Why Eric Burden became an Animal: blame the girls and the Black African-American royalty
ERIC Burdon used to be an Animals (but he’s alright now). The lead singer with the Animals – a man remembered as John Lennon’s “eggman” – explains why he got into music:
To pull chicks! Whenever we got together in the garage to play with doors open, the next thing there’d be a bunch of girls standing around..
But before that…
There was a doorway in City Hall in Newcastle, a venue where anybody who was anybody toured. Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five came to Newcastle, and I knew if I stood at this doorway, there was a strong chance that there’s be a crack big enough for me to put my head against and hear the show. I must have been about 14. There was a cop watching me banging my head against the door in time with the music. And during the interval he must’ve gone inside and told the crew that there’s this kid outside freaking out. The door opened and there was a trombone player from the Hot Five: “C’mon in, kid!” Inside, sitting on a big chair was Louis, smoking on a big spliff, with his feet in a bucket of ice water and a big black woman taking the sweat off his brow . He took a big heave on his “cigarette” and blew smoke into the air, and said: “Hey kid, how ya doin?!” That was it. But I was like, wow man, that’s royalty! Black African-American royalty.
Photo: Chas Chandler, shown at center with other members of The Animals and an unidentified autograph seeker in this 1966 photo. Pictured, from left, are: Hilton Valentine, John Steel, Chandler, Eric Burdon, unidentified and Dave Rowberry.
Photo: The Animals, rock band from Newcastle, board an airliner at London Airport, bound for New York, May 27, 1965, where they will appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. From left are Hilton Valentine; Chas Chandler; John Steel; singer Eric Burdon; and new member of the group, organist Dave Rowberry.
Photo: Five British pop groups, bound for the United States on a tour which will yield half a million dollars, board their plane at Heathrow Airport, London. the groups are Jimi Hendrix Eperience, Eric Burdon and the Animals, Alan Price Set and Eire Apparent. The Jimi Hendrix Experience group will receive in the United States a gold disc from Sinatra’s record company for their first LP Are You Experiened? to pass the million dollar sales mark.