Newcastle’s own Eric Burdon joined the Alan Price Rhythm & Blues Combo in 1962, changing their name to The Animals soon after. All five members, Burdon on vocals, Alan Price on organ, Chas Chandler on bass, Hilton Valentine on guitar and John Steel on drums were from the North East. In 1964 their single House Of The Rising Sun, a reworked traditional song became an international hit reaching No.1 in the UK and the US. But by 1965 Alan Price had left to form the Alan Price Set with much success, Chas Chandler went on to be a record producer and manager, notably discovering Jimi Hendrix and later he was involved with Slade who had massive success in the seventies under his direction. Sadly he died of an aneurysm in 1996. Hilton Valentine and John Steel were involved with many different incarnations of The Animals over the years.
In 1966 when The Animals broke up, Burdon continued as Eric Burdon And The Animals, with Barry Jenkins who had replaced John Steel on drums for the last Animals album. They were joined by Vic Briggs on guitar and piano, John Weider on guitar and violin and Danny McCulloch on bass. Inbetween the old and the new Animals, Eric Is Here was released in America in 1967 – it’s unclear who actually played on it as it is cover versions accompanied by the Horace Ott orchestra. The first real album with the new line up was Wind Of Change. The same line up recorded The Twain Shall Meet in 1968 and adding Zoot Money on organ they made Every One Of Us in the same year. As if that wasn’t enough, the final Animals album of the era was Love Is also released in 1968 with McCulloch and Briggs gone it introduced future Police guitarist Andy Summers.
This new Psychedelic direction is remembered for some classic singles – San Franciscan Nights, Sky Pilot, Monterey and the first single from the new era, When I Was Young released in 1967. (These four songs all made the Top 20 in the US. (San Franciscan Nights reached No.7 in the UK and No.9 in the US). Initially it wasn’t that easy to track down When I was Young on an album as the song only appeared on the compilation, The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals Volume 2 released in 1967 with tracks from three previous line ups. Another Psychedelic collection The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals (where When I Was Young should really have appeared) was released in 1969.
John Weider joined Family for two years and then Stud before making some New Age albums. Zoot Money played with Grimms, Ellis, Centipede, Kevin Ayers, Kevin Coyne and Alan Price in the seventies, made solo albums and guested on too many records to mention here. Vic Briggs perhaps the most fascinating of all – he had also played with Rod Stewart and The Echoes (Dusty Springfield’s backing band) in the sixties but in the seventies he became a Sikh moved to San Diego and changed his name to Vikram Singh Khalsa before becoming a plumber. Stranger still after making albums of Indian music he now calls himself Antion and plays Hawaiian chant music. Back to Earth, Barry Jenkins manages a guitar shop in Ramsgate. Sadly, Danny McCulloch died of a heart attack in January 2015.
Eric Burdon formed a collaboration with Funk band War between 1969 and 1971 and has continued with different versions of himself (including as an actor) and various versions of The Animals. He released, ‘Til Your River Runs Dry in 2013, it was his first album of original material for nearly ten years .