The Animals

The Animals were an English R&B/beat quintet that was initially active during the 1960’s. Hailing from Newcastle, the band played a key role in the British Invasion that swept America in 1964. The original lineup splintered in 1966, but frontman 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”).

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)


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. They chose their name in ode to a character named “Animal” Hogg, an associate of the band. Their set consisted of blues and R&B covers from the likes of Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, and Nina Simone.

In early 1964, The Animals signed to EMI’s Columbia division and debuted that March with the single “Baby Let Me Take You Home” (“Gonna Send You Back to Walker”). The a-side is a Price-arranged traditional; the flip is an adaptation of the then-recent minor US hit “Gonna Send You Back to Georgia” by R&B singer Timmy Shaw (Burdon replaced Georgia, the US state, with Walker, a suburb of Newcastle). This and subsequent singles were produced by Mickie Most, who concurrently oversaw recordings by the Nashville Teens and Herman’s Hermits.


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)

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