Eric Burdon & The Animals
The little big man of Newcastle is 57th on Rolling Stone’s list of “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”. A real working-class hero, he absorbed the teachings of Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Sam Cooke and other black prophets in his teens, but passed them on strictly in his own voice. Bruce Springsteen said last spring that it was Eric Burdon and The Animals, who showed him what it’s all about. Burdon’s music always carried social and psychological consciousness with it. That is still very much in evidence on his excellent new album ‘Til Your River Runs Dry, which has got great reviews all over the place.
Eric Burdon’s massive influence on rock culture started in 1964, when The Animals grabbed an ancient whorehouse song called House of The Rising Sun and made it totally their own. Their blood-stopping interpretation went to the top of the chart everywhere. Other unforgettable songs followed in rapid succession: We Gotta Get Out of This Place, It’s My life, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, Inside Looking Out, When I Was Young, etc.
Then came the psychedelic Animals, whose three albums and singles, like San Franciscan Nights and Sky Pilot, are essential stuff of the era. Next, the angry blues hippie opened the 70’s by declaring War with a black funk band of the same name. Since then he has acted in several movies, played countless gigs and made lots of albums that haven’t got the attention they deserve. Currently Eric is writing the 3rd chapter of his unbelievable life story.