.

12. “Going Down Slow” (6:12) originated as a 1942 Bluebird b-side by Delta bluesman St. Louis Jimmy Oden. It became a standard through covers by Jack Dupree and Ray Charles, who cut a 1950 version titled “I’ve Had My Fun.” The song endured to rock musicians through 1962–64 covers by Howlin’ Wolf, Memphis Slim, BB King, and Otis Span. It 1964, covers by Long John Baldry and Davey Graham made it a British staple. Charles released a fresh recording (as “Going Down Slow”) months before the Animals version, which appeared weeks before an interpretation by the Alan Price Set.

The two pre-released songs (“Outcast” and “That’s All I Am to You”) date from a January 9 session with drummer John Steel. His replacement, Barry Jenkins, plays on eight songs, all attributed to an April 13 session.

Eric Burdon recorded “All Night Long” and “The Other Side of This Life” on July 4 at Hollywood’s T.T.G. Studios with a separate band that features Zappa and guitarist Carol Kaye, pianist Don Randi, organist Larry Knechtel, drummer John Guerin, and harpist William Roberts.


1967


Eric Is Here

In March 1967, MGM released Eric Is Here, which Burdon recorded with the Horace Ott and Benny Golson Orchestras. Though billed as an Eric Burdon & The Animals title, it’s essentially a Burdon solo release. The album did not appear in the UK.

1. “In the Night” (2:28) originated on the 1967 A&M release Test Patterns by the American duo Boyce & Hart: the team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, The Monkees‘ chief songwriters.

2. “Mama Told Me Not to Come” (2:15) is one of two songs submitted for Eric Is Here by American songwriter Randy Newman, an LA tunesmith who penned the February 1967 Alan Price Set a-side “Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear,” a No. 4 hit on the UK Singles Chart. (Price includes six Newman songs on the December 1967 Decca release A Price on His Head, the second Price Set album.) “Mama Told Me Not to Come” became a 1970 US chart-topper for the LA vocal trio Three Dog Night. Newman’s version appears on his 1970 second album 12 Songs.

3. “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today” (2:01) is a Newman composition first recorded by folk singer Judy Collins for her November 1966 album In My Life. Bobby Darin cut a version for his 1967 album Inside Out, released the same month as Eric Is Here. Newman’s version appears on his 1968 self-titled debut album. Dusty Springfield sings it on her November 1968 Philips release Dusty… Definitely. The song became a 1971 Canadian hit for Vancouver folk singer Tom Northcott. UB40 cover “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today” on their 1980 debut album Signing Off.

4. “This Side of Goodbye” (3:24) originated as the October 1966 a-side “On This Side of Goodbye” by The Righteous Brothers; written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The Alan Price Set include a version on A Price on His Head.

5. “That Ain’t Where It’s At” (2:58) is the first recording of a song by American composer Martin Siegel; later covered by jazz singer Amanda Ambrose.

6. “True Love (Comes Only Once in a Lifetime)” (2:33) originated on the 1966 Parrot release A-tom-ic Jones, the third album by Welsh singer Tom Jones; written by the New York songwriting team of Bob Haley and Nevel Nader.

7. “Help Me Girl” (2:39) originated as an October 1966 Capitol a-side by Cleveland popsters The Outsiders; co-written by Larry Weiss (“Rhinestone Cowboy”) and Scott English (“Mandy”).

8. “Wait Till Next Year” (2:15) is a song submitted by Randy Newman, who never recorded a version of his own. Lee Hazlewood covers the song on his 1969 album Forty.

9. “Losin’ Control” (2:45) is a composition by “It’s My Life” songwriters Carl D’Errico and Roger Atkins.

10. “It’s Not Easy” (3:07) is a song by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, the Brill Building team behind “We Got to Get Out of This Place.” Australian singer Normie Rowe (ex-Playboys) released the first version as a December 1966 a-side (Aus. No. 3). New York folk trio The Will-O-Bees released a version within months of Eric Is Here. Ex-Zombies frontman Colin Blunstone released a 1969 version under the pseudonym Neil MacArthur.

