While the likes of The Who, Small Faces and Kinks are showered with retrospective praise for their classic albums, immortal songwriting and cool imagery, The Animals often have to make do with credit for just a few hits and a bassist who discovered Hendrix. Though Eric Burdon is one of the greatest blues voices this country has ever produced, he rarely receives fair appraisal for his achievements – before or after the original group broke up; his New Animals were an essential part of the 60s underground revolution.
Egan successfully argues for The Animals’ place among the major British bands while revealing Burdon to be his own worst enemy. Returning to the mission he started in the original 2001 edition, Egan expands his book with further interviews and research, including co-operation from former Animals (apart from the royalties-hogging Alan Price), along with access to journals and archives. He also rigorously defends Burdon’s subsequent ventures as worthy of the equal treatment The Animals get.
Egan covers the bases thoroughly, crucially possessing the necessary passion to argue his case – though it can never be that simple with inter-band tensions and sinister manager Mike Jeffery in the mix. It’s a shame the ending isn’t happier. The tone degenerates, with the four surviving original members barely speaking in their old age.