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Music / The Animals

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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," which became one of the first non-Beatles British songs to top the charts in America after the Fab Four had made their debut. It was also a major influence on the emerging folk rock sound (particularly since it single-handedly inspired Bob Dylan to begin experimenting with a rock sound).

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 either fear of flying or a desire to be paid more money (accounts vary). He 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 formed a new version of the group, Eric Burdon and the Animals (with Barry Jenkins joining him), which became the outlet for his hippie-era material. When that version of the group ended, Burdon started the aforementioned War, which he left soon afterwards; they went on to have a successful career in their own right. Burdon later performed under his own name and as leader of The Eric Burdon Band. 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. The band had two short-lived revivals, one in The '70s and one during The '80s, both of which led to new albums. 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 "Help Me Girl", "When I Was Young", "San Franciscan Nights", "Monterey" and "Sky Pilot".

Not to be confused with Animal, the Electric Mayhem's drummer.

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. died 2021)

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, original version

  • The Animals (1964) note 
  • The Animals On Tour (1965) note 
  • Animal Tracks (1965) note 
  • Animalisms (1966) note 
  • Animalization (1966) note 

Eric Burdon and the Animals

  • Eric is Here (1967)note 
  • Winds of Change (1967)
  • The Twain Shall Meet (1968)
  • Every One of Us (1968) note 
  • Love Is (1968)

The Animals, revival version

  • Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted (1977)
  • Ark (1983)
  • Greatest Hits Live (Rip It To Shreds) (1984)

Non-album singles (The Animals):

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

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

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

"It's my life, and I'll trope what I want":


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