Eric Burdon is an English blues and R&B singer who achieved his initial fame as the lead singer and frontman for the 1964 British Invasion group The Animals. Burdon went on to be recognized as one of the premiere international vocalists among the blues-based band singers in the mid to late '60s and '70s. While the line-up of The Animals was ever-changing, the group became known as Eric Burdon and The Animals as its voice and image continued to be defined by Burdon. Later he had hits fronting the multi-national band Eric Burdon and War. Burdon continues to record and perform as an elder statesman of Brit soul. Here are 10 of the best known and best loved songs by Eric Burdon.
10. "Help Me Girl"
This was a single release in 1966. Burdon's band The Animals had broken up and the singer went into the studio with drummer Barry Jenkins and recorded a collection called Eric Is Here featuring songs written by some established, as well as up-and-coming writers of the day. This was a pop tune written by Scott English and Larry Weiss. Burdon's impassioned vocal sells the tune and it became a top 30 hit.
Also from the Eric Is Here album, this was written by soon to be mega-successful songwriter Randy Newman. Burdon's vocal performance is loaded with personality and humor. The tune would later be a hit for the group Three Dog Night, but Eric got there first and his is the superior version.
This song was inspired by the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival at which Burdon and his new band Eric Burdon and The Animals performed. The track is very evocative of that time period just at the dawn of the psychedelic music scene. The lyrics are a 'who's who' of the headline performers from that historic show.
A song from the Winds of Change album by Eric Burdon and The Animals from the Summer of Love 1967. Here Eric sings the praises of the ultimate hippie destination during that iconic time period. Bluesman for the moment turned flower power spokesman. This was a top 10 single in both the US and UK.
The band Eric Burdon and War was an early fusion of an already legendary Brit soul shouter and a California jazz/funk ensemble. Written by the band themselves, this track features a flute solo and spoken word sections wherein Burdon emotes and sells the fantasy storyline. On the choruses his soulful vocal seals the deal. As a single release it reached the number 3 spot.
5. "Sky Pilot"
This was a single release taken from the 1968 album The Twain Shall Meet by Eric Burdon and The Animals. The story of a military chaplain during wartime is the setting for this track that incorporates the then cutting edge audio effect of phasing or flanging. Eric performs the vocal in his signature soulful manner. The song was split into parts one and two on the 2 sides of the single. It reached number 14 in the US.
This autobiographical tune featured impassioned scat singing from Eric and psychedelic electric violin by John Weider. It was a number 15 hit in the US and has been covered numerous times over the years by a variety of artists. Lyrically it borrows the "I was so much older then ," theme from Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages."
The original Animals had a hit with this Nina Simone classic during the British Invasion era. Many artists and bands have recorded this song over the years, but Burdon's vocal was stellar and he and the band (including the great Alan Price on keyboards) is often regarded as having done the definitive version.
An anthemic hit as recorded by the original Animals lineup (with the exception of founding member Alan Price having left the band and being replaced by Dave Rowberry), this song was written by the Brill Building songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. It was a number 2 hit in the UK and reached number 13 in the US. Burdon's blues tinged vocal alternately snarls, pleads and then soars. It continues to be one of his signature songs and a concert favorite..
This is a traditional folk song that Burdon and the original Animals along with their producer Mickie Most, fashioned into a number one hit at the height of The British Invasion in 1964. Organist Alan Price and guitarist Hilton Valentine contributed key elements to the recording that sounded like nothing else on the pop charts at the time or since. Burdon's iconic interpretation and stunning vocal performance will always be regarded as his finest hour. The track is a legendary and timeless folk/blues/pop classic.