The Two Singers Who Hate Eric Burdon Of The Animals
We will tell you a story about a song that was caught in a web of misunderstandings and miscommunication, causing Eric Burdon to be the hated person at the end of the day. Born out of the imagination of two talented songwriters, the song was intended for one artist but ended up in the hands of another without even the permission of the songwriters. Despite its success and popularity, the song’s journey left a bitter taste in the mouths of its creators, and all the blame was placed upon the shoulders of the lead vocalist of the Animals.
It all began in the studios of Barry Mann’s record label, where he had recorded a demo of ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place’ that he and Cynthia Weil had written specifically for the Righteous Brothers. However, his record label wanted him to release the song. The song was going to be released as a basic piano and vocal demo. Mann was eager to get the song out to the public, and so he played the demo for Allen Klein, hoping to get his approval for its release. But things took a turn for the worst when Mann left the demo in the studio after his meeting with Klein.
Allen Klein, knowing or not knowing -we’re not the one to judge this- who the demo was intended for, took it upon himself to pass it on to Mickie Most, who worked with the Animals. Most was impressed with the song and saw its potential as a hit for the Animals. And so, without Mann or Weil’s knowledge, the Animals recorded the song and released it under their own name.
Imagine the sadness and disappointment Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil must have felt when they discovered what had happened to their song. Not only had it been recorded by another artist without even they knew it, but it had also been altered to fit the style of the Animals. The lyrics were rearranged and reworded so that the rendition differed from their version. So, they had every reason to hate the singer that had sung their song.
In a 2013 interview with Something Else, Eric Burdon acknowledged the animosity held towards him by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, but he didn’t step back. Despite the risk of further fueling their dislike, he boldly proclaimed that they had failed to recognize the song’s potential and that the changes made by the Animals had elevated it to new heights.
Here are the words of the lead singer of the Animals:
“They hate me, anyway, and they’ll hate me even more when I say this: I don’t think they realized what they had with that song. That song can be done a million different ways. For people like guys serving in the military, who really want to get out of a situation, each generation — except for, maybe, this one where now it’s all rap — but leading up to just recently, the British troops in Iraq voted it their number 1 song. And that happened in every conflict that I know of, up until the advent of rap, which is now the music of the day.”
Despite its tumultuous history and the discontent of its creators, ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place’ became a massive success for the Animals. Its raw, gritty sound and relatable lyrics resonated with audiences, quickly rising up the charts and earning a place among the classic songs of the era.
With its powerful message of escape and freedom, the song spoke to a generation that was yearning for change and seeking a better life. We don’t know how it would have sounded like if we had listened to the first version by Mann and Weil. Yet, there is no doubt that the song has long since become synonymous with Eric Burdon’s deep voice and the Animal’s gritty sound.