The Animals

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For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation).
The Animals
Eric Burdon & the Animals.jpg
Posing for publicity in 1964: from left to right, Eric Burdon (vocals), Alan Price (keyboards), Chas Chandler (bass), Hilton Valentine (guitar), John Steel (drums)
Background information
Also known as Eric Burdon and the Animals (1966–1969)
Valentine's Animals (1992)
Animals II (1992–1999)
Animals & Friends (2001–present)
Origin Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK
Genres Rock, blues rock, rhythm and blues, psychedelic rock
Years active 1963–1969, 1975–1976, 1983
Labels Columbia, Decca, MGM, Jet, I.R.S., Atco, Atlantic
Website www.theanimalswebsite.com
Members John Steel
Mick Gallagher
Pete Barton
John E. Williamson
Danny Handley
Past members See Members history
See Past Lineups

The Animals were a British band of the 1960s, formed in Newcastle upon Tyne during the early part of the decade. The band moved to London upon finding fame in 1964. The Animals were known for their gritty, bluesy sound and deep-voiced frontman Eric Burdon, as exemplified by their signature song and transatlantic No.1 hit single, "The House of the Rising Sun", as well as by hits such as "We Gotta Get out of This Place", "It's My Life", "I'm Crying" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". The band balanced tough, rock-edged pop singles against rhythm and blues-oriented album material. They were known in the US as part of the British Invasion.

The Animals underwent numerous personnel changes in the mid-1960s and suffered from poor business management. Under the name Eric Burdon and the Animals, the much-changed act moved to California and achieved commercial success as a psychedelic and hard rock band with hits like "San Franciscan Nights", "When I Was Young" and "Sky Pilot", before disbanding at the end of the decade. Altogether, the group had ten Top Twenty hits in both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100.

The original lineup had brief comebacks in 1975 and 1983. There have been several partial regroupings of the original era members since then under various names. The Animals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

History[edit]

First incarnation[edit]

Formed in Newcastle upon Tyne during 1962 and 1963, when Burdon joined the Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo, the original line-up was Eric Burdon (vocals), Alan Price (organ and keyboards), Hilton Valentine (guitar), John Steel (drums), and Bryan "Chas" Chandler (bass).[1][2]

It has often been said they were dubbed "animals" because of their wild stage act, and the name stuck.[3] In a 2013 interview, Eric Burdon denied this, stating it came from a gang of friends they used to hang out with, one of whom was "Animal" Hogg and the name was intended as a kind of tribute to him.[4] The Animals' success in their hometown and a connection with Yardbirds manager Giorgio Gomelsky motivated them to move to London in 1964 in the immediate wake of Beatlemania and the beat boom take-over of the popular music scene, just in time to play an important role in the so-called British Invasion of the US music charts.

The Animals performed fiery versions of the staple rhythm and blues repertoire, covering songs by Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Nina Simone, and others. Signed to EMI's Columbia label, a rocking version of the standard "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" (retitled "Baby Let Me Take You Home") was their first single.[5]

It was followed in June 1964 by the transatlantic number 1 hit "House of the Rising Sun". Burdon's howling vocals and the dramatic arrangement, featuring Alan Price's haunting organ riffs, created arguably the first folk rock hit.[6][7] There is ongoing debate regarding the Animals' inspiration for their arrangement of the song, which has variously been ascribed to prior versions by Bob Dylan, folk singer Dave Van Ronk, blues singer Josh White (who recorded it twice in 1944 and 1949), and singer/pianist Nina Simone (who recorded it in 1962 on Nina at the Village Gate).

The Animals' two-year chart career, produced by Mickie Most, featured intense, gritty pop music covers such as Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me" and the Nina Simone-popularised number "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". In contrast, their album tracks stayed with rhythm and blues, with John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" and Ray Charles' "I Believe to My Soul" as notable examples.

In November 1964, the group was poised to make their American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show and begin a short residency performing regularly in theatres across New York City. The group arrived in New York City direct from John F. Kennedy International Airport in a motorcade formed of Sunbeam Alpine Series IV convertibles, with each car featuring a band member riding with a fashion model in the back seat and the rooftop down. The group drove to their hotel accompanied by the occasional shrieks of girls who had chased them down once they discovered who they were. The Animals sang "I'm Crying" and "The House of the Rising Sun" to a packed audience of hysterical girls screaming throughout both performances on Sullivan's show. In December, the MGM movie Get Yourself a College Girl was released with the Animals headlining with the Dave Clark Five. The Animals sang a Chuck Berry song, "Around and Around", in the movie.[8]

By May 1965, the group was starting to feel internal pressures. Price left due to personal and musical differences as well as fear of flying on tour.[3] He went on to a successful career as a solo artist and with The Alan Price Set. Mick Gallagher filled in for him on keyboards for a short time until Dave Rowberry replaced him and was on hand for the hit songs "We Gotta Get out of This Place" and "It's My Life".

