The Best of The Animals was The Animals' first greatest hits collection. It was released in February 1966 in the United States, but never put out in the United Kingdom (where a similar album, The Most of Animals, was also released in 1966). The album showcased The Animals' tough-edged pop hits combined with their more devoted blues and R&B workouts.
This was the first Animals album to feature new keyboardist Dave Rowberry in its photographs. Liner notes by Record Beat's June Harris extolled the musical and culture virtues of the group and emphasized how close she was to the group. However, overall copyediting was poor and four of the members' names were misspelled.
The album was a great commercial success in the U.S., peaking at number 6 on the Billboard 200, the highest such mark of their career, and remaining on the chart for over two years. By July 1966 it had been certified as a gold record, their only album ever to attain that status.
In his 1979 volume Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island, famed rock critic Greil Marcus selected The Best of The Animals for inclusion on same, writing: "This was trash R&B from Newcastle, England, and especially when the focus shifted from American blues to savage pleas for release from working-class slums, more powerful than it had any right to be." In 1997, Rolling Stone magazine placed The Best of The Animals into the 1960s section of its Rolling Stone 200: The Essential Rock Collection list.
Other compilation albums by the same name (and sometimes even the same cover) but different contents would appear in later decades.
The Animals were an English rock band of the 1960s formed in Newcastle upon Tyne during the early part of the decade, and later relocated to London. The Animals were known for their gritty, bluesy sound and deep-voiced frontman Eric Burdon, as exemplified by their number one signature song "The House of the Rising Sun" as well as by hits such as "We Gotta Get out of This Place", "It's My Life", and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". The band balanced tough, rock-edged pop singles against rhythm and blues-oriented album material. They were known in the U.S. as part of the British Invasion.
The Animals underwent numerous personnel changes in the mid-1960s and suffered from poor business management. Under the name Eric Burdon and the Animals, they moved to California and achieved commercial success as a psychedelic rock band, before disbanding at the end of the decade. Altogether, the group had ten Top Twenty hits in both the UK Singles Chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
The original lineup had brief comebacks in 1975 and 1983. There have been several partial regroupings of the original era members since then under various names. The Animals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
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