When British rock pioneers the Animals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, singer Eric Burdon missed the ceremonies. He was busy doing what he usually does: working.
"Unfortunately, I was not there, due to the fact that I was touring in Germany," said Burdon, who will be in concert with the Animals Saturday night at the Valentine Theatre.
But it's not like he'd been sitting around on pins and needles waiting for the rock hall to call.
"At the time, I was doing a sound check when [keyboardist] Brian Auger brought me the news. It was a surprise to me and when I had time to reflect, I thought that it was wonderful to be recognized by one's peers," Burdon said in an interview via e-mail.
Burdon, born May 11, 1941, in Newcastle, England, led the Animals alongside such bands as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the British invasion of the mid-1960s. The group's mix of raw blues and earthy rock scored such hits as "I'm Crying," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," and "It's My Life."
The Animals' "House of the Rising Son," a 1964 remake of a traditional British folk song, was an instant classic, topping the charts in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
The song has been covered countless times, but one of the most unusual arrangements features the lyrics of "Amazing Grace" set to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun."
"Two years ago in San Sebastian, Spain, I attended a live concert of the Five Blind Boys of Alabama," Burdon said, "and when they started to play the intro of 'Amazing Grace,' the whole audience turned towards me and applauded. It was most flattering."
By the end of the '60s, the members of the Animals had gone their separate ways as Burdon settled in Los Angeles. He found a new musical outlet joining with the funk band Night Shift, which changed its name to War and recorded the classic hit "Spill the Wine."
Burdon's broad artist palette includes acting, and the singer has appeared in a number of films, including The Doors, Comeback, Gibbi West Germany, Snow Fall on New Year's Eve, and the TV movie The Eleventh Victim, as well as the TV series China Beach.
He said he enjoys the different challenge that acting presents in comparison to singing in a rock band.
"Acting requires a lot more rehearsing, studying, and waiting around," Burdon said. "With acting there is also a long time before you get the reaction on your work. On the other hand, performing live gives you an instant gratification. People either like you or they don't."
Burdon also is a painter and has written two autobiographies, I Used To Be an Animal, But I'm All Right Now, and Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood.
His latest CD was titled "Soul of a Man," which came out last year, and he is working on an unspecified studio project.
Eric Burdon and the Animals will be in concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Valentine Theatre, 400 North Superior St. Tickets are $27, $37, and $43 from the box office, 419-242-2787.
Contact David Yonke at: firstname.lastname@example.org