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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Monday, 12 October 2015

The life and times of Newcastle rock legend and Animals singer Eric Burdon

A young Eric Burdon at Newcastle's Club A'Gogo from the book, Eric Burdon: Rebel without a Pause by Philip J. Payne, Tyne Bridge Publishing (Photo: Jimmy Perry)

Before we’d heard of Sting, before Mark Knopfler, before Lindisfarne, and Brian Johnson, and Cheryl, and, yes, even Little Mix - The Animals were the North East’s biggest musical export.

Fifty years on, it’s perhaps easy to forget how the Newcastle five-piece band - on the back of their classic House of the Rising Sun - roared to success on both sides of the Atlantic, rivalling The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Fronted by blues singer supreme Eric Burdon, The Animals’ first return to the region after hitting number one sparked fan hysteria and made page-one headlines.

‘Hundreds of screaming fans greet Animals’ declared The Chronicle on July 14, 1964.

The report went on: “The Animals were well and truly hunted at Newcastle Central Station last night.

“Hundreds of screaming fans greeted the Newcastle pop group when they arrived in the city to give a charity concert.

“The group had arrived on Platform 9 and the crowd, which had swelled to more than 1,000 boys and girls, broke through the police cordon outside the platform barrier.”

The band’s subsequent ups and downs have been well-documented but now, a new biography, Eric Burdon: Rebel Without A Pause provides fresh insight into the man who provided the unique voice of The Animals.

This story is told by Burdon’s friend of 60 years, Philip Payne.


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