11. “The Biggest Bundle of Them All” (2:11) is a song by Ritchie Cordell (“I Think We’re Alone Now”) and Sol Trimachi; performed by Eric as the theme to the 1968 MGM crime comedy starring Raquel Welch and Robert Wagner. Eric’s number also appears on the soundtrack album with film music by Italian composer Riz Ortolani.

12. “It’s Been a Long Time Comin’” (2:42) is a song by Jimmy Radcliffe and Joey Brooks; also released as a 1969 a-side by Australian garage-rockers The Chocolate.

Burdon recorded the songs on September 16, 1966, with Barry Jenkins and producer Tom Wilson. The orchestration was arranged and conducted by Horace Ott (1, 2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12) and Benny Golson (3, 4, 6, 8, 9). The sound mixer, Gene Radice, also has credits on 1967 albums by Blades of Grass and the debuts of Kenny Rankin and The Velvet Underground. MGM–Verve art director Acy Lehman designed the Eric Is Here cover, which has a sketch by illustrator Nancy Reiner, who depicts the singer as a line-art figure nested in shrubbery.


Eric Burdon & The Animals

Burdon retained Barry Jenkins and hired guitarist–pianist Vic Briggs, bassist–singer Danny McCulloch, and multi-instrumentalist John Weider, who played guitar, violin, and bass.

Briggs had stints in The Echoes, Steampacket (with Rod Stewart and Julie Driscoll), and Dusty Springfield’s backing band.

McCullock played in pre-beatsters Frankie Reid & The Casuals (with future Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell), Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages, The Plebs (with future Renaissance composer Michael Dunford), and the Carl Douglas Set (led by the future “Kung Fu Fighting” singer).

Weider played in Steve Marriot’s pre-Small Faces combo and did a stint in Johnny Kidd & the Pirates. Most recently, he recorded with Jimmy Winston & His Reflections, formed by the original Small Faces keyboardist.


“When I Was Young”

In March 1967, Eric Burdon & The Animals released the non-album single “When I Was Young,” a group-composition with autobiographical lyrics by Burdon. The b-side, “A Girl Named Sandoz,” is a Burdon–Weider composition titled after the makers of LSD.

A. “When I Was Young” (2:59)

B. “A Girl Named Sandoz” (3:05)

“When I Was Young” reached No. 9 in the Netherlands, No. 10 in Canada, and No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. Tina Turner covered the song during sessions for her 1984 comeback album Private Dancer (later included on the 30th anniversary reissue).


Winds of Change

Eric Burdon & The Animals released their first proper album, Winds of Change, in November 1967 on MGM.

“Winds of Change” (3:59)
“Poem by the Sea” (2:15)
“Paint It Black” (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) (5:57)
“The Black Plague” (5:58)
“Yes I Am Experienced” (3:38)
“San Franciscan Nights” (3:18)
“Man—Woman” (5:29)
“Hotel Hell” (4:46)
“Good Times” (2:58)
“Anything” (3:19)
“It’s All Meat” (2:01)

Released November 1967
Recorded February–August 1967
Genre Psychedelic rock
Length 44:29
Label MGM
Producer Tom Wilson
Eric Burdon – vocals
Vic Briggs – guitar, piano, arrangements
John Weider – guitar, violin
Danny McCulloch – bass
Barry Jenkins – drums
Keith Olsen – “stepped in on some tracks to deputise on bass after Danny McCulloch broke his wrist”

“Good Times” (Single Version/UK Single A-Side) (2:58) 18 Aug 1967
“Ain’t That So” (UK Single B-Side) (3:27)

“San Franciscan Nights” (Single Version) (3:19) 13 Oct 1967
“Gratefully Dead” (UK Single B-Side) (3:59)


1968


The Twain Shall Meet

Eric Burdon & The Animals released their second album, The Twain Shall Meet, in May 1968 (US) and June 1968 (UK) on MGM.

