Animals and Friends to play Prague and Brno

Two members of the 1960s band the Animals plat their big hits

British invasion band the Animals had a string of 1960s hits including “House of the Rising Sun,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “It's My Life” and “Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood.”

The group Animals and Friends, featuring the Animals’ original drummer John Steel, will be at Divadlo Hybenia in Prague on Jan. 31 and at Sono Music Club in Brno on Feb. 1.

The current lineup of Animals and Friends, aside from Steel, features keyboardist Mick Gallagher, who was with the Animals briefly in 1965 and who was also a member of Ian Dury and the Blockheads and contributed to albums by the Clash.

New members are Danny Handley on guitar and vocals, and Roberto Ruiz on bass and vocals.

Singer Eric Burdon, who was on most of the big 1960s hits, is not in this edition of the band, but tours with a different lineup to perform the classic hits and his own material.

Original bassist Chas Chandler passed away in 1996. Chandler is also known for discovering Jimi Hendrix.

Original keyboardist Alan Price last appeared in an Animals lineup in a 1983 reunion tour. Original guitarist Hilton Valentine was in various editions of the band until 2001.

Back in the 1960s, the Animals were in the top ranks of rock ’n’ roll, following the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. The original band lineup including John Steel was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

The Animals formed in the coal center Newcastle-on-Tyne in northeast England. Like other 1960s British bands, they were heavily influenced by American blues and R&B.

They were first called the Alan Price Combo but changed to the catchier name the Animals after Eric Burdon joined in 1962. the name came from their energetic stage style and raw delivery.

In 1963, they performed extensively in Hamburg, Germany, around the same time the Beatles were doing the same.

They moved to London in 1964 and had a hit with a cover of “House of the Rising Sun” a year later. This was the first of several blues-oriented hits for the band. Most of the songs were interpretations of R&B material originally recorded by other artists or songs written for them by songwriting teams.

The original lineup began to beak up in 1965 when Alan Price left due to fear of flying and also conflicts with Burdon. Price was replaced by Mick Gallagher. John Steel left in March 1966, followed quickly by the other original members. Eric Burdon continued with a new lineup called Eric Burdon and the Animals and went in a more psychedelic direction.

The original Animals reunited in 1977 and released the album Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted. In 1983 they got back together again for the albums Ark and Rip It to Shreds—The Animals Greatest Hits Live!

Animals and Friends, led by John Steel, first performed in 2001 with a different lineup. Mick Gallagher joined in 2003.

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