If Burdon's life story accurately reflects the life of your average rock 'n' roller during the last 40 years, then readers will quickly understand exactly why many a young boy has come to his ruin by that route. Once and always the lead singer of the Animals (as well as the lead for Eric Burdon and the New Animals and Eric Burdon and War), he recounts riding the crest of the British Invasion, moving to L.A., and birthing San Francisco's psychedelic rock scene; getting drunk, laid and stoned; hanging out with the likes of Lennon, Hendrix and Morrison; and spotting Elvis. In one revealing (if not disenchanting) bit, Burdon tells the whys and hows of being the Eggman of the Beatles's song "I Am the Walrus." He also elaborates on his longstanding dismay with the recording industry eloquently captured in a low moment when he "drunkenly" tried to play a gold record he'd received ("It wasn't a chart-topping Animals album at all it was an old Connie Francis record") and gripes about getting ripped off for arrangement rights to the Animals' version of "House of the Rising Sun." This book is a celebration of tried-and-true music, but other new memoirs prove more engaging (see Gene Simmons bio, above). While this account is a primary source for the history of rock 'n' roll, readers may find this story of an overindulgent, middling rocker burdensome. Photos. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In his first autobiography, I Used To Be an Animal, but I'm All Right Now (1986. o.p.), Burdon recounted his youth and rowdy years as lead singer of British R&B-sters the Animals. Here, he presents a pastiche of anecdotes from the last 30 years, with relatively little space devoted to the band that got him inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not many Sixties icons could get away with two memoirs, but Burdon has been around the block and then some, and he regales readers with plenty of new tales. Take, for instance, his bizarre stint in a German prison, his trek into Israel's Negev Desert, and a visit to the actual House of the Rising Sun (the New Orleans whorehouse that inspired the Animals' biggest hit). Also covered are both ill-fated Animal reunions and the business deals that probably cost the author millions. Those wanting a history of the Animals are better off hunting down Burdon's previous book or Sean Egan's Animal Tracks (Helter Skelter, 2001). Still, these reminiscences will delight Burdon's fans (a fine discography is also included) and followers of British Invasion rock in general. Recommended. Lloyd Jansen, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.