The Animals were a hugely popular and influential English rock band that became famous during the 1960s as a top British Invasion act. Their signature sound came from Eric Burdon's deep howling, menacing lead vocals and hard-driving, blues-based instrumental arrangements, and they were well known for their fiery onstage performances. The Animals' best known songs include the gripping and evocative "The House Of The Rising Sun" (1964), the rousing "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" (1965), the imploring "Don't Bring Me Down" (1966), the biting and psychedelic "When I Was Young" (1967), and the trippy protest ballad, "San Franciscan Nights" (1967).
The Animals were formed in 1963 in Newcastle upon Tyne when Eric Burdon joined the (soon after renamed) Alan Price Rhythm & Blues Combo as lead singer. The original Animals quintet also consisted of Alan Price (organ, keyboards), John Steel (drums), bassist Bryan "Chas" Chandler (December 18, 1938 - July 17, 1996), guitarist Hilton Valentine (May 21, 1943 - January 29, 2021), with a number of personnel changes along the way. In 1964, the band signed with Columbia and released its debut single, "Baby Let Me Take You Home," which became a Top 40 U.K. chart hit. Price left in 1965 and was replaced by Dave Rowberry. Steel followed in 1966 and Nashville Teens drummer Barry Jenkins came on board. By late 1966, Chandler and Valentine had also departed, and with Jenkins, Burdon reformed the band with new members as Eric Burdon & The Animals.
The Animals debuted on the U.S. charts in 1964 with their rock remake of the early 20th folk song, "The House Of The Rising Sun," which topped the charts and became their biggest hit worldwide. Their long string of hits, which continued through 1968, also include "I'm Crying" (1964), "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (1965), "Bring It On Home To Me" (1965), "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" (1965), "It's My Life" (1965), "Inside-Looking Out" (1966), "Don't Bring Me Down" (1966), "See See Rider" (1966), "Help Me Girl" (1966), "When I Was Young" (1967), "San Franciscan Nights" (1967), "Monterey" (1967), and "Sky Pilot (Part One)" (1968). The Animals re-emerged on the Pop/Rock charts many years later in 1983 with "The Night."
After The Animals disbanded in late 1968, Eric Burdon went on to serve as lead singer for War through 1971. The original Animals members reunited several times over the years to record and perform, and Burdon reformed The Animals in 2016 with an all-new lineup. There were also several incarnations over the years that included one or more original members (e.g., Animals II, Animals & Friends). The Animals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
- For more info about Eric Burdon and his latest projects, visit ericburdon.com.
- The independent remembers original Animals bassist Chas Chandler.
- The Guardian remembers original Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine.
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- Bring It On Home To Me 1965
(This song was previously a hit for Sam Cooke (1962) and later also became a hit for Eddie Floyd (1968) and Lou Rawls (1970).)
- Don't Bring Me Down 1966
- Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood 1965
(This song later also became a hit for Santa Esmeralda (1978).)
- The House Of The Rising Sun 1964
(Based on a folk song dating back to at least the 1920s when blues singer Texas Alexander first recorded it, this song topped the charts for the Animals in 1964 and later also became a hit for Frigid Pink (1970), Santa Esmeralda (1978), and Dolly Parton (1981).)
- I'm Crying 1964
- Inside-Looking Out 1966
- It's My Life 1965
- We Gotta Get Out Of This Place 1965
Eric Burdon And The Animals
- Help Me Girl 1966
(This song also became a hit for the Outsiders (1966).)
- Monterey 1967
(This song was in commemoration of the Monterey International Pop Festival held June 16-18, 1967.)
- San Franciscan Nights 1967
- See See Rider 1966
(This song (a.k.a. "C.C. Rider.") was previously a hit for Chuck Willis (1957) and LaVern Baker (1963) and also became a hit for Bobby Powell (1966).)
- Sky Pilot (Part One) 1968
- When I Was Young 1967
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