The Animals

The Animals


by Richard Williams

The driving sound of this five-piece rock group from northeastern England influenced Bob Dylan's decision, in 1965, to begin working with musicians playing electric instruments.

The group's first single, released in 1964, was a version of Eric Von Schmidt's folk-blues song "Baby Let Me Follow You Down," which had appeared on Dylan's first album. Retitled "Baby Let Me Take You Home," it featured Eric Burdon's hoarse rhythm-and-blues-inflected singing. Their second single, the traditional "House of the Rising Sun," was brilliantly rearranged to feature Alan Price's electric organ, together with Hilton Valentine's guitar work in ornate arpeggios, beneath Burdon's dramatic vocal. A number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic, this was the record that persuaded Dylan to take the plunge into electric music. The group's later hits, such as "I'm Crying," "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," and "It's My Life," developed a formula of tough, dramatic hard-driving rock shaped by an awareness of folk music and the blues, but the departure of Price in 1965 and Burdon a year later put a premature end to the story. Both pursued solo careers, while Chas Chandler went on to manage Jimi Hendrix and Slade.

Principal Members

Eric Burdon, vocals
b. May 11, 1941, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England

Alan Price, piano and organ
b. April 19, 1942, Fatfield, Durham, England

Hilton Valentine, guitar
b. May 21, 1943, North Shields, Tyne and Wear, England

Chas Chandler (byname of Bryan Chandler), bass
b. December 18, 1938, Heaton, Tyne and Wear, England
d. July 17, 1996

John Steel, drums
b. February 4, 1941, Gateshead, Durham, England




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