“Monterey” (4:18)
“Just the Thought” (3:47)
“Closer to the Truth” (4:31)
“No Self Pity” (4:50)
“Orange and Red Beams” (3:45)
“Sky Pilot” (7:27)
“We Love You Lil” (6:48)
“All Is One” (7:45)

Released May 1968 – June 1968 (UK)
Recorded December 1967
Genre Psychedelic rock
Length 43:11
Label MGM
Producer Tom Wilson
Eric Burdon – vocals (1, 3, 4, 6, 8)
John Weider – guitar, violin
Vic Briggs – guitar
Danny McCulloch – bass, vocals (2, 5)
Barry Jenkins – drums

A: “Sky Pilot (Part 1)” 26 Jan 1968
B: “Sky Pilot (Part 2)”

A: “Monterey” 17 May 1968
B: “Anything”


Every One of Us

Eric Burdon & The Animals released their third album, Every One of Us, in August 1968 on US MGM. This was the first Animals album composed largely of sole-writes by Burdon, who’d fired half the band by the time of this release. This was the second “New Animals” album to go unissued in the UK.

1. “White Houses” Eric Burdon 3:46
2. “Uppers and Downers” Eric Burdon 0:24
3. “Serenade to a Sweet Lady” John Weider 6:13
4. “The Immigrant Lad” Eric Burdon 6:13
5. “Year of the Guru” Eric Burdon 5:24
1. “St. James Infirmary” Traditional, arranged by Eric Burdon 5:03
2. “New York 1963 – America 1968” Eric Burdon, Zoot Money 18:53

Released August 1968
Recorded June 1968
Genre Psychedelic blues[1]
Length 45:56
Label MGM
Producer “Every one of us” (as credited in the liner notes)
Eric Burdon – vocals (except track 3)
Vic Briggs – guitar, bass
John Weider – guitar, celeste
Danny McCulloch – bass, vocals, 12-string guitar
Barry Jenkins – drums[1]
Zoot Money (credited as “George Bruno”) – Hammond organ, vocals, piano


Love Is

Eric Burdon & The Animals released their fourth and final album, Love Is, in December 1968 (US) and May 1969 (UK) on MGM.

Side one
River Deep, Mountain High” (7:23) originated as a May 1966 a-side by Ike & Tina Turner; written by producer Phil Spector with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. The Turner’s version inspired numerous 1967–68 covers, including versions by The Easybeats, Harry Nilsson, and Danish beatsters The Dandy Swingers, whose version features (future Savage Rose) frontwoman Annisette Koppel. Deep Purple released a version one month before Love Is on their second album The Book of Taliesyn.

I’m an Animal” (5:34) originated on the September 1968 Epic release Life, the third album by Sly & The Family Stone.

I’m Dying (Or Am I?)” (Eric Burdon) – 4:28

Side two
Ring of Fire” (4:58) originated as a 1963 a-side by country-folk autoharpist Anita Carter; written by Merle Kilgore with Anita’s sister June Carter and popularized among rock and country audiences through a second version by June’s husband Johnny Cash.

Colored Rain” (9:38) originated as a November 1967 b-side by Traffic; written by the creative core of Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Chris Wood. Burdon’s version appeared months after a cover by New York psychsters The Hassles (with a young Billy Joel) and just ahead of a short rendition on the February 1969 Columbia release I Stand Alone, the debut solo album by Al Kooper.

Side three
To Love Somebody” (6:55) is a song by Robin and Barry Gibb, first recorded by the Bee Gees as part of their first international album Bee Gees 1st (third overall); released as its second single in June 1967 to chart success in Canada (No. 2) and the US (No. 11).

As the Years Go Passing By” (10:13) originated as the 1959 Duke a-side “As The Years Go By” by Chicago blues guitarist Fenton Robinson; credited to label head Deadric Malone (aka Don Robey). Fellow blues guitarist Albert King revived the song’s popularity with a version on his 1967 Stax release Born Under a Bad Sign.

