From Newcastle: The Animals – Great Group of the Sixties.
One of the best English R&B groups of the early ’60s, The Animals were second only to the Rolling Stones in influence among R&B-based bands in the first UK blues boom. Eric Burdon’s vocals were able to generate an exciting sound, more raw than most of the other UK R&B imitators.
Unlike the Rolling Stones, the Animals appeared live at the Twisted Wheel. Starting out as the Kansas City Five, the line-up included pianist Alan Price, drummer John Steel, and vocalist Eric Burdon. Allen Price joined the Kontours in 1962, while Eric Burdon went off to London, meeting Alexis Korner and singing a duet with Mick Jagger.
The Kontours, including Bryan ‘Chas’ Chandler, eventually became the Alan Price R&B Combo, with John Steel joining on drums. Eric Burdon’s return 1963 full of London scene blues and guitarist Hilton Valentine, joined just in time for the recording an EP the Animals. Graham Bond liked the EP and introduced the Animals to impresario Giorgio Gomelsky who booked the band into his Crawdaddy Club in London, here they were seen by and signed up by Mickie Most for a recording session with EMI. In February 1964, their Columbia debut single, Baby Let Me Take You Home – a Bob Dylan number – reached number 21 on the UK charts. Their second single shot to number one House of the Rising Sun, from Bob Dylan‘s first album and U.S. charts early summer 1964.Their third single, I’m Crying, got to number eighti in the UK Top Ten. The group compiled a chain of Top Ten successes, including Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place, along with a second album, Animal Tracks.
In May of 1965, after recording We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place, Alan Price left. Burdon and Price had argued about leadership of the Animals Alan Prices reason for leaving, Dave Rowberry joined as organist. The group was getting unhappy with Mickie Most, wishing to stick with stronger R&B material.