The Animals

From Academic Kids

Missing image
The US edition of The Animals' self-titled debut album.
This article is about the musical group. For information about the biological kingdom of living organisms see animal.

The Animals were a British rock and roll band of the 1960s, formed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Comprising Eric Burdon (vocals), Alan Price (organ and keyboards), Hilton Valentine (guitar), John Steel (drums), and Bryan 'Chas' Chandler (bass).



Formed during 1962 and 1963 when Burdon joined the existing Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo, the Animals' moderate success in their hometown and a connection with Yardbirds manager Giorgio Gomelsky motivated them to move to London in 1964, in time to be grouped with the British Invasion. They performed fiery versions of the staple rhythm and blues repertoire (Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, etc). A rocking version of the standard "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" (retitled "Baby Let Me Take You Home") was their first single. It was followed in June 1964 by the huge transatlantic hit "House of the Rising Sun". Burdon's howling vocals and Price's dramatic arrangement created arguably the first folk rock hit. (Whether the arrangement was inspired by Bob Dylan's version of the song or by blues singer Josh White's remains a subject of dispute, as does whether all five Animals deserved credit for the arrangement and not just Price.)

The Animals' two-year chart career, masterminded by producer Mickie Most, featured singles that were intense, gritty pop covers such as "Bring It On Home To Me" (a hit for Sam Cooke) and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (from Nina Simone). In contrast their album tracks stayed with rhythm and blues, with Hooker's "Boom Boom" and Ray Charles' "I Believe to My Soul" being notable examples. Burdon's powerful, deep voice and the use of keyboards as much or more than guitars were two elements that made the Animals' sound stand out.

By May 1965 the group was starting to feel internal pressures. Price left due to personal and musical differences as well as a fear of flying on tour; he went on to a successful career as a solo artist and with the Alan Price Set. Dave Rowberry replaced him and was on hand for the hit working-class anthems "We've Got to Get Out of This Place" and "It's My Life". In February 1966 Steel left and was replaced by Barry Jenkins; a cover of Goffin-King's "Don't Bring Me Down" was the last hit as the Animals.

By this time their business affairs "were in a total shambles," according to Chandler (who would go on to manage Jimi Hendrix), and the group disbanded. Even by the standards of the day, when artists tended to be financially na´ve, the Animals made very little money from their successes, eventually claiming mismanagement and theft on the part of their manager Mike Jeffery.

A group with Burdon, Jenkins, and new sidemen John Weider (guitar/violin/bass), Vic Briggs (guitar/piano), and Danny McCulloch (bass) was formed under the name Eric Burdon and the New Animals (or sometimes just Eric Burdon and the Animals) in October 1966, and changed direction. The hard-driving blues was transformed into Burdon's version of psychedelia, as the former hard-drinking Geordie (who later said he could never get used to Newcastle, "where the rain comes at you sideways") relocated to California and became a spokesman for the Love Generation. Some of their hits included "San Franciscan Nights", "Monterey" (a tribute to the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival), and the anti-war "Sky Pilot". There were further changes to this line-up: Zoot Money (keyboards) was added in April 1968, and in July 1968 Andy Somers (sic) (guitar) – later of The Police – replaced Briggs and McCulloch. By 1969 these Animals had dissolved, and Eric Burdon joined forces with a Latin group from Long Beach, California called War.

The original Animals line-up briefly reunited for an album in 1977 and for an album and tour (supplemented by other players, including Zoot Money) in 1983. Chandler died in 1996.

In the 2000s Burdon has toured with a new set of musicians under the name "Eric Burdon and the Animals". Periodically during the 1990s and 2000s Valentine, Steel, and Rowberry toured under the name "(Hilton Valentine's) The Animals" and Valentine and Steel under the name "Animals II". Rowberry died in 2003.

The original Animals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Their influence can be heard in artists as varied as Bruce Springsteen, David Johansen, and Fine Young Cannibals.



Animals album releases varied significantly between the UK and the US; even those with the same or similar names had different contents. In addition countless compilation and repackaging releases have been made over the years.

UK albums

  • The Animals (1964)
  • Animal Tracks (1965)
  • Animalisms (1966)
  • Winds of Change (1967) (now Eric Burdon and the New Animals)
  • The Twain Shall Meet (1968)
  • Love Is (1968)

US albums

  • The Animals (1964)
  • The Animals on Tour (1965 ) (not live)
  • Animal Tracks (1965)
  • British Go Go (1965)
  • In the Beginning (Live, 1965)
  • Animalism (1966)
  • Animalization (1966)
  • Wild Animals (1966)
  • Eric Is Here (1967) (now Eric Burdon and the New Animals)
  • Every One of Us (1968)
  • Love Is (1968)

Reunion and later albums

  • Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted (1977)
  • Ark (1983)
  • Rip It to Shreds (Live, 1984)
  • Interesting Life (2003)
  • Complete French EP 1964/1967 (2003)


Highest position reached in UK and US singles charts
Year Title UK US
The Animals
1964 "Baby Let Me Take You Home" 21 -
1964 "House of the Rising Sun" 1 1
1964 "I'm Crying" 8 19
1965 "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" 3 15
1965 "Bring It On Home To Me" 7 32
1965 "We've Got to Get Out of This Place" 2 13
1965 "It's My Life" 7 23
1966 "Inside Looking Out" 12 34
1966 "Don't Bring Me Down" 6 12
Eric Burdon and the New Animals
1966 "See See Rider" - 10
1966 "Help Me Girl" 14 29
1967 "When I Was Young" 45 15
1967 "Good Times" 20 -
1967 "San Franciscan Nights" 7 9
1967 "Monterey" - 15
1968 "Sky Pilot" 40 14
1969 "Ring of Fire" 35 -
1969 "River Deep, Mountain High" - -


External links

nl:The Animals pl:The Animals pt:The Animals sv:The Animals


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