Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Coffeehouse: Eric Burdon & The Animals

Today’s Coffeehouse features the 60s rock group, The Animalsor, more specially, Eric Burdon & The Animals.

I entered college in 1964 listening to The Animals. Their music seemed to reflect much of what was going on in my life during my college years.

One of their songs was too long to be heared on most radio stations (or perhaps its theme was too sensitive). But when I purchased the album and heard—and understood the words—of the song, Sky Pilot, I was mesmerized. In case you are too young to have heard it, Sky Pilot is about a military chaplain. 

Back in 1968, when the song was released, I was in a quandary: I was to be commissioned a U.S. Army officer in Armor branch upon graduation from college, yet I also felt the call to ordained ministry. I believe now that Sky Pilot convinced me to accept the combat arms (Armor) commission and postpone entering seminary and ordained ministry until later in my life.

I have saved Sky Pilot, because of its length, for the final song of this coffeehouse. I have also included the lyrics.

Now, on with Eric Burdon & the Animals:

San Franciscan Nights

The House of the Rising Sun 

We Gotta Get Out of this Place

Don’t Bring Me Down

When I Was Young



Sky Pilot

Sky Pilot


He blesses the boys as they stand in line
The smell of gun grease and the bayonets they shine
He's there to help them all that he can
To make them feel wanted he's a good holy man
Sky pilot
How high can you fly
You'll never, never, never reach the sky

He smiles at the young soldiers
Tells them its all right
He knows of their fear in the forthcoming fight
Soon there'll be blood and many will die
Mothers and fathers back home they will cry
Sky pilot
How high can you fly
You'll never, never, never reach the sky

He mumbles a prayer and it ends with a smile
The order is given
They move down the line
But he's still behind and he'll meditate
But it won't stop the bleeding or ease the hate
As the young men move out into the battle zone
He feels good, with God you're never alone
He feels tired and he lays on his bed
Hopes the men will find courage in the words that he said
Sky Pilot
How high can you fly

You'll never, never, never reach the sky
You're soldiers of God you must understand
The fate of your country is in your young hands
May God give you strength
Do your job real well
If it all was worth it
Only time it will tell

In the morning they return
With tears in their eyes
The stench of death drifts up to the skies
A soldier so ill looks at the sky pilot
Remembers the words
"Thou shalt not kill"
Sky pilot
How high can you fly
You never, never, never reach the sky

In case anyone is interested, all of the audios I post are from my own CDs.


Be cool, man. Have another cuppa joe. Click below and just listen.

Previous Coffeehouses featured:

Leonard Cohen

Bob Gibson & Bob Camp

The Kingston Trio

Carmen McRae, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Steve Allen, Dave Brubeck, Del Close & John Brent

Judy Collins & Arlo Guthrie

Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel

Theolonious Monk & Lenny Bruce

Carly Simon

Summer of Love (1967)

Holly Near & Ronnie Gilbert

The Kingston Trio Returns

Miles Davis & Jack Kerouac

The Satire of the Mitchell Trio

John Denver

Songs of Justice & Freedom



  1. Ah The Animals!!! Alan Price WAS a founding member of The Animals but left to form his own group ...The Alan Price Set.

    I just loved his singing, his Geordie acent and his sense of humour. I saw him first in 1966 and have seen him about 4 times in concerts since then.... he did some great Randy Newman covers. (From Wikipedia "His second album, A Price On His Head in 1967 features seven songs by Randy Newman who was virtually unknown at that time")

    Thanks for bringing back the memories!

  2. All great songs, Nick! Thanks!

    I never got to see Eric Burdon live until he was with War. I wish that I could have seen him in the late 60s.

    Amazing how music can affect our lives, huh? Maybe you would have taken a different path if you would have just listened to your mother's music! ;-)

  3. great selectons for the coffehouse.thanks for sharing them.

  4. Sorry you've been feeling ill again recently my friend. Great songs as usual!

  5. ya got me feelin' nostalgic. eric burdon was a very talented man. a true artist.

    as soon as i saw the title, i was hearing that song. it was one of my favorites, and i always associate it with nam, and my friends - those who volunteered, and those who were conscripted.

  6. another fantastic selection of tunes Nick! I've been unplugged for the last couple of weeks and am still trying to catch up! TFS these!

  7. I loved Eric Burdon and the animals. I wonder why they never got together for a reunion.

    great memories, thanks...

  8. Another fine coffee house, Rev. Saint!

  9. House Of The Risung Sun - Oh, yes ... and the wonderful John Denver whose soulful voice never fails to reduce me to tears.

  10. I was 3 when you entered college, but I know a few of The Animals' songs. I've always liked "We've Got to Get Out of This Place." In fact, when Kev and I worked for the same company, it was always our theme song at lunch-time!