When I Was Young (song)

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"When I Was Young"
Single by Eric Burdon and The Animals
B-side"A Girl Named Sandoz"
ReleasedApril 8, 1967
Format7", 45rpm
GenrePsychedelic rock, protometal
Songwriter(s)Eric Burdon, Vic Briggs, John Weider, Barry Jenkins, Danny McCulloch
Producer(s)Tom Wilson
Eric Burdon and The Animals singles chronology
"Help Me Girl"
"When I Was Young"
"San Franciscan Nights"

"When I Was Young" is a song with a countercultural theme released in early 1967 by Eric Burdon, with The Animals and was written by five of the band members Eric Burdon (vocals), Barry Jenkins (drums), John Weider (guitar/violin), Vic Briggs (guitar), and Danny McCulloch (bass). It charted in Australia peaking No. 2 and stayed 4 weeks there. Later it was a hit charting No. 10 on the Canadian RPM chart, No. 15 in the United States and No. 9 in the Netherlands. The song has been covered by many punk rock and heavy metal bands.


This somewhat autobiographical song told about Burdon's father, who was a soldier during tough times, as well as young Eric's adventures including his first smoke of a cigarette at 10, to his meeting his first love at 13. The final verse shows his disillusionment with society by saying:

"My faith was so much stronger then,

I believed in fellow men,
And I was so much older then.
When I was Young".

This song is noted for its Indian riff, played by an electric guitar as well as a violin. It is also distinctive for its introduction featuring a heavily distorted guitar's tremolo descent from E to D. This song begins in E Minor, and ends in G Minor. The B-Side "A Girl Named Sandoz" is named after the drug company that invented LSD.

Later it was used for a German TV commercial. In the early 1980s Burdon began to mention many stars who died at the end of the song.

Cover versions[edit]


Chart (1967) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[1] 10
Germany (Official German Charts)[2] 31
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[3] 9
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 15


External links[edit]