Around that time, the Animals put together a big band to play at the 5th Annual British Jazz & Blues Festival in Richmond. The Animals Big Band made their one public appearance on 5 August 1965. As well as Burdon, Rowberry, Valentine, Chandler, and Steel, they featured a brass/horn section of Ian Carr, Kenny Wheeler, and Greg Brown on trumpets, and Stan Robinson, Al Gay, Dick Morrissey, and Paul Carroll on saxophones.

Many of the Animals' hits had come from Brill Building songwriters recruited by Mickie Most; the group, and Burdon in particular, felt this too creatively restrictive. As 1965 ended, the group ended its association with Most, signed a new deal with their American label MGM Records for the US and Canada, and switched to Decca Records for the rest of the world and MGM Records producer Tom Wilson, who gave them more artistic freedom.[9] In early 1966 MGM collected their hits on The Best of the Animals; it became their best-selling album in the US. In February 1966, Steel left and was replaced by Barry Jenkins. A leftover rendition of Goffin-King's "Don't Bring Me Down" was the last hit as the Animals. For the single "See See Rider" the band changed its name to Eric Burdon & the Animals. By September 1966, this lineup of the group had dissipated.

Burdon began work on a solo album, called Eric Is Here, which also featured Burdon's UK number 14 solo hit single, "Help Me, Girl", which he heavily promoted on TV shows such as Ready Steady Go! and Top of the Pops in late 1966. Eric Is Here was Burdon's final release for Decca Records.

By this time their business affairs "were in a total shambles" according to Chandler (who went on to manage Jimi Hendrix & produce Slade) and the group disbanded. Even by the standards of the day, when artists tended to be financially naïve, the Animals made very little money, eventually claiming mismanagement and theft on the part of their manager Michael Jeffery.

Second incarnation[edit]

Eric Burdon & the Animals in 1967
Foreground: Eric Burdon
Background (L-R): Danny McCulloch, John Weider (in striped shirt), Vic Briggs, and Barry Jenkins

A group with Burdon, Jenkins, and new sidemen John Weider (guitar/violin/bass), Vic Briggs (guitar/piano), and Danny McCulloch (bass) were formed under the name Eric Burdon and Animals (or sometimes Eric Burdon and the New Animals) in December 1966 and changed direction. The hard driving blues was transformed into Burdon's version of psychedelia as the former heavy 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 this group's hits included "San Franciscan Nights", "Monterey" (a tribute to the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival), and "Sky Pilot". Their sound was much heavier than the original group. Burdon screamed more and louder on live versions of "Paint It Black" and "Hey Gyp". In 1968, they had a more experimental sound on songs like "We Love You Lil" and the 19-minute record "New York 1963 - America 1968". The songs had a style of being silent at the beginning and then becoming psychedelic and raw straight to the end with screaming, strange lyrics and "scrubbing" instruments.

There were further changes to this lineup: Zoot Money was added in April 1968, initially as organist/pianist only, but upon McCulloch's departure he also took on bass and occasional lead vocals. In July 1968, Andy Summers replaced Briggs. Both Money and Summers were formerly of British psychedelic outfit Dantalian's Chariot, and much of this new lineup's set was composed of Dantalian's Chariot songs which caught Burdon's interest.[10] Due to Money's multi-instrumental load, in live settings bass was played alternately by Weider and Summers.[11]

By December 1968, these Animals had dissolved, and both their double album Love Is and the singles "Ring of Fire" and "River Deep – Mountain High" were internationally released. Numerous reasons have been cited for the breakup, the most famous being an aborted Japanese tour. The tour had been scheduled for September 1968 but was delayed until November, due to difficulty obtaining visas.[11] Only a few dates into the tour, the promoters - who, unbeknownst to the band, were yakuza - kidnapped the band's manager and threatened him at gunpoint to write an IOU for $25,000 to cover losses incurred by the tour's delay.[11] The manager wrote out the IOU but, correctly surmising that none of his captors could read English, added a note that it was written under duress.[12] The yakuza released him but warned that he and the band would have to leave Japan the next day or be killed. The Animals promptly fled the country, leaving all their tour equipment behind.[11] Money and Summers both subsequently pursued solo careers (though this pursuit was swiftly aborted in Summers' case), Weider signed up with Family, and Burdon joined forces with a Latin group from Long Beach, California, called War.[citation needed]

Reunions of first incarnation[edit]

The original Animals line-up of Burdon, Price, Valentine, Chandler, and Steel reunited for a benefit concert in Newcastle in December 1968 and reformed in late 1975 to record again. Burdon later said nobody understood why they did this short reunion. They did a mini-tour in 1976 and shot a few videos of their new songs like "Lonely Avenue" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love". They released the album in 1977 aptly called Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted.[13] The album received critical praise and Burdon and Valentine also recorded some demos at that time, which were never released.

