Get this crazy baby off my head!


Alan Price


Alan Price - England My England - 1978 - Jet

If this album wasn't so overproduced the songs would sound much better. Alan Price is a British R&B/Rock&Roll legend, and this album contains many musical influences, including doo wop, steel, and French accordion cafe style music. Again, the album is typical of late '70' keyboard/synth overuse. If these songs were recorded in a less layered stripped down style sound, they would sound much better, as most of the songs are good tunes written by a great songwriter. The album was released in the US in 1979 on Jet records as "Lucky Day". Listen to Alan's great "Price Is Right" and "Between Today and Yesterday" albums. Search this blog for more Alan Price material.


1. England My England
2. This Ain't Your Lucky Day
3. Mama Don't Go Home
4. Groovy Times
5. Baby Of Mine
6. I Love You Too
7. Those Tender Lips
8. Citizens Of The World Unite
9. Help From You
10. Pity The Poor Boy

All songs composed by Alan Price except "This Ain't Your Lucky Day" by Mike Leslie & Billy Day


Alan Price (vocals, keyboards)
Jim Mullen (electric guitar)
Pete Kirtley (acoustic guitar)
John Gordon (bass)
Ian Byron (drums)
Tony Carr (percussion)
Don Weller (tenor saxophone)
Harold Beckett (trumpet)


