It’s fitting that we start our exploration of artists of the British Invasion the day after the 51at anniversary of The Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. We start today with The Animals, who had a number of hits in the 1960’s and are now performing as Eric Burdon & The Animals, a US-based group.
The band got its start in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the early 1960’s when Burdon joined the Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo, which featured Price on organ, Chas Chandler (later Jimi Hendrix’s manager) on bass, Hilton Valentine on guitar, and John Steel on drums. Dubed “animals” because of their wild stage presence, they performed blues and R&B standards. They released “House of the Rising Sun,” arguably the first “folk-rock” hit, in 1964. It reahed #1 in both the US and the UK. The band underwent a number of personnel changes starting in 1965, eventually becoming Eric Burdon & The Animals, and moving to the West Coast.
On to the music. Our first song today is “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” from 1965, which charted as high as #3 in the UK and #15 in the US. Originally recorded by Nina Simone, the band had released a version in 1964 that was slower and close to the original.
Our second song is “Sky Pilot,” from 1968. A shorter version was done for radio; this is the longer version, complete with air war sounds and a pipe-and-drum band playing “All the Bluebonnets are O’er the Border.” It reached #40 in the UK and #14 in the US.
The Animals, your Two for Tuesday, February 10, 2015.
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