Eric Burdon was born on May 11, 1941 in Walker-on-Tyne,
Northumberland, UK. His lengthy recording career began in
Newcastle, England, where he first covered songs by his idols, such greats
as Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Josh White, Brownie McGhee, John Lee Hooker,
and Jimmie Reed. He and The Animals quickly gained notoriety as
England’s best R&B band, and they were selected by the pirate
station Radio Caroline as the feature for the first broadcast to the U.S.
The Animals took the music world by storm when they recorded and released
an electrified version of the traditional folk number, "The
House of the Rising Sun". With the release of that song
in mid-1964, The Animals became the first British group after the Beatles
to chart a Number One single in America. In short order they followed with
classics featuring Eric's gritty powerful voice such as "Don’t Let
Me Be Misunderstood", "We Gotta Get Out of This Place",
"It’s My Life" and many others.
While the original membership lasted only until 1966, Eric continued
with new recruits, and the band enjoyed several more hits in a more
psychedelic vein, such as "Monterey" and
"San Franciscan Nights".
After breaking up the Animals in December, 1968, Burdon entered the
Seventies as frontman with a black funk group from Los Angeles known as War.
They recorded a hit single, "Spill the
Wine", and two albums. After leaving War, Eric recorded
intermittently throughout the Seventies and Eighties as a solo
artist. The original Animals subsequently reunited in 1976 to tour
and record a reunion album called "Before We Were So Rudely
Interrupted", after which Burdon ventured into new territory by
appearing in several European films and eventually starred in and composed
the soundtrack for the German film, "Comeback". Reuniting
with The Animals once again for more world touring in 1983, he also
recorded a song called "Sixteen Tons" for the soundtrack to Tom
Hanks' feature film, "Joe Versus the Volcano".
In 1990, Burdon toured with Robbie Krieger (formerly with "The
Doors"), did a cameo roll in Oliver Stones' picture, "The
Doors", studied acting at The Actor's Studio in Los Angeles, did more
professional acting by doing a cameo role in the feature film "The
Eleventh Victim", and appeared as featured artist in television shows
such as "China Beach".
In 1991 Burdon collaborated with follow Englishman and keyboard player
Brian Auger to form the "Eric Burdon/Brian Auger Band" and
continued to tour the world, primarily in Europe, performing for his many
loyal fans. From this collaboration came the live, double album,
"Access All Areas".
In 1994, Eric Burdon and The Animals were inducted into the Rock and
Roll Hall Of Fame.
Burdon's great voice can be heard on national television commercials
and he has appeared in several documentary specials on the history of rock
n' roll including a series by Time/Life in the States and Granada TV and
BBC TV in England. He was a featured artist on the "Concert For The
Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame" and performed in the HBO Special
presentation of that concert, where he sang some of his classic hits in a
duet with Jon Bon Jovi. He was also honored to have been invited by
the family of Jimi Hendrix to perform in the "Jimi Hendrix Tribute
Concert in Seattle".
Throughout the mid 1990's Burdon toured as “Eric Burdon’s
I-Band”, which featured drummer Mark Craney, guitarists Larry Wilkins
& Dean Restum, and bassist Dave Meros. After Craney was forced
to retire and await kidney-transplant, the band regrouped around legendary
musicians Jeff Beck and Aynsley Dunbar. The result was two
“Official Live Bootleg” CD’s, issued under the Flyin’ Eye
Records-label. This incarnation of the band toured throughout the
mid-to-late1990's. Then, in May, 1997 Wilkins passed away following
a battle with cancer. Neal Morse stepped in on both guitars and
keyboards, and the I-Band was eventually back on tour and ready to record
another live project, Official Live Bootleg #2 - which includes an
excellent version of an often-recorded Jagger-Richards track, "Paint
It Black". The addition of Morse, and his work on Paint It
Black, reminded many fans of the keyboard significance of any Burdon-based
project. By 1999 Morse had retired to pursue other projects, but not
before assisting Burdon on the charity-based project, The British Rock
Symphony; Morse was replaced by keyboardist and violinist Martin
Gerschwitz, who with Bernard Pershey, Dean Restum, and Dave Meros form the
New Animals, and back Burdon on his current tours.
Eric Burdon has never been afraid to change with the times and has always done what he has wanted to do.
Over the years, he has become an accomplished writer, singer, artist and actor, developing his unending artistic
abilities, always doing what he wants - successfully.