Alan Price was born on April 19, 1942, in Fatfield, County Durham, Northeast England. Alan was a natural, though largely self-taught musician, who began playing the old family piano at the age of seven. By his early teens he had become quite accomplished on piano, organ, guitar and bass, so it was clear early on that he was exceptionally gifted. Initially inspired by the skiffle craze, which swept over England in the 1950s, he switched to rock and roll during his grammar school days, due to his fascination with the popular American artist, Jerry Lee Lewis. Shortly thereafter, he began experimenting with jazz and rhythm and blues. By the late 50s, word had gotten out that he was one of the most impressive young musicians in Newcastle-on-Tyne. Although the beat scene was vibrant in Newcastle, it wasn’t as large as the music scenes that were developing in other areas in Britain (such as Liverpool and London), and many of the young musicians would find their paths crossing repeatedly as they drifted in and out of the same groups. At one time or another, Price found himself playing alongside one or more of all his later Animals colleagues, in groups like The Pagans, The Kansas City Five, The Black Diamonds, and The Kontours. He eventually formed his own band in 1961, which he named The Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo. Initially the personnel was fairly fluid, but within 12 months they had established a settled lineup of Eric Burdon (vocals), Hilton Valentine (guitar), Chas Chandler (bass), John Steel (drums), and Price on keyboards. Burdon’s arrival in the band in 1962 seemed to be an important turning point. Although Price had formed the group predominantly as a jazz-flavored combo, Eric brought barnstorming R&B and a charismatic stage presence to the group as a counterpoint to Alan’s slick, jazzy arpeggios. They were soon on their way. Using Newcastle’s sweaty Downbeat Club as their home base, they soon built a sizable following, eventually moving to the more prestigious Club A-Go-Go (both clubs being owned by their manager, Mike Jeffrey [or Jeffries]). However, by all accounts, even at this early stage in the band’s life there were tensions between their original leader, the brooding Price, and the cocky, ‘new boy’ Burdon, who as their front man, always acted as though he was in charge. Having conquered Tyneside and the Northeast, they set about widening their horizons. Various touring musicians were returning to London, enthusing about this wild, new R&B group, and eventually promoters and agents started to take notice. Their big break came in December 1963, when Yardbirds’ manager, Giorgio Gomelsky, came up with the unusual idea of a ‘job exchange’ scheme, whereby The Alan Price R&B Combo and The Yardbirds would change places and play one another’s gigs. They established an easy rapport with London audiences and soon found that playing down South also gave them the opportunity of working with other, more experienced musicians (most notably Sonny Boy Williamson, with whom they would later record a highly-acclaimed live album at the Club A-Go-Go). In early 1964, they decided to move down to London permanently, armed with a 4-track demo EP, which they hoped would help them score regular bookings and a record deal. Along with the move to London in January 1964, the band’s name was changed to The Animals. Alan, naturally enough, put up a strong resistance and in the end was only ‘persuaded’ through the democratic process. [Webmaster's note: several stories have circulated over the years as to how the name change actually came about, but none of them are definitive.] Yet, according to Alan, the idea for the new name came about during their early residency at the Club A-Go-Go. One night between sets he overheard some fans saying “the animals are playing tonight,” not realizing they were referring to his band and their all-out wild way of performing their music. Anyone who was lucky enough to experience the raw, uninhibited live performances of The Animals, would most likely accept this story as fact. Their impact was immediate. Basing themselves at The Scene club in Soho, within weeks they were being hailed as the hottest group to come out of the North since The Beatles. Price’s masterfully creative organ playing, complemented by Valentine’s rhythmic guitar and Burdon’s raw, powerful vocals gave them a far earthier, bluesier sound than any of the beat groups of the day. In 1965, Alan described his playing style in Melody Maker: “I use a lot more chords than most organists and I’m careful to phrase them with the guitar. I tend to think of the organ as part of the rhythm section, rather than a frontline voice. The only time it dominates is during a solo, or when we play a low blues and I put figures in behind Eric’s vocals. There’s never any real problem fitting guitar and organ together.” Fledgling indie record producer Mickie Most came to see them at Eel Pie Island and promptly offered to record them. He set up a licensing deal with EMI and began ‘sweetening up’ their raw, raucous R&B for public consumption. The band themselves never cared for their debut single, a commercial arrangement of a traditional folk song off Bob Dylan’s first LP, nonetheless Baby Let Me Take You Home charted, boosted by a couple of memorable appearance on Ready, Steady, Go! But their second single put them on the map. Price’s hypnotic arrangement of the band's epic version of The House of the Rising Sun was released in June 1964 and went on to become a worldwide smash, topping both the UK and US charts. Selling several millions copies, the record propelled the group to undreamed-of success. The Animals became the first British group after The Beatles to chart a Number One single in America. I’m Crying (written by Price and Burdon on the fly), Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, and Bring It On Home To Me followed in short order, and by the spring of 1965 they were established as one of the biggest, most popular R&B bands in the world. The Animals released only three albums (The Animals, The Animals On Tour, and Animal Tracks) during their 1964-65 heyday. [Webmaster’s Note: The Best Of The Animals was issued in February 1966, as the group was disbanding. This hit-filled collection was one of the stronger LPs of its time: it reached No. 6 and stayed on the charts for over two years.]However, by this time the stress of the group’s whirlwind success had brought Alan Price to the breaking point. A complex, moody character, prone to prolonged bouts of bleak introversion, he’d always somehow been slightly estranged from his colleagues. Although he shared the same no-nonsense working class roots and a fondness for drink, he wasn’t gregarious by nature and this caused ongoing problems within the group’s dynamic. His musical tastes were more sophisticated and altogether jazzier than those of his band members (with the exception of drummer Steel), and he’d long felt that his musical contributions to The Animals had never fully been appreciated. Having achieved a higher level of education, he had interests he couldn’t share with the others. This was often reflected in the use of leisure time, when Alan could be found sitting in the tour van reading Kafka, while the rest of the boys were out chatting up the birds. Alan Price publicly announced that he had left The Animals on May 5, 1965. The official line given for his abrupt departure was his fear of flying, which was (and still is) essentially true: tours of the US, Australia and the Far East had taken their toll on him. Alan’s physical and mental condition had deteriorated to the point of a collapse. He told the local press: “Let’s get this clear: there was no bad feeling between me and the others. My doctor had diagnosed exhaustion. He’d warned me I’d have a breakdown if I didn’t slacken the pace. I simply can’t stand the pressures of the pop world anymore.” Despite reports to the contrary, Price insisted that he’d been trying to tell Mike Jeffrey of his intention to quit for several weeks, but had been ignored. On the morning before the group was to leave on a tour of Sweden, Alan walked out of his London apartment and boarded the train to Newcastle. Upon arriving back home at his mother’s house, he fell into bed and slept for 36 hours. Although nervous exhaustion and his phobic dislike of flying were most certainly cause enough to leave the group, there were other, more deep-seated issues, as he told BBC Radio London’s Stuart Colman in a 1982 ‘Echoes’ interview: “The Animal’s were originally my band, the Alan Price Rhythm