The Animals: 15 Facts You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

The Animals were an integral part of the 1960s British rock scene. Captivating audiences with singer Eric Burdon’s deep, howling vocals, the band became something to talk about. Coming over to the U.S. during the height of the British Invasion, the band had legions of screaming fans fainting at the mere sight of them. In late 1966-early 1967, the original line-up disbanded and a new version was formed under the name Eric Burdon & the Animals. Though the band didn’t last more than a decade in any form, their music lived on as some of the most important and influential recordings ever. In 1994, The Animals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Read on to learn more about the band’s legacy, and watch out for part two of our list, coming soon.

Number Fifteen: “House of the Rising Sun” Was Their Only Number One Hit. Despite the fact that they had ten Top 20 singles, The Animals only had one number one. The band’s arrangement of “House of the Rising Sun” made the song synonymous with the group, even though it had been recorded by artists both before and after them.

Number Fourteen: They Were Featured in a Movie. When The Animals first came over to the United States in the mid-1960s, the band was cast in a B-film called Get Yourself a College Girl, starring Mary Ann Mobley, Chad Everett and Nancy Sinatra. The band played themselves, performing the songs “Blue Feeling” and “Around and Around.” Also a featured performer in the film: The Dave Clark Five.

Number Thirteen: Their Manager Was Kidnapped by Yakuza. During the band’s second incarnation, Eric Burdon & the Animals played a tour in Japan. The promotors of the tour, who were secretly members of the Yakuza, were not happy that the tour was delayed two months, and kidnapped the band’s manager a couple of days into the tour. They made him write an IOU for $25,000 to offset fees incurred because of the lateness of the tour. Once their manager obliged and the Yakuza set him free, the band was told to either leave Japan or be killed.

Number Twelve: The Original Line-up Briefly Reunited. Between 1975 and 1983, The Animals reunited their original line-up and released two albums.

Number Eleven: Drummer John Steel Owns the Band’s Name. For years, there have been many incarnations of the band touring under the name “The Animals.” However, the question of which one of these groups could actually call themselves “The Animals” was up for debate. John Steel was determined the copyright holder, but in 2013, the courts accepted a plea Eric Burdon made for the name, allowing him to use it. Burdon is currently touring under the name Eric Burdon & the Animals.

Number Ten: The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” Was Inspired by the Band. When Mick Jagger wrote “Paint It Black,” he originally had The Animals’ version of “House of the Rising Sun” in mind. In an interesting twist, Eric Burdon & the Animals covered “Paint It Black” on their album, Winds of Change, and performed it during their set at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

Number Nine: Eric Burdon was Instrumental in Starting War. After Eric Burdon & the Animals dissolved, Burdon linked up with multi-cultural California band The Creators to form Eric Burdon and War in 1969. The band (before Burdon left in 1971) is best known for their song “Spill the Wine.” Check back for part two of our list of 15 interesting facts about The Animals, coming soon.