The Animals on “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place”: “We thought we were on a crusade!”

Eric Burdon and co discuss the creation of their classic single

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VALENTINE: We thought Dave was really the perfect replacement for Alan Price. They were the same type of players, with jazz backgrounds. Plus they had the same haircut – very important!

BURDON: With Dave it became a bit more melodic. He brought in that lovely little melody line on the organ behind one of the verses. I’d forgotten about it but with my new band I get our keyboard player to do that.

STEEL: On Wikipedia it said [session drummer] Bobby Graham claims to have played on “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place”. The cheeky bastard! I’ve no idea where that came from.


BURDON: John definitely played on it. We never had any session musicians.

VALENTINE: All of our recordings were very fast. It wasn’t multi-track, there were two half-track machines. The only overdub that happened was Eric’s vocal – he would do a guide vocal in the sound booth and we could hear him singing in our headphones, but it wasn’t being recorded. As the engineer was playing back what we had recorded on one machine Eric would record his vocal on top of that. The most takes we would do was generally four or five, then it’d be out within days. Two versions were released, one in the UK and one in the US. They’re quite different. I think you can tell by the words and vocals.

BURDON: I changed the lyrics. I always do that, I can’t help myself! That’s the way it is with me, you’re not going to get the same lyric.


STEEL: Within a week of recording it we were on Ready Steady Go! with The Hollies and Donovan playing the song live. They always liked us on RSG! because we could play live without making a fool of ourselves.

BURDON: We shot a piece of film of us performing “…Place” on 35mm upstairs in some whorehouse in Soho at about nine in the morning. We were all out drinking the night before, we looked terrible!

STEEL: Very quickly the song became very popular. The only reason it wasn’t our second No 1 was because of the competition. “Mr Tambourine Man” by The Byrds was No 1, and we were hanging around waiting for that to drop, and then The Beatles released “Help!”. You couldn’t fight The Beatles in those days.

VALENTINE: It always went down great live. Fans’ interpretations were very varied. It had a great hook – when we played it people would sing the chorus. I always enjoyed playing it.

BURDON: It’s adaptable. I’ve played that song so many ways with so many different bands. It has that great pad, that pulse. It changes so many times in concert.


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