The Animals was a bunch of egotists,” says Eric Burdon. “Which exploded like a hand grenade.” The song responsible, “The House Of The Rising Sun”, dates back to the 19th Century. A folk staple, Bob Dylan recorded it for his self-titled debut in 1962, and it’s this version that found its way to Newcastle. The Animals recorded it in 1964 as their second single. Up until then, they’d specialised in R’n’B covers. But “The House Of The Rising Sun” provided something of a change of pace. It was raw, adult R’n’B that not even the Stones could match. “When we met them at the Club A Go Go in Newcastle, I saw the look on the faces of Mick and Keith,” Burdon says. “It was quite clear they had to kill us off.”
“The House Of The Rising Sun” was a global hit, The Animals becoming the first UK band to top the US charts since The Beatles. But they never came close to matching its success again, and by September ’66, the band had split.