1983 reunion[edit]

On 12 December 1982, Burdon performed together with Alan Price and a complete line-up. They reunited again in 1983 for the album Ark and a world concert tour, supplemented by Zoot Money on keyboards, Nippy Noya on percussion, Steve Gregory on saxophone and Steve Grant on guitar. The first single "The Night" reached No. 48 at the US Pop Singles and No. 34 at the Mainstream Rock Charts. It was also a big hit in Greece. They released a second single called "Love Is For All Time".

Their tour consisted of about one-third material from the original 1960s and two-thirds material from Ark or other songs. The latter included songs like "Heart Attack", "No More Elmore" (both released a year earlier by Burdon), "Oh Lucky Man" (from the 1973 soundtrack album to O Lucky Man! by Price), "It's Too Late", "Tango", and "Young Girls" (later released on Burdon's compilation, The Night). On 9 September, they had their first gig in New York with a sold-out audience at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. A Wembley Stadium concert followed on 31 December which was released on the Rip it To Shreds live album in 1984 after they had disbanded again. Their concert at the Royal Oak Theatre in Royal Oak, Michigan on 29 November 1983 was released on 27 February 2008, as Last Live Show. A film about the reunion tour was shot but never released. Chas Chandler died in 1996, putting an end to any possibility of another reunion of the full original line-up.[14]

Later incarnations[edit]

During the 1990s and 2000s there have been several groups calling themselves Animals in part:

  • In 1993 Hilton Valentine formed the Animals II and was joined by John Steel in 1994 and Dave Rowberry in 1999. Other members of this version of the band include Steve Hutchinson, Steve Dawson and Martin Bland. From 1999 until Valentine's departure in 2001 the band toured as the Animals.This version featured Tony Liddle on lead vocal,Valentine,Steel, Rowberry, and Jim Rodford on bass, regular dep for Rodford on bass was Chris Allen, Now frontman with The Troggs
  • After Valentine left these Animals in 2001, Steel and Rowberry continued on as Animals and Friends with Peter Barton, Jim Rodford and John E. Williamson. When Rowberry died in 2003, he was replaced by Mickey Gallagher (who had briefly replaced Alan Price in 1965). Animals and Friends is still around and frequently plays gigs on a Color Line ship that travels between Scandinavia and Germany.
  • In the 1990s Danny McCulloch, from the later-1960s Animals released several albums as the Animals, with a great deal of acceptance. The albums contained covers of some original Animals songs as well as new ones written by McCulloch.
  • Eric Burdon formed a new backing band in 1998 and went out as Eric Burdon and the New Animals. This was actually just a rename of an existing band he had been touring with in various forms since 1990. Members of this new group included Dean Restum, Dave Meros, Neal Morse and Aynsley Dunbar. Martin Gerschwitz replaced Morse in 1999, after Ryo Okumoto had a brief stint for 3 weeks and Dunbar was replaced by Bernie Pershey in 2001. In 2003 the band started touring as Eric Burdon and the Animals. After the line-up changed in 2006 original guitarist Hilton Valentine joined with the group for its 2007 & 2008 tours. The group also included Red Young, Paula O'Rourke and Tony Braunagle. After Burdon lost the rights to the name, he formed a new band with completely different musicians.

Dispute over ownership of band name[edit]

In 2008, an adjudicator determined that original Animals drummer John Steel owned "the Animals" name in England, by virtue of a trademark registration Steel had made in relation to the name. Eric Burdon had objected to the trademark registration, arguing that Burdon personally embodied any goodwill associated with "the Animals" name. Burdon's argument was rejected, in part based on the fact that he had billed himself as "Eric Burdon and the Animals" as early as 1967, thus separating the goodwill associated with his own name from that of the band.[15][16] On 9 September 2013 Burdon's appeal was allowed; he is now entitled to use the name "the Animals".[17]

Legacy[edit]

The original Animals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.[1] In 2003, the band's version of "The House of the Rising Sun" ranked No. 123 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. Their 1965 hit single "We Gotta Get out of This Place" was ranked No. 233 on the same list. Both songs are included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[18]

