Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Burdon Is Back in Toon; ALAN NICHOL Has the Latest on the Roots Music Scene

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Burdon Is Back in Toon; ALAN NICHOL Has the Latest on the Roots Music Scene

Article excerpt


JUST as many people from the region take their annual summer holidays in foreign parts, one of the region's most famous sons is doing the exact opposite.

Former Animals vocalist Eric Burdon arrives in Newcastle on Sunday night from his home in California to play the O Academy with his band. It will be his first show in the city for eight years.

The Animals came into existence in 1962 when Walker-born Eric Victor Burdon joined the jazz-influenced four-piece, the Alan Price Combo.

The newly assembled quintet changed styles to major in blues and R'n'B and were spotted by producer Mickie Most.

The band relocated from Newcastle to London and signed to Columbia Records. They issued their debut single, Baby Let Me Take You Home, in 1964 (after hearing Baby Let Me Follow You Down on Bob Dylan's first album a couple of years earlier).

The follow-up release, House Of The Rising Sun, a traditional song, was on that same Bob Dylan album. It ran to four and a half minutes in length - way beyond the typical three-minute jukebox or radiofriendly standard of the time.

Dylan (who apparently loved the Animals' rendition) had adapted his version of the song - probably from Greenwich Village stalwart Dave Van Ronk - but Burdon later said that he first heard it sung by the High Level Ranters' Johnny Handle in a Newcastle club.

Whatever the reality was, the song became a universal hit - number one in the UK, USA, Canada, Sweden - and also became a hit again when it was reissued in 1972 and again in 1982.

The song was to remain ever-popular and a poll as recently as 2005 placed it at number four in the all-time favourite number-one UK singles chart.

The hot-streak continued with I'm Crying, Don't Let me Be Misunderstood (Nina Simone), Bring It On Home To Me (a former Sam Cooke "B" side), We Gotta Get Out Of This Place and It's My Life.

Six major hits in two years. Changes happened quickly around this time with the band switching to Decca Records and the departure of Alan Price and John Steele, replaced by Dave Rowberry and Barry Jenkins respectively.

Although the new line-up had another top-10 hit (in the UK and the USA) with Don't Bring Me Down, the changes kept on coming. In 1966 Burdon, taking only Jenkins from the old band, formed a new outfit which he called Eric Burdon & the (New) Animals and they promptly racked-up successful singles like When I Was Young, San Franciscan Nights, Monterey, Sky Pilot and Ring Of Fire.

By 1970, the year that his close friend Jimi Hendrix died, Burdon - now living in California - had moved on again, this time having more success (with the multi-cultural band, War) with Spill The Wine.

This arrangement saw more success but did not last long. …

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