The Animals are an English rhythm and blues and rock band, formed in Newcastle upon Tyne in the early 1960s. 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, "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-orientated album material and were part of the British Invasion of the US.
Links to Peel
Peel is known to have played some Animals songs while he was living in America, on the KMEN British Pop Top Ten, which featured the band in 1966. Their single "Inside Looking Out" appeared in the chart for four weeks in the spring, and "Help Me Girl" (credited to Eric Burdon and the Animals) made a brief showing, in the listing for the week of November 11th. In the US, the Animals had been one of the early "British Invasion" groups who dominated the national charts in the wake of the Beatles but they had more staying power than many such groups, with singles in the Billboard charts in 1966, as well as in Peel's own Top Ten. However, by the time Peel returned to the UK in early 1967, the original Animals had already split up; the name was retained for the backing band of vocalist Eric Burdon and this grouping recorded sessions for Top Gear in 1967 and 1968.
The band's style changed, too, as Burdon was one of the artists who "went psychedelic", telling the pop press he had been deeply affected by the experience of taking LSD. He took to spending most of his time on the West Coast of the USA and became one of the pop scene's most vocal advocates of the hippie culture, in contrast to his earlier image as a hard-drinking Geordie R&B singer. This change was reflected in his 1967 LP Winds Of Change, which Peel played on the Perfumed Garden, its 1968 follow-up The Twain Shall Meet, and in the material he recorded for his first Top Gear session, including the song "Monterey", written after the band had played at the Monterey Pop Festival (they can be seen in the film of the event, Monterey Pop). Reviewing The Twain Shall Meet in International Times of 3 May 1968, Peel defended Burdon:
Poor Eric has been called "pretentious" by just about everyone now. I think he's just a very concerned and open person who puts his concern as best he can into what he writes. I wish more people would follow his example. It doesn't have to be sparkling political comment, just reflect the fear and sadness of ordinary people who have not been swept away in the grey mud, yet.
In the ABC Of Beauty, published in Disc & Music Echo in November 1968, Peel was a little more critical of the band, saying they were "Constantly accused of the dreaded "pretentiousness". Seem to have lost some of an earlier magic which they'll doubtless recapture".
But this didn't happen; they split up soon afterwards, with Eric Burdon reverting to an updated version of his earlier R&B style. Their second Top Gear session hinted at this, as it featured a blues cover version alongside songs by Burdon and band member and fellow "raver" Zoot Money, a later solo Peel session artist who had also gone through a psychedelic phase in 1967 with his band Dantalian's Chariot. This had included guitarist Andy Summers, who joined Money in the Animals after a short stint with Soft Machine and afterwards did Peel sessions with Kevin Ayers (alongside Money) and the Police.
Of the earlier lineup, keyboard player Alan Price enjoyed chart success with the Alan Price Set, whose members included subsequent Peel producer John Walters, while bassist Chas Chandler went into music management, most notably with Peel session artists Soft Machine, Jimi Hendrix and Slade.
After the Animals finally disbanded, with Burdon moving on to work with American funk band War(2), Peel rarely played old material from the group. In 1980, though, the DJ did give airtime to a cover version of “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” by Geordie punk band the Angelic Upstarts.
- Two sessions only. No known commercial release.
- Two solo sessions by Zoot Money (1972 and 1973). Zoot Money and Andy Summers together recorded a Peel session with Kevin Ayers (#5, 1976); while Money also appeared on one by Viv Stanshall (#5, 1977), and Summers did one with the Police (#1, 1979).
1. Recorded: 1967-12-21. Broadcast: 31 December 1967
- All Night Long / Monterey / Orange And Red Beans / Anthing / Chim Chim Cheree
- White Houses / Monterey / Landscape / When Things Go Wrong / It Hurts
Other Shows Played
- 21 January 1968: Sky Pilot (Part 2) (7" - Sky Pilot) MGM
- 07 February 1970: Club A Go-Go (b-side of single - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood) Columbia
- 26 April 1982: Inside Looking Out
- 12 January 1988: I'm Crying
- 21 May 2003: We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place (LP - The Most Of The Animals) Columbia
- 16 December 2004: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place