On 15 March 2012, in a keynote speech to an audience at the South by Southwest music festival, Bruce Springsteen discussed the Animals' influence on his music at length, stating, "To me, the Animals were a revelation. They were the first records with full-blown class consciousness that I'd ever heard." He said of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" (written by two New York songwriters, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil): "That's every song I've ever written... That's 'Born to Run,' 'Born in the U.S.A.,' everything I've done for the past 40 years including all the new ones. That struck me so deep. It was the first time I felt I heard something come across the radio that mirrored my home life, my childhood." Saying that his album Darkness on the Edge of Town was "filled with Animals," Springsteen played the opening riffs to "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and his own "Badlands" back to back, then said, "Listen up, youngsters! This is how successful theft is accomplished!"[19]

Tony Banks, the keyboard player of British progressive rock band Genesis drew influence from Alan Price, whom he regarded as "[t]he first person who made me aware of the organ in a rock context".[20]

Discography[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Members[edit]

Current members
  • John Steel - drums (1963-1966, 1975-1976, 1983, 1992-present)
  • Mick Gallagher - keyboards (1965, 2003–present)
  • Pete Barton - vocals, bass (2001–present)
  • John E. Williamson - guitar, vocals (2001–present)
  • Danny Handley - guitar, vocals (2003–present)
Former members

Lineups[edit]

1963–1965
The Animals
1965 1965-1966 1966
December 1966 – 1968
Eric Burdon and the Animals
1968 April 1968-Late 1968 Late 1968-1975

Disbanded

1975-1976
The Animals
1976-1983 September 1983-December 1983 1983-1992

Disbanded

Disbanded

1992
Valentine's Animals
1992–1994
Animals II
1994-1999 1999–2001
The Animals
2001 2001–2003
Animals and friends
2003–2011
Animals and friends
2011–2014
Animals and friends
2014
Animals and friends

Songs in film[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Animals Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1994. Retrieved 28 February 2011
  2. ^ The Animals: Biography Allmusic Retrieved 28 February 2011
  3. ^ a b Making Time The Animals, accessed 02/11/07
  4. ^ Woolf, Russell (2013-10-29). "Eric Burdon on Vinyl Tuesday - ABC Perth - Australian Broadcasting Corporation". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  5. ^ David Hatch, Stephen Millward (1989) From blues to rock: an analytical history of pop music Manchester University Press 1989
  6. ^ Marsh, Dave The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made, NAL, 1989. Entry #91.
  7. ^ Ralph McLean, "Stories Behind the Song: 'House of the Rising Sun'", BBC, undated. Accessed 4 May 2007.
  8. ^ Get Yourself a College Girl (1964) Retrieved 28 February 2011
  9. ^ Animals to Switch to MGM Billboard (25 Sep 1965). Retrieved 11 September 2011
  10. ^ Summers, Andy (2006). One Train Later. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-35914-0. Page 123.
  11. ^ a b c d Sutcliffe, Phil & Fielder, Hugh (1981). L'Historia Bandido. London and New York: Proteus Books. ISBN 0-906071-66-6. Page 47-48.
  12. ^ Summers, Andy (2006). One Train Later. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-35914-0. Page 134-5.
  13. ^ http://rockhall.com/inductees/the-animals/bio/
  14. ^ Obituaries: Chas Chandler The Independent Retrieved 28 February 2011
  15. ^ Daniel Boffey, Eric Burdon loses battle to be the only Animal, Daily Mail, 14 December 2008
  16. ^ An analogous situation occurred around the same period, when Diana Ross separated herself from the Supremes and the act was billed as "Diana Ross and the Supremes". The Supremes later continued as a separate entity, without Ross, in the same way that several versions of the Animals existed without Eric Burdon.
  17. ^ "Singer Eric Burdon given rights to perform as The Animals without bandmate John Steel". Daily Mail. 16 November 2013. 
  18. ^ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - 500 Songs That Shaped Rock Retrieved 28 February 2011
  19. ^ Associated, The (16 March 2012). "Springsteen Gives Music History Lesson At SXSW". NPR. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  20. ^ "Genesis' Banks — A Current Account". Beat Instrumental, April 1976. Retrieved 23 March 2007.

Further reading[edit]

  • Burdon, Eric. I Used to Be an Animal, but I'm All Right Now. Faber and Faber, 1986. ISBN 0-571-13492-0.
  • Kent, Jeff. The Last Poet: The Story of Eric Burdon. Witan Books, 1989. ISBN 0-9508981-2-0.
  • Egan, Sean. Animal Tracks - Updated and Expanded: The Story of The Animals, Newcastle's Rising Sons. Askill Publishing, 2012. ISBN 978-0-9545750-4-5.
  • Burdon, Eric (with J. Marshall Craig). Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood: A Memoir. Thunder's Mouth Press, 2001. ISBN 1-56025-330-4.

External links[edit]