Part 1: The House Of The Rising Sun.
What song or songs would one identify most closely with The Beatles? ‘She Loves You’? ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’? ‘Day Tripper’? ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’? ‘Let It Be’? ‘The Long And Winding Road’? Of course, that’s an impossible question to answer, because so many classics poured out from the pens of John Lennon and Paul McCartney and onto the vinyl perfection that the world has listened to and loved during the past six decades. The same difficulty applies to the other top groups of the era: The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys, who also had game-changing records at frequent stages of their illustrious careers.
But in the case of The Animals, the question is easy to address. In fact, there can only be one answer: their earth-shattering 1964 single: ‘The House Of The Rising Sun’ (which obviously gets *****). This is not to say that they didn’t produce other great records, which indeed they did. It’s just that ‘The House Of The Rising Sun’ towers over everything else that this talented group ever created.
If one asked any fan of 1960s music to name The Animals’ singles, they could probably come up with three, maybe four, of the nine 45s that the original group released. They might mention ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’, ‘Bring It On Home To Me’, ‘It’s My Life’ or ‘We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place’ for example; all superb records. But the one they could all name without difficulty, the number that would surely be at the top of everyone’s list would undoubtedly be ‘The House Of The Rising Sun’.
This iconic and astonishing record with its singer’s incredible lead vocal, was The Animals’ route to international stardom. But sadly, as we shall see, in due course this particular record also proved to be their nemesis, causing an early split in their previously unified state and inhibiting the development and increased success of which they had been fully capable.