Back in 1964, unless you were living in a cave or covered with fur, you would have heard the hit songs of 'The Animals. Forty years later, you can do it again. 22 tracks including the long unavailable 'We Gotta Get Out Of This Place' (U.S.).
The 22 tracks on Retrospective
deftly chronicle the best years of the Animals, who were far and away the grittiest band in the British Invasion of the mid-1960s. Eric Burdon's magnificently raw vocals and the stabbing chords of Alan Price's Vox Continental organ gave their covers of American blues and R&B classic such as Sam Cooke's "Bring it on Home" and John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" an authenticity that no other British groups could match. Their rough sound also gave songs like "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "We've Got to Get of This Place" a real sense of rage and menace. By 1967 Burdon was the only remaining original member and he formed a new band that eschewed the blues and R&B of his early years in Newcastle in favor of a psychedelic, San Francisco-influenced sound. Songs like "When I Was Young" showed he had a real gift for the type of personal songwriting that was becoming popular in the late 1960s while the lyrically obscure "San Franciscan Nights" and "Sky Pilot" suggested he spent too much time hanging out with hippies. Even when they stumbled, the Animals were interesting, and when they hit the mark, they were as good as any band from the British Invasion. --Michael John Simmons