Eric Burdon’s 50 years of rock

Almost 50 years after he first appeared on the international music scene, Eric Burdon is still doing what he does best: making music.

In the early 1960s, Burdon and his band The Animals rode the first wave of the British invasion into America. Although that incarnation of the band would disband just a few short years later, they would first score a massive international hit with their cover of “House Of The Rising Sun.” Post-Animals, Burdon collaborated with the likes of Robby Krieger from The Doors and blues greats like Jimmy Witherspoon and Sonny Boy Williamson.

A seemingly restless spirit by nature, Burdon has rarely stopped making music or performing over the past 50 years and is coming to Metro Moncton for a show at Casino New Brunswick on Thursday night. The show starts at 8 p.m.

Along with bands like The Beatles, Herman’s Hermits and The Rolling Stones, The Animals were a part of the influential Brit music Invasion, taking America by storm during such an exceptional point in music history. Although he does not elaborate upon his statement, Burdon says the spirit among bands caught up in the Brit Invasion was cordial at the outset but soon became every band for itself.

“We were collectively ‘brothers in arms’ from 1964 through 1966,” Burdon begins. “But when the money showed up, all of that changed rather quickly. You could say that it became a rat race from that point onwards.”

Growing up, Burdon says the first vocalist to leave an impression on him was American singer-songwriter Johnny Ray before he “realized that the roots of rock’n’roll were the blues.

“From then on it was mostly black musicians like Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Ray Charles,” he says.

Once the Animals had dissolved, Burdon went on to front The New Animals before joining forces with the members of funk band War. Together with War, Burdon recorded two albums, adding tracks like “Tobacco Road” and “Spill The Wine” to his resume of hits.

Burdon notes that working with War after working with The Animals was a very different experience.

“It was as different as day and night really,” he says. “An example that comes to mind is from being in the studio. Recording sessions with The Animals were usually only one take; The Animals could cut an LP in two days flat.

“War rehearsals on the other hand took weeks, sometimes even months.”

Though he may not maintain a high profile today like some of his peers from the Brit Invasion, Burdon certainly hasn’t been resting on his laurels. Since the turn of the century, the musician has released three studio efforts including the critically lauded Soul Of A Man (2006). Burdon’s most recent release is 2008’s Mirage record although the project’s roots date back to 1973. The record was meant to be the accompanying soundtrack to a movie of the same name; Burdon had the soundtrack completed when United Artists pulled the plug on the movie’s production. Burdon’s musical creation for the film languished on a shelf for 24 years before finally being released.

For an artist on the cusp of 70 years old, Burdon has a remarkable amount of energy and continued enthusiasm for the road and making new music.

“I just finished recording a new album, which will be released later this year,” he said.

Asked whom he finds is making worthwhile music these days, Burdon refrains from naming artists by name yet sums up the interview in a very diplomatic way: “There is a lot of new music to love out there,” he says. “I find that it is a little more of a challenge to find it though.”

Article published in March 9, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript

One Response to "Eric Burdon’s 50 years of rock"

  1. Eric sure put on a great show in Fredericton Tuesday night.If you can still get tickets it’s worth every cent.The man can really sing..great show

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