Side four
Gemini” / “The Madman” (17:23) is a medley of two songs: “Gemini” by English journeyman musician Steve Hammond and “Madman Running Through the Fields” by Zoot Money and Andy Summers. Burdon cut the first version of “Gemini,” a soul-rocker subsequently recorded by Quatermass and Odin. Money and Summers released “Madman Running Through the Fields” in 1967 under the moniker Dantalian’s Chariot, their psychedelic follow-through to the Big Roll Band.

Released December 1968 (US) and May 1969 (UK)[1]
Recorded October 1968
Studio TTG (Los Angeles)Sunset Sound (Hollywood)
Genre Psychedelic rock
Length 66:32
Label MGM
Producer The Animals
Eric Burdon — lead vocals, spoken word
Zoot Money — bass, backing and co-lead (3, 8a) vocals, organ, piano, spoken word (8a)
Andy Summers — guitar, backing vocals
John Weider — guitar, violin, backing vocals
Barry Jenkins — drums, percussion, backing vocals
with:
Robert Wyatt – backing vocals (1)[6]
brass? arranger? female vocalist on “To Love Somebody” ??

A: “Ring of Fire” 3 Jan 1969
B: “I’m an Animal”

A: “River Deep, Mountain High” 23 May 1969
B: “Help Me Girl”


1969–1976


Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted

The Animals released their first reunion album, Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted, in August 1977 on Barn (UK) and Jet (US). On the cover, they’re billed as The Original Animals.

1. “Brother Bill (The Last Clean Shirt)” (3:18) originated as a 1964 Red Bird production by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who co-wrote the song with session drummer Charles Otis, who performed the original as ‘The Honeyman.” Subsequent versions appeared by Manchester beatsters The Rockin’ Berries and American hard rockers Cactus (“Bro. Bill,” 1970).

2. “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (4:39) is a Bob Dylan song from his March 1965 fifth album Bringing It All Back Home. Early covers include 1966 versions by Them, The Rokes, Chris Farlowe, The Chocolate Watchband, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and psychedelic covers by the 13th Floor Elevators, The Druids of Stonehenge, and Swiss psychsters Les Sauterelles. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band cover it on their 1972 second album Glorified Magnified.

3. “Fire on the Sun” (2:23) is a song credited to Chicago bluesman James D. Harris (aka Shaky Jake).

4. “As the Crow Flies” (3:37) originates from the 1971 Warner release The Train I’m On, the fifth album by Louisiana swamp rocker Tony Joe White. Rory Gallagher included it in his mid-seventies live set, documented on Irish Tour ’74. The Animals credit this song (not corroborated) to Delta bluesman Jimmy Reed, the source of the earlier Animals setlist staples “Big Boss Man” and “Bright Lights, Big City.”

5. “Please Send Me Someone to Love” (4:44) originated as a 1950 Specialty Records a-side by LA R&B singer (and “Hit the Road Jack” writer) Percy Mayfield. The ballad became a fifties jazz and doo wop standard (Count Basie, Dinah Washington, The Moonglows) that inspired sixties soul versions by Garnet Mimms, Irma Thomas, Nancy Wilson, Ruth Brown, and Solomon Burke.

6. “Many Rivers to Cross” (4:06) originated as a 1969 a-side by Jamaican reggae singer Jimmy Cliff; included on his self-titled third album (aka Wonderful World, Beautiful People) and featured on the sountrack to the 1972 crime film The Harder They Come. Seventies covers proliferated by Percy Sledge, Little Milton Campbell, Harry Nilsson, Martha Reeves, Stanley Turrentine, and The Walker Brothers, whose 1976 version appears on their penultimate album Lines.

7. “Just a Little Bit” (2:04) originated as a 1959 Vee-Jay a-side by Memphis R&B pianist–singer Rosco Gordon, whose version inspired numerous sixties covers in soul (Jerry Butler, Etta James) and rock (Them, The Mindbenders, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels). Seventies versions include covers by Slade and Rory Gallagher. The song’s authorship remains a topic of dispute; Rudely Interrupted credits “Just a Little Bit” to four writers (John Thornton, Ralph Bass, Earl Washington, Piney Brown).

8. “Riverside County” (3:46) is an Animals original credited to all five members.

