The Animals

Greatly Appreciated

The Animals  were a British band of the 1960’s.  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, “The 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”.  Later, under the name Eric Burdon and the Animals, the much-changed act moved to California and achieved commercial success as a psychedelic and hard rock band with hits like “San Franciscan Nights”, “When I Was Young” and “Sky Pilot”, before disbanding at the end of the decade.  The Animals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.  (More from Wikipedia)
Other notable covers by the Stillroven are of more obscure songs from British bands, like “Cheating” (by the Animals), “Little Games” (by the Yardbirds) and “Tell Me Have You Ever Seen Me” (by Small Faces).
(September 2010)
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Sam Ugly (who was only 16) and Tony Torcher had played together in a Anglophile band called the Markeys that played a lot of early Stones, Yardbirds, AnimalsKinks, and Who songs.  After they heard the first Ramones album, and after several of the early punkers came through town – Patti SmithTalking Heads, and Iggy Pop – a new direction was clear; and the band brought in lead singer Mike Nightmare and his brother Raymi Gutter (when original Markeys guitarist Brian Vadders wouldn’t cut his hair) – good thing, too, because it is Gutter’s guitar that really stands out here.   The band started out with the name Rotten and changed it to the Ugly when they heard about Johnny Rotten.  
 (November 2011)
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A more critically acclaimed medley of songs by the Animals, simply called “the Animals Medley” was tackled by David Johansen.   While I would have to put the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds as the Top Three British Invasion bands to my way of thinking, the Animals would be right behind them, even ahead of the Kinks I think.  
(September 2012)
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American teenagers (mostly white suburban kids) were also invigorated by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and all the rest; and they responded by launching a counter-assault, when seemingly every kid in America wanted to be in a band.  This era is now known as the garage rock era (that was the most available practice space for most of these would-be rock stars, hence the name); this time period also saw the beginnings of the psychedelic rock movement on both sides of the Atlantic.  I didn’t know exactly what I was hearing at the time, but the music by bands like the SeedsBlues Magoosthe Electric Prunes, Question Mark and the Mysteriansthe StandellsCount Five, and Strawberry Alarm Clock (among many other bands) was grabbing me almost immediately.  I don’t know that I even realized immediately how bizarre many of these American band names were, as compared to those of British Invasion bands like the AnimalsFreddie and the Dreamers, and the Dave Clark Five
Thankfully, in 1972 (though if I’m not mistaken, the album was actually not released in the US until 1976), Lenny Kaye – later the guitarist for the seminal Patti Smith Group – helped assemble hit songs by all of these diverse bands plus plenty more into what is now regarded as one of the greatest compilation albums of all times:  Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968.  It remains one of my favorite records, and I have spoken of it several times before in these posts. 
(January 2013)
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You can talk about your pioneers of rock and roll – Chuck BerryLittle RichardElvis PresleyJames Brown, just to name a few – and you can even bring up your British Invasion greats – the Beatlesthe Rolling Stonesthe Animalsthe Yardbirds, the Kinks, just to name another few.  All of them are already in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and deservedly so.  However, you can play a lot of more modern rock records all day long and not really discern more than a hint of their direct influence; no question it’s in the DNA, but actual Elvis Presley-style vocals or Chuck Berry guitar licks or James Brown wails are elusive. 


That is not so with Link Wray:  His influence is front and center on a good 50% of the records that I play, because he is credited with introducing the “power chord” on electric guitar to rock and roll, a technique whose effect is often enhanced by distortion. 

(February 2013)
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The Rolling Stones were from London, as were the Kinksthe Who and the Yardbirds.  The Animals came from Newcastle, an industrial backwater like Liverpool, though on the opposite coast.  The Hollies were formed in Manchester, though the bandmembers came from East Lancashire.  The Moody Blues were from the Birmingham area; Birmingham, Alabama (one of the first major industrialized cities in the American South) is named for the British city. 


(July 2013)


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The Goldie and the Gingerbreads 1964 recording of “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” made it to #25 in the UK.  Here in this country, Herman’s Hermits released “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat two weeks earlier; the heavy promotion of that song cut them out of the U. S. charts.  After meeting the AnimalsGoldie and the Gingerbreads was signed for a European tour, where they performed with the Who’s Who of the British Invasion the Beatles, the Rolling Stonesthe Animals, the Yardbirds, the Holliesthe Kinks, and others. 


(October 2013)


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For some reason, over the years the 1970’s have gotten a reputation as a poor decade for music. (So do the 1950’s, for that matter, even though that is where rock and roll came from). It certainly cannot be because everything sounded the same. Most of the British Invasion bands were still active, from the Rolling Stones, to the Whoto the Kinks, to the Moody Blues, to the Hollies – to this day, even Herman’s Hermits has never broken up. Among the big English bands, only the Beatles and the Animals were gone by the end of the 1960’s.  The top American acts were still going strong as well, and many major stars arrived in the 1970’s. Anyone who says they are a music fan has to be able to find someone, and probably several someones on that list that they like a lot.
(December 2016)
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Stephen Cook with Allmusic gives the album 4½ stars and writes:  “Taking Brit blues invaders like Themthe Animals, and  the Yardbirds as a template, not to mention plenty of ’60s garage inspiration, San Diego’s Tell-Tale Hearts forged a fairly original beat homage between 1983-1986.  A bit too gritty and blues-based to really fit in with L.A.’s contemporary Byrds and pop-psychedelia revival (the Rain Paradethe Three O’ClockPlasticland), the Hearts only cut one album, an EP, and a smattering of singles and live tracks. . . .  Compiled by bassist Mike Stax and featuring the snider-than-Van Morrison vocals of Ray Brandes, the 21-track collection includes studio highlights like ‘(You’re a) Dirty Liar and ‘Me Needing You, as well as some super lo-fi demo covers and a live rendition of the Seeds’ ‘Satisfy You.” 
(September 2017)
Last edited: April 7, 2021