The young rock 'n' roll veterans have recorded nine hit singles, including the million platter seller, "House of the Rising Sun." and also "Don't Bring Me Down," "Cee Cee Rider," "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," and "Bring It On Home To Me."While the blurb about the Animals recording history is correct, it was a somewhat misleading promotion. The Animals were one of the biggest "British Invasion" bands in America, and only The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Dave Clark Five could fairly be marked as bigger. However, except for lead singer Eric Burdon, the previous Animals were a different entity. The new group, initially called Eric Burdon and The New Animals, were a different creature entirely.
The Animals had visited San Francisco in July of 1966, where Eric Burdon experienced that rare natural occurrence, a warm San Franciscan night. After visiting the Fillmore and hanging out with the bands, Eric underwent a sort of conversion experience. When the Animals "broke up"--not least because bassist Chas Chandler had discovered Jimi Hendrix in Greenwich Village and planned to become his manager--Eric formed a "new" Animals with an entirely different sound.
While the original Animals had played very basic blues to great effect, the new Animals were a musically sophisticated group ready to stretch anything out in true psychedelic style. Eric sang in his powerful, over the top style, but instead of swirling organ he was supported by the twin guitars of Vic Briggs and John Weider. Weider had a driving blues sound, which contrasted nicely with Brigg's jazzier stylings. Danny McCullough and Barry Jenkins held down the rhythm section. Surviving tapes suggest the band sounded somewhat like Quicksilver Messenger Service. Interestingly, none of them (save Burdon) would have ever heard Quicksilver, who had neither recorded nor played outside of San Francisco at that point.
Although the group typically performed a few Animals hits, like "House Of The Rising Sun," "See See Rider" and "When I Was Young" (their current single at the time), they also performed extended versions of songs like "Tobacco Road," "Roadrunner" and "Rock Me Baby." What few recordings survive suggest that they were a tremendous live band, well ahead of their time but perhaps not entirely what their fans expected.
Eric Burdon transformed himself from a British Beatster to a psychedelic ranger, and the Animals even went so far as to entirely relocate to California, unique among 60s British bands. Their concert history has remained all but entirely untold up to now, but Ross and I have rectified that with a Family Tree and Performance History for Eric Burdon and The New Animals of 1967 and 1968.