Eric Burdon and the Animals: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — July 12, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

513) Eric Burdon and the Animals — “Year of the Guru”

This crazy, and crazy-cool, album track from ‘68 is totally unexpected and seems decades ahead of its time. One YouTube commenter says it was the first rap song. Man, does Eric dis gurus — laugh out loud funny. It’s like John Lennon was giving him the blow-by-blow from Rishikesh. Sexy Sadie what have you done? You made a fool of everyone!

Bruce Eder:

Eric Burdon & the Animals were nearing the end of their string, at least in the lineup in which they’d come into the world in late 1966, when they recorded Every One of Us in May of 1968 . . . . The group had seen some success, especially in America, with the singles “When I Was Young,” “San Franciscan Nights” and “Sky Pilot” over the previous 18 months, but had done considerably less well with their albums. Every One of Us lacked a hit single to help drive its sales, but it was still a good psychedelic blues album, filled with excellent musicianship . . . . “Year of the Guru” . . . show[s] the entire band at the peak of their musical prowess, and Burdon — taking on virtually the role of a modern rapper — generating some real power on some surprisingly cynical lyrics concerning the search for spiritual fulfillment and leaders. . . . the group as a whole would pack it in with the waning of 1968.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/every-one-of-us-mw0000654427

Nick James says that “‘Year Of The Guru‘ . . . [has] prose worthy of a master . . . further social commentary is provided, complete with psychedelic guitar and piano break.” (https://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2020/02/25/eric-burdon-the-animals-when-i-was-young-the-mgm-recordings-1967-1968-esoteric-recordings/)

In the other hand, Jeff Burger says that Every One of Us . . . is [a] most forgettable CD . . . Qwith songs like “Year of the Guru[]” . . . sounding like filler from a group that has run out of ideas.” (https://americanahighways.org/2020/03/29/review-the-animals-second-act-plus-a-new-gordon-lightfoot-cd/amp/). Burger, your comment is a nothingburger!

“My leader told me to jump in the river. The river was deep and the weather was winter.
After a sailor very kindly saved me, my leader said to me, ‘Man, you’d better take it easy.’ I took it so easy my leader called me lazy. Through the lack of red meat everything was getting hazy. Friends looked at me and said, ‘Man, you gotta be crazy.’ [chorus: ‘Ooh leader. Ooh leader.’] My leader said ‘Son, you’d better get yourself together.” Never mind the fools who know what we’re getting into. A 40 mile walk would do us both a world of good. He sat down, watched me take off down the road. Well, I walked so far my feet began to bleed. This was good for me. I just couldn’t see it. A motorist picked me up and said, ‘Look man, you must be crazy.’ [chorus: ‘Ooh leader. Ooh leader.’] My leader came to see me in a hospital bed. Well, at least I really knew that my leader really cared. After giving me a second-hand roach, he said ‘Where’s your donation man? It’s all for a good cause.’ He left me all alone to work the riddle out. But I just couldn’t make it so I began to shout. They stuck a hypodermic deep down into me, said ‘Look out nurse! I think we got a loony.’ [chorus: ‘Ooh leader. Ooh leader.’] Okay baby, follow me now. Follow your leader. Alright. Now here I sit in a state-run asylum. Limitless, friendless but much more together. I decided to do some good book reading about the art of people leading. Now, I’m the leader and they’re being led. What’s the matter if they’re crazy ’til you hear what I’ve said. Being the leader is really where it’s at. But just how long can a good thing last? [chorus: ‘Ooh leader. Ooh leader.’] Now listen to this baby. This is the year of the guru. Now the thing to do is to ask yourself ‘What can a guru do for me?’ Then you say to yourself, ‘I gotta get a guru. I gotta get a guru. I gotta get a guru. A guru, guru, guru, a good guru, a good guru, a good guru, a guru, a guru, a guru, a guru, a guru, a guru, a guru, a guru, a guru, I gotta get a guru. . . .’”

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