Music / The Animals
The classic line-up of The Animals. From left to right: John Steel, Chas Chandler, Eric Burdon, Hilton Valentine and Alan Price.

"I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood"

The Animals were a British Invasion band from Newcastle-upon-Tyne with heavy blues influences. One of several bands managed by producer Mickie Most (Herman's Hermits was another), their peak period was the mid-1960s. Their most famous hit was a cover of the traditional folk song "The House of the Rising Sun" and became one of the first non-Beatles songs to top the charts in America after the Fab Four had made their debut.

Lead vocalist Eric Burdon was a Blues fan who later joined the group War and became a major exponent of Funk, Hard Rock and Psychedelic Rock in the early 1970s. The group was notable for its prominent use of a Hammond organ played by Alan Price; they are among the first rock groups to use an electric keyboard instrument in their songs (and yes, they did probably beat the Beatles to it).

The band had a setback in 1965 when Alan Price left due to fear of flying, and was replaced by Mick Gallagher for a short time, then by Dave Rowberry. By 1966, Burdon had embraced the hippie movement and started using LSD, becoming distant from the rest of the group. John Steel was the next to leave, replaced by Barry Jenkins for the last few singles and albums. The Animals split near the end of 1966 and went their separate ways; Burdon became lead singer of Eric Burdon and the Animals (with Barry Jenkins joining him), as well as the aforementioned War; Alan Price became a folk singer-songwriter and bassist Chas Chandler became famous for discovering and managing Jimi Hendrix and Slade in the early 1970s. Chandler died in 1996 of an aortic aneurysm and Dave Rowberry died in 2003 of an ulcer haemorrhage.

Other hits of theirs include "Baby Let Me Take You Home", "I'm Crying", "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", "Bring It On Home to Me", "We Gotta Get Out of This Place", "It's My Life", "Inside-Looking Out" and "Don't Bring Me Down". Hits and fan favourites by Eric Burdon and the Animals include "When I Was Young", "San Franciscan Nights", "Monterey" and "Sky Pilot".

Principal Members (The Animals) (Founding members in bold):

  • Eric Burdon - lead vocals (1963-1966, 1968, 1975-1977, 1982-1983)
  • Chas Chandler - bass, vocals (1963-1966, 1968, 1975-1977, 1982-1983, died 1996)
  • Mick Gallagher - keyboard (1965)
  • Barry Jenkins - drums (1966)
  • Alan Price - keyboard, vocals (1963-1965, 1968, 1975-1977, 1982-1983)
  • Dave Rowberry - keyboard, vocals (1965-1966, died 2003)
  • John Steel - drums (1963-1966, 1968, 1975-1977, 1982-1983)
  • Hilton Valentine - guitar, vocals (1963-1966, 1968, 1975-1977, 1982-1983)

Principal Members (Eric Burdon And The Animals) (Founding members in bold):

  • Vic Briggs - guitar, piano (1966-1968)
  • Eric Burdon - lead vocals (1966-1968)
  • Barry Jenkins - drums, percussion, vocals (1966-1968)
  • Danny McCulloch - bass, guitar, vocals (1966-1968, died 2015)
  • Zoot Money - keyboard, bass, vocals, piano, organ (1968)
  • Andy Summers - guitar, bass, vocals (1968)
  • John Weider - bass, guitar, violin, celeste (1966-1968)

Studio and Live Discography (The Animals):

  • 1964 - The Animals note 
  • 1965 - The Animals On Tour note 
  • 1965 - Animal Tracks note 
  • 1966 - Animalisms note 
  • 1966 - Animalization note 
  • 1977 - Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted
  • 1983 - Ark
  • 1984 - Greatest Hits Live (Rip It To Shreds)

Non-album singles (The Animals):

  • 1965 - "It's My Life" / "I'm Going To Change The World"

Studio Discography (Eric Burdon And The Animals):

  • 1967 - Eric Is Here note 
  • 1967 - Winds Of Change
  • 1968 - The Twain Shall Meet
  • 1968 - Every One Of Us note 
  • 1968 - Love Is

Non-album singles (Eric Burdon And The Animals):

  • 1967 - "When I Was Young" / "A Girl Named Sandoz"
  • 1967 - "San Franciscan Nights" note  / "Gratefully Dead"
  • 1967 - "Monterey" note  / "Ain't That So"


  • Animal Motifs: Their band name.
  • Blues Rock
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: "House Of The Rising Sun" probably, though the song itself is old enough that it's hard to determine whether the original singer was meant to be male or female.
  • Cover Version: They had more covers of blues songs than original tunes, including "The Girl Can't Help It" and "Mess Around".
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: They were called 'The Animals' because of their wild performance, and eventually kept the name.
  • Greatest Hits Album: The Most Of The Animals was an early one. The name of the record was a pun based on the name of producer Mickie Most, which had previously been used for another band he'd produced (The Most of Herman's Hermits).
  • I Am the Band: Again, Eric Burdon, so much so that they changed their name to Eric Burdon & the Animals at the end of 1966.
  • Location Song: "San Franciscan Nights" is a bitter sweet song about the city, written as a protest song against US society at the time, addressing the fact that Native Americans have been neglected the American Dream and Police Brutality is rampant.
  • Rap Rock: Surprisingly, they provided the Ur-Example: Year of the Guru.
  • Self-Deprecation: They named themselves The Animals partially because they considered themselves to be ugly.