SUE’S SUNDAY SOJOURN: Each week Sue will showcase a particular artist or band during her entire two hour set. Each week, prior to the set, there will be a blog post where she will write about her memories, favorite stories or share other interesting tidbits about the artist. The idea here is not to tell the story of the band or play two hours of their greatest hits. The idea behind Sue’s Sunday Sojourn will be to spend time with Sue, down in her music vault. As she puts together the set, she will reminisce and share special memories. “I remember when this came out,” or, “I recall hearing this for the first time and I thought…” She might share little known facts, favorite memories, fun stories or maybe even some personal experiences.
The sets will have plenty of the big hits but be ready for a few obscure tunes that may be her personal favorites. She will probably include a few rarities or possibly unreleased material, along with other assorted curios. So join her every Sunday night from 7-9 PM SLT as she lets you into her world.
Eric Burdon and the Animals
|The Animals, circa 1964|
“Definition of Hippie: a usually young person who rejects the mores of established society (as by dressing unconventionally or favoring communal living) and advocates a nonviolent ethic; broadly: a long-haired unconventionally dressed young person.”
I don’t know of a single hippie back in the 60’s that would have used any of that to describe themselves or their movement. There is nothing in there about sticking it to the man; peace, love & joy or criticizing the squares. Many people think of the 60’s and they instantly think of hippies, like that is all that the decade was about. They were actually only a small piece of a much bigger whole. “Hippies,” as we normally use the term, began appearing in 1965 and 1966 but didn’t become prevalent until 1967.
No one would argue that San Francisco was ground zero for hippie-dom. It was there, in Golden Gate Park in January of 1967, that what was probably the most seminal hippie event took place, the Human Be-In. I’m not sure what to call it except maybe a “gathering,” but it really brought hippies to the attention of the world. It was at this event that Dr. Timothy Leary coined his phrase, “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Of course, this lead into the infamous Summer of Love a few months later.
|Funeral Notice, click to enlarge|
And the world did notice, especially the record companies and big business that began trying to market “hippie-dom.” The commercial exploitation was so anathema to the hippie philosophy that in October 1967 (that same year as the Human Be-In and the Summer of Love), the hippies held a funeral in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco, complete with coffin, which is usually referred to as, “The Death of the Hippie.” So, according to the hippies themselves, a mere nine months after the Human Be-In and their rise to national attention, the Hippie was dead. That didn’t stop the Man from continuing to commercialize the concept and many still became “hippies” in order to “make the scene.” In 1969, the Woodstock Festival would be referred to by the media as a gathering of 500,000 hippies. The term lived on, describing any young member of the counterculture with long hair and a propensity for bandanas.
|A hippie as depicted in costume today (left) and a real hippie in the 60's (right) Click to enlarge|
There are so many misconceptions held today about the 60’s. Just look at the pictures above comparing a modern depiction of hippie dress as a costume vs. a typical garden variety hippie photographed in the 60’s. People today miss the mark in remembering the 60’s in so many ways. There was so much more to the decade too, like the war in Vietnam, the assassination of an American President, the Civil Rights Movement, the moon landing and the British Invasion. People often forget that the British Invasion had a much larger impact on the music scene than the San Francisco Sound or Hippie Movement ever did.
I know what you are thinking right now. “This is supposed to be a post on Eric Burdon and the Animals. Where do they fit into all of this?” I appreciate your indulgence so far but the background was necessary so you could fully understand the light in which I will present this legendary group.
In my opinion, no other band or artist epitomized and embraced the entirety of the decade of the 60's like Eric Burdon and the Animals did!
They began in the UK in about 1962 and were billed as an R&B band early on. Like many of the early British groups, they were taking their inspiration from artists such as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Little Richard, and at the same time grooving to tunes written by many American blues artists from earlier in the Twentieth Century. This wasn’t really any different than what the Beatles or Rolling Stones were doing in the early 60’s. There were no hippies and Rock ‘n’ Roll was in its infancy. Terms like “psychedelic” wouldn’t appear in this context until 1966 and not become popular until 1967, much like the hippies.
Take one look at the picture at the top of the post. In the early 60’s, there was nothing psychedelic or hip about them. They looked rather clean cut in their suits, ties and short hair but there hits back then are still classic rock staples like Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood, We Gotta Get Out of this Place and It’s My Life. There was also their very first single that was released, House of the Rising Sun (1964), that rose to #1 in both the UK and American charts, sling-shotting them to instant superstardom. It was their cover of an old American folk tune, blazing a trail for future folk rock success in the industry. They recorded it in one take and it took only 15 minutes to produce!
