Classic Rock News

It’s his birthday, and he’ll do what he wants! Animals frontman Eric Burdon turns 80 today

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Erika Goldring/FilmMagic

Eric Burdon, frontman of the famous blues-infused British Invasion band The Animals, celebrates his 80th birthday today.

Burdon co-founded The Animals in 1963 in his hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K., with keyboardist Alan Price, guitarist Hilton Valentine, bassist Chas Chandler and drummer John Steele. The band, which was heavily influenced by American blues artists, scored its first and only #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with its classic cover of the traditional folk song “The House of the Rising Sun.” The single spent three weeks at the top of the chart in September 1964.

The Animals scored many more hits from 1964 to 1966, including “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Bring It On Home to Me,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “It’s My Life,” “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “See See Rider.

In late ’66, Burdon formed an almost entirely new version of the group, which was rechristened Eric Burdon and the Animals. The band, which featured a more psychedelic sound, scored several chart hits in 1967 and ’68, including “When I Was Young,” “San Franciscan Nights,” “Monterey” and “Sky Pilot.” “Monterey” was inspired by the band’s experience performing at the historic 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

In 1969, Burdon teamed up with the San Francisco-based funk-rock band War. Their first album, Eric Burdon Declares “War”, was released in 1970 and featured the #3 hit “Spill the Wine.”

Burdon also has released many solo albums during his long career. In addition, The Animals’ original lineup reunited for two studio albums, 1977’s Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted and 1983’s Ark. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, although Eric didn’t attend the ceremony.

Burdon released his most recent, ‘Til Your River Runs Dry, in 2013.

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