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Legends in Music Collection: Eric Burdon & The Animals

Eric Burdon & The Animals

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Album Review

Polygram Special Markets' The Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals contains a selection of ten highlights (eight on cassette) from the Animals' late-'60s recordings for MGM. At the time, these were credited to "Eric Burdon and the New Animals" instead of the Animals, which is appropriate — this is clearly the work of a different band, one with psychedelic aspirations. Overall, their recordings weren't as consistently impressive as those of the earlier incarnation of the band, but there were some highlights, most of which were featured on the 1967 album The Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals, Vol. 2. Released in 1997, PSM's The Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals covers the same ground as the earlier collection, most notably sharing the hits "San Franciscan Nights," "Monterey" and "Sky Pilot." The rest of the compilation isn't as strong, largely because it suffers from the same haphazard selection as most budget-line collections. There's a preponderance of covers, from Sam Cooke ("Shake") to Frank Zappa ("All Night Long"), and also includes the bonus cuts "Paint It Black" and "To Love Somebody." So many covers gives a misleading impression of the band's work, but it doesn't make the album unlistenable. It's a reasonably entertaining collection, actually, even if it isn't necessarily representative. Budget-minded, curious listeners may find it worth the price, nevertheless...


Born: 11 May 1941 in Walker-on-Tyne, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As the lead singer of the Animals, Eric Burdon was one of the British Invasion's most distinctive vocalists, with a searingly powerful blues-rock voice. When the first lineup of the group fell apart in 1966, Burdon kept the Animals' name going with various players for a few years. Usually billed as Eric Burdon & the Animals, the group was essentially Burdon's vehicle, which he used to purvey a far more psychedelic and less R&B-oriented vision. Occasionally he came up with a good second-division...
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