There is no doubt that the Animals were in the vanguard of the British Invasion with the Beatles and the Stones. Late in 1966, Eric Burdon was catching wind of the early rumblings of the hippies in California. The music coming from bands like the Jefferson Airplane were striking a nerve within him. He decided to take the Animals in a new direction. After a couple of personnel changes, they reemerged as "Eric Burdon and the Animals." By early 1967 they had done the unthinkable and moved to California to be part of the scene. It is the only case that I can recall of a British Invasion band, actually invading but instead of bringing their sound here, they were coming here to embrace our new emerging psychedelic world. Both the Beatles and the Stones would embrace psychedelia but they would do so from the comfort of their British homes across the "Pond."
“The following program is dedicated to the city and people of San Francisco, who may not know it but they are beautiful and so is their city. This is a very personal song, so if the viewer cannot understand it, particularly those of you who are European residents, save up all your bread and fly Trans-Love Airways to San Francisco U.S.A., then maybe you'll understand the song. It will be worth it, if not for the sake of this song but for the sake of your own peace of mind.”
San Franciscan Nights, Eric Burdon and the Animals (1967)
That quote is the intro to San Franciscan Nights, their biggest hit off the first album by the California version of the band. Read it again. It really says it all.
|Click to enlarge|
And embrace the American counterculture they did. As you can see from the poster above, they were playing the same venues, like the Fillmore Auditorium, as were the Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and other Bay Area bands. They were now recording songs like Gratefully Dead, Year of the Guru and their infamous war protest song, Sky Pilot. (I’ll play them all this Sunday.) They were no longer the unhip, clean cut kids shown at the top. The picture below shows the metamorphosis of the psychedelic butterfly complete.
|Eric Burdon and the Animals, circa 1967, Click to enlarge|
In 1969, as the 60’s were coming to a close, Eric Burdon and the Animals came to an end. Eric decided to break the color barrier in a sort of a reverse way and was a founding member (and the only white one) of a black Soul/Funk band, War (sometimes referred to as “Eric Burdon and War.”) They had two albums come out in 1970, Eric Burdon Declares War and the Black-Man’s Burdon. Eric Burdon and the Animals would reform later on.
It’s funny. You’d think that with Sue’s Sunday Sojourn so heavily reliant upon my memories that I would have seen a lot of these bands in concert, not so. Out of the twelve Sojourns we have completed, I’ve only seen three in concert, Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Moody Blues and Jethro Tull. That’s 25% but we can now add a fourth. One of the most memorable nights in my life was when I got to see Eric Burdon and the Animals live in concert. My seat was in the THIRD ROW!!!! They did the songs I came to hear and I can’t put into words what that was like. House of the Rising Sun was especially moving for me. I would also get to see War live in concert, but that's another story for another day.
DJ Sue’s Vault…
Above is my copy of The Animals from 1964. Most of us are used to LP’s and 45 singles but back in the 60’s, especially outside of the United States, the EP or extended play was also popular. This one is typical and sized between the 45 single and an LP. In the picture above, I’ve placed it on top of an Eric Burdon and the Animals LP to show its smaller size. You play it at 45 RPMs and it has two songs on each side.
I’m in Love
Bury My Body
I’m Mad Again
She said Yeah
This one was given to me because the previous owner didn’t want it and felt it would have a good home with me and be appreciated.
This week on the Sojourn, I’m going to do something I haven’t done up until now. I’m going to play the songs I’ve picked in chronological order Sunday night. I want you to hear the progression from R&B, to British Invasion, to psychedelic hippie. Join me at a Woman’s Touch this Sunday night 7-9 PM SLT. We will listen to the metamorphosis of this beautiful psychedelic butterfly.
There is a lot of distortion in our current memory of the 60’s. When you find yourself remembering the 60’s, think about Vietnam, the Kennedy assassination, the Beatles, the Space Race, the Cold War and the like. But don’t forget to remember Eric Burdon and the Animals. After all, they were there for the whole thing and did it all, except maybe fly one of the Apollo missions.
“To me, the Animals were a revelation. They were the first records with full-blown class consciousness that I'd ever heard. We Gotta Get Out of This Place had that great opening bass rift… [After playing and singing a bit of it, he continued] That’s all of them. That's every song I've ever written. That's Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A., everything I've done for the past 40 years including all the new ones. That struck me so deep. It was the first time I felt I heard something come across the radio that mirrored my home life, my childhood… Darkness [on the Edge of Town] was filled with Animals."
Bruce Springsteen on the Animals (2012)
|The over-fed, long-haired, leaping gnome himself, Eric Burdon|