9. “Lonely Avenue” (5:16) originated as a 1956 Ray Charles a-side written by New York blues singer and songwriter Doc Pomus. Its popularity as a UK–European R&B standard spread through sixties covers by Marty Wilde, Peter & Gordon, The Rockin’ Berries, Bo Street Runners, The Scorpions, and the German Blue Flames.

10. “The Fool” (3:24) originated as a 1956 Dot Records a-side by American rockabilly singer Sanford Clark; written by Lee Hazlewood and his then-wife Naomi Ford. Chris Farlowe covered the song as a 1965 Immediate a-side.

Released August 1977
Studio Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, Goulds Farm
Genre Rock, blues rock, rhythm and blues
Label Barn (original)[1]
Jet/United Artists (USA)[2]
Producer Chas Chandler
Eric Burdon – vocals
Alan Price – keyboards
Hilton Valentine – guitar
Chas Chandler – bass
John Steel – drums
Technical
Alan O’Duffy – engineer
Paul Hardiman – mix engineer
Jo Mirowski – design
Terry O’Neill – photography


Ark

The Animals released their second reunion album, Ark, in August 1983 on I.R.S.

“Loose Change” (Steve Grant) (3:01)
“Love Is for All Time” (Eric Burdon, Danny Everitt, Terry Wilson) (4:23)
“My Favourite Enemy” (Steve Grant) (3:46)
“Prisoner of the Light” (Eric Burdon, Jon Raskin, John Sterling) (4:09)
“Being There” (T. Gemwells) (3:29)
“Hard Times” (Eric Burdon, John Sterling) (2:55)
“The Night” (Eric Burdon, John Sterling, Don Evans) (3:55)
“Trying to Get You” (Rose Marie McCoy, Charlie Singleton)-(4:16)
“Just Can’t Get Enough” (Eric Burdon, John Sterling) (3:54)
“Melt Down” (Danny Everitt, Terry Wilson) (3:08)
“Gotta Get Back to You” (Danny Everitt, Terry Wilson) (2:42)
“Crystal Nights” (M. Anthony, Eric Burdon, M. Lewis, John Sterling) (4:12)
“No John No” (Alan Price) (4:18) (track on CD, but not on original album. B-side of “The Night”)

Released August 1983
Recorded 1983
Studio Country Lane Studios, Germering, Germany
Genre Rock, new wave, post-punk
Length 47:53
Label I.R.S. (U.K. & U.S.)
Illegal (Europe)
Epic (India)
Castle (various U.K. & U.S. CD re-issues)
Repertoire (2008 German CD re-issue)
Producer The Animals Steve Lipson
Eric Burdon – vocals
Hilton Valentine – guitar
Alan Price – keyboards, background vocals
Chas Chandler – bass, background vocals
John Steel – drums
Additional personnel
Zoot Money – keyboards
Steve Grant – guitar, synthesizer, background vocals
Steve Gregory – tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Nippy Noya – percussion


Discography:

  • The Animals (1964)
  • Animal Tracks (1965)
  • Animalisms (1966)
  • Eric Is Here (1967 — as Eric Burdon & The Animals)
  • Winds of Change (1967 — as Eric Burdon & The Animals)
  • The Twain Shall Meet (1968 — as Eric Burdon & The Animals)
  • Every One of Us (1968 — as Eric Burdon & The Animals)
  • Love Is (1968 — as Eric Burdon & The Animals)
  • Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted (1977)
  • Ark (1983)

Sources:

1 thought on “The Animals

  1. Original drafter (2018): “Eric Burdon led a stateside iteration — The New Animals — through several albums as the decade climaxed. The original lineup reunited in 1976–77 to record and tour and then again in 1983 for a final album.
    On album, The Animals adhered to the R&B/blues mold, but charted with melodramatic anthems that transcend the Tin Pan Alley tradition via calls for perseverance and triumph (“We Gotta Get Out of This Place”), proclamations of self-exultation (“It’s My Life”), impassioned cries for understanding (“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”), and warning howls lamenting the woes of vice (“House of the Rising Sun”).”

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