May 11…Happy birthday and many more!
In 1966, a friend who attended Fordham Prep in the Bronx, NY asked me if I'd like to go to a concert there. The Animals were playing. 1964's British Invasion did far more than introduce Boomers to Beatles. On September 5, 1964 a song called "House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals became Billboard's #1 single. It was likely the first time we'd heard of these Animals (what a great name!). And sadly, most of us young Americans thought it was the Animals' song.
We didn't realize it may have had roots centuries deep--or at least decades deep in our own American history. And as few of us realized (as I assume few radio stations realized) that the song was about a whore house.
In any case, the voice of Eric Burdon became part of the soundtrack for 1960s. For me, their Best of the Animals album was my introduction. I didn't realize that they had produced the album because of personnel changes. I did notice that it seemed every time I bought a new Animal album, there seemed to be a replacement. Eric was there though. That was the main thing.
Even the 1967 Eric is Here album with its departure from rock and blues was OK. New way to hear stuff. And when he went psychedelic and started to make politically-influenced music, well, that was OK, too. And there was that "New York 1963 -- America 1968," an 18-minute l track featuring not a group member, but a black engineer named Cliff, who recalls his experience as a fighter pilot during World War II. Patience James. Patience.
Eric and I slowly drifted apart. More because of new responsibilities on my part than any disenchantment. Eric forged ahead and continues to perform. To list the dozens of albums and songs and groups he's been with for 50+ years is for Wikipedia or AllMusic. He and the other original Animals (Chas Chandler, Alan Price , John Steel, and Hilton Valentine) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Eric had a gig in Dusseldorf, Germany. Jancee Dunn in Rolling Stone asked "Artist of principle or crazy man?"
Suffice to say that Eric Burdon is still going, still singing, and we can still enjoy his presence. Oh, yea. That concert at Fordham. It was pretty good. I think I remember that the Lovin' Spoonful opened for them.
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