Born: May 11, 1941 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Founding member and vocalist of the Animals, a band originally formed in Newcastle in the early 1960s. The Animals were one of the leading bands of the British Invasion, and the band had worldwide following. Along with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, and Gerry and The Pacemakers, they introduced British music and fashion to an entire generation in an explosion of outspoken music and attitude, on and off the stage. Burdon sang on such Animal classics as The House of the Rising Sun, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, Bring It On Home to Me, See See Rider and We've Gotta Get Out of This Place. The Animals combined the traditional blues with rock to create a unique sound.
Original Animals members keyboardist Alan Price and drummer John Steel quit, and were replaced by Dave Rowberry and Barry Jenkins respectively. By 1966 the other members had left, except for Barry Jenkins, and the band was reformed as Eric Burdon and the Animals, which featured future Family member John Weider and future The Police guitarist Andy Summers. This incarnation had hits with songs such as When I Was Young, San Franciscan Nights, Sky Pilot and Monterey.
This ensemble lasted until 1969, going through several line-up changes, and changing the name from Eric Burdon and the Animals to Eric Burdon and the New Animals.
Burdon is claimed by some to be the 'Eggman' from The Beatles song I Am The Walrus. The reason for this is that Burdon was known as 'Eggs' to his friends, originating from his fondness for breaking eggs over naked girls. Burdon's biography mentions such an affair taking place in the presence of John Lennon, who shouted Go on, go get it, Eggman ...
When the New Animals disbanded, Burdon joined forces with funky California jam band War. The resulting album, Eric Burdon Declares War yielded the classics Spill the Wine and Tobacco Road. A second Burdon and War album, a two-disc set, The Black-Man's Burdon, was released later in 1970.
Burdon received a phone call on 18 September 1970 from Monika Dannemann, informing him that her boyfriend Jimi Hendrix was not waking up and was unresponsive. He told her to call him an ambulance.
In 1971 Burdon began a solo career. Around this time, he also recorded the album Guilty! (later released on CD as Black & White Blues) with the blues shouter Jimmy Witherspoon and also featuring Ike White & the San Quentin Prison Band.
Burdon rejoined briefly with the other original Animals in 1976 and 1983, but neither union lasted, although the 1983 reunion yielded the single The Night.
He has led a number of groups named Eric Burdon Band or some variation thereof, with constantly changing personnel. His popularity has remained stronger in continental Europe than in the UK or U.S. Today he continues to record and tour either on his own, or in front of yet another version of Eric Burdon and the Animals. In 1990, a re-formed Eric Burdon and the Animals recorded a cover of the Merle Travis single Sixteen Tons for the film Joe Versus the Volcano, which played over the opening credits of the film.
As of 2007 he was touring as the headlining act of the Hippiefest lineup, produced and hosted by Country Joe McDonald.
On 8 February 2008 an announcement was made about Burdon and War reuniting for the first time in 37 years, to perform a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on 21 April 2008. The concert will coincide with a major reissue campaign courtesy of the UK division of Rhino Records, who will be releasing all of War's albums including Eric Burdon Declares War and The Black-Man's Burdon.