5 Interesting Facts About The Animals Most Fans Don’t Know
The Animals for "The House of The Rising Sun" - The Animals Tribute Channel / Youtube
Similar to many British Invasion groups, The Animals reimagined American music and marketed it back to the audience. Hailing from the North of England, this band celebrated artists like John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Bo Diddley in their debut album, encompassing a mix of blues, soul, folk, rhythm & blues, and rock ‘n’ roll.
The Beatles, the Stones, The Yardbirds—all engaged in this practice, offering Americans their own music with a distinct perspective.
Originating in Newcastle upon Tyne, The Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo adopted the name The Animals after lead singer Eric Burdon joined. While their initial American single didn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100, their second, “House of the Rising Sun”, soared to No. 1.
Despite subsequent hits, the original lineup faced challenges. Keyboardist Price departed first, leading to the eventual disbandment. Nevertheless, Burdon regrouped with a new lineup, continuing to release records and tour under the name Eric Burdon and the Animals.
1. “House of the Rising Sun” was recorded in a single uninterrupted take
Tracing the roots of “House of the Rising Sun” proves to be a challenging pursuit, considering its roots as a traditional song passed down through generations and embraced by musical luminaries like Roy Acuff, Woody Guthrie, and Bob Dylan.
These diverse interpretations have contributed to the song’s evolution, weaving it into the tapestry of American folk and rock traditions. Yet, it was on May 18, 1964, that The Animals ventured into the studio to undertake their rendition of this timeless piece, opting for a distinct approach that would leave an indelible mark on its storied history.
In a departure from convention, The Animals chose to infuse the song with their unique energy by altering the time signature. What ensued was a remarkable feat— the band executed the entire composition in a single, uninterrupted take. This bold and unconventional move not only showcased their musical prowess but also added an element of spontaneity and authenticity to the recording.
The outcome was nothing short of perfection, with each element of the arrangement seamlessly falling into place. From the iconic guitar introduction, played with precision, to the unmistakable vocals of Eric Burdon, and the progressively intensifying organ, the recording captured a moment of pure rock ecstasy that endured for four minutes and 29 seconds.
2. Eric Burdon was the Eggman in “I Am The Walrus”
The intriguing connection between singer Eric Burdon and John Lennon unfolded in one of The Beatles’ most iconic tracks, “I Am The Walrus”. It turns out Burdon was the inspiration behind the infamous Eggman. This unique epithet found its roots in a vivid experience that Burdon candidly recounted in his 2002 memoir, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.
The tale began with a memorable encounter with his Jamaican girlfriend, Sylvia, which left an unforgettable mark in Burdon’s memory. During an early morning breakfast session, an already peculiar scene unfolded as Burdon, attired in nothing but his socks, found himself in the kitchen.
“She slid up beside me and slipped an amyl nitrite capsule under my nose. As the fumes set my brain alight and I slid to the kitchen floor, she reached to the counter and grabbed an egg, which she cracked into the pit of my belly. The white and yellow of the egg ran down my naked front, and Sylvia began to show me one Jamaican trick after another. I shared the story with John at a party at a Mayfair flat one night with a handful of others.”
The NSFW anecdote inspired Lennon, who found delight in the quirky narrative. Responding with amusement, Lennon affectionately dubbed Burdon “Eggman” and playfully encouraged him, saying, “Go on, go get it, Eggman”. This amusing interchange became a unique and cherished chapter in the annals of rock history, immortalizing the curious moniker and the unforgettable breakfast escapade.
3. The Animals’ original bassist, Chas Chandler, became Jimi Hendrix’s manager
The publication paperwork for “House of the Rising Sun” caused a rift as it bore only Alan Price’s name, excluding the other five members. This discrepancy sparked disputes over business matters, unveiling further grievances about the band’s management practices, and ultimately revealing manipulative financial dealings that were not in the band’s best interest.
This marked the onset of the band’s decline from its original formation, with business-savvy bassist Chas Chandler being one of the first to part ways.
Before his departure from The Animals, Chandler found himself in New York City during a tour, where he witnessed the remarkable talents of Jimi Hendrix. Impressed by Hendrix’s prowess, Chandler took the budding guitarist to England and curated a group that eventually evolved into the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Chandler played a key role in overseeing the business aspects of the band’s initial two albums before redirecting his focus to another venture: managing the band Slade, a role he embraced for the ensuing 12 years.
4. Burdon recruited The Police’s guitarist in the late 60s
Following the departure of the original members, Burdon took the reins and assembled a new lineup known as the New Animals. Under Burdon’s leadership, the band experienced various personnel changes across several albums, yet the hits continued to roll in.
Notably, The Animals performed at the iconic Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967, which also marked the American debut of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This momentous occasion inspired Burdon to pen the song “Monterey”, encapsulating the entire experience that soared to Top 20 status in the US.
Among the changing roster of members during this phase, the guitarist on The Animals’ final album, Love Is, was none other than Andy Summers. Little did anyone know at the time, Summers would go on to achieve significant fame as a founding member of the globally acclaimed band, The Police.
His journey from The Animals to The Police underscored the dynamic nature of the music industry and the interconnected paths of musicians as they navigated the ever-evolving landscape of rock and pop music.
5. The original lineup reunited and recorded an album
In 1968, Eric Burdon and the New Animals officially disbanded after Love Is. Following this chapter, Burdon took a new musical direction by joining the band War, where he contributed to their success with the hit single “Spill the Wine” – a critical moment in Burdon’s post-New Animals career.
However, the year 1977 marked a surprising reunion of the original lineup of The Animals, resulting in the recording of the album Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted. Despite receiving positive reviews for its musical quality, the album faced challenges on the charts, hindered by limited support from the record label. Consequently, the band opted not to embark on a tour to promote the record.
This initial reunion paved the way for another collaborative effort in 1983 when the original lineup of The Animals gathered once again, this time producing the album Ark.
In a departure from their previous strategy, the band decided to support the album with a tour. Their efforts bore fruit with a modest hit, “The Night”.