WAR. That was the name of Eric Burdon’s funk soul band in the sixties and seventies. A subliminal recollection of the day he was born perhaps - 11 May 1941.
“The hospital I was born in was hit by high-intensity bombs from the Luftwaffe, flying off from occupied Finland. So knock, knock. Wake up, Eric. Welcome to the world,” the 72-year-old, who appears at the Festival Theatre tonight as part of the Jazz and Blues Festival, once recalled.
Legendary front-man of The Animals, Burdon is the voice that broke America, a key part of the British invasion of the States back in the day thanks to classics such as Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, We Gotta Get Outta This Place, and his signature tune, The House of the Rising Sun.
And it is to the US that Burdon looks for much of his inspiration.
The Animals famously arrived in New York in a motorcade. The year was 1964 and the ‘British invasion’ was in full swing.
Recalling that trip to the Big Apple, Burdon has said, “I went straight up to the Apollo in New York, where I had the chance to see James Brown and BB King together on stage.
“I also was lucky to catch Count Basie and his orchestra in an afternoon show after a Western movie. I think I was the only white face in the theatre.”
It was Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry, however, who perhaps had the biggest influence on Burdon musically, although for very different reasons.