The Tragic Story Of The Animals’ Eric Burdon
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Eric Burdon, the founder of The Animals, who was close friends with Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and greatly respected by Bruce Springsteen, is a blues artist, a non-conformist, and a resilient individual who has triumphed over many obstacles. This story reveals his extraordinary life journey.
Burdon has numerous anecdotes attributed to him, many of which are believed to be accurate. For instance, he supposedly startled Morrison by engaging in a dangerous game of Russian roulette involving a glass chandelier. There are also accounts of him experimenting with LSD alongside Janis Joplin at the Fillmore.
He shared a close bond with Hendrix, spent time with John Lee Hooker in Detroit, faced being fired at gunpoint, embarked on a wild desert adventure with his biker friend Steve McQueen, and allegedly became the muse for the Eggman character in The Beatles’ song “I Am The Walrus” following a peculiar food-related encounter.
From Idol to Icon
Burdon’s life is filled with tales, much like the legendary blues musicians he idolized during his childhood. He possessed one of the most powerful and expressive voices of the period following World War II, and his time with The Animals in the 1960s prompted Brian Jones to call him “the finest English blues vocalist of all time.”
His deep, resonant voice impressed Robert Plant, Iggy Pop, David Johansen, Patti Smith, and Springsteen. During the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, in 2012, Springsteen acknowledged that The Animals profoundly influenced his musical direction. He described Burdon as a “gorilla in a suit” and compared his vocals to the raw power of Howlin’ Wolf, emanating from a youthful individual.
Sensational Voice of Burdon
With their interpretations of well-known songs like “The House Of The Rising Sun,” “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place,” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” The Animals mesmerized British and American audiences while capturing the passionate sensuality of white-boy blues.
Steve Van Zandt, the guitarist for Springsteen, has hailed Burdon’s vocal prowess as “powerful and deep,” crediting him with pioneering the style of low-pitched singing by white guy artists.
Rise and Fall
Following the breakup of The Animals, Burdon played a significant role in introducing 70s street funk alongside the Californian band War. However, their collaborations did not have a harmonious conclusion.