The Animals were one of the better-known groups of the British Invasion and one reason their sound was so distinct and timeless was, without a doubt, Eric Burdon. Eric was the vocalist and his classic baritone still graces the airwaves every day on tracks like "House Of The Rising Sun," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," and "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place," all great examples of the original Animals sound.
But the original group was never very stable, one of the founding members, Alan Price (considered the original leader of the band) had quit the group soon after their first hit ("House...") and by 1966, the group disbanded.
Burdon was featured on Eric Is Here from 1966, but the rest of the group was nowhere to be found. Eric Is Here sounds like no other in the Animals catalog; a kind of Mowtown-Spector feel with a touch of standard '60s easy listening.
In 1967, Burdon became more involved in the counter-culture movement of the time and started a group of "New Animals," based in San Fransisco. For the first time, he started writing his own songs and the result was more expressive than anything before that. The first single issued was "When I Was Young," one of the long-lost hits of the late '60s (notice that "oldies" stations seem play the same set of songs every day? It's a shame that there's great stuff like this that never gets played). The B-side, "A Girl Called Sandoz," about a pharmaceutical company that manufactured LSD, was a fuzzed-out, lo-fi masterpiece. I should also note that Eric was good friends with Jimi Hendrix and they hung out a lot around this time (Hendrix's influence is obvious on tracks like "Sandoz.")
The album that followed is arguably the best of Eric's career. Don't pay any attention to critics who might say that 1967's Winds Of Change is a indulgent, pseudo-psychedelic mess, just go to a used record shop and give it a listen. Take it home, burn some incense, relax and don't get hung up on what music should or shouldn't sound like. It's a cool album; "San Fransiscan Nights" and "Anything" are personal favorites, both of which can be found on some "Best Of" compilations.
History repeated itself in the case of the "New" Animals; like the original group, the band members changed often. Eric Burdon & The Animals released a few more records before disbanding for good (well, until the original Animals regrouped in 1977). The Twain Shall Meet ("Monterey," "Sky Pilot") was released in 1967; Every One Of Us ("White Houses") and Love Is ("River Deep Mountain High," "To Love Somebody") came out in 1968.
Eric Burdon continued to record and perform, most notably with the band War in 1970-71, who he had a big hit with, "Spill The Wine." Eric continues to tour with The "NEW" New Animals... not the original Animals or the original New Animals!
Eric Burdon is definitely a guy to look for next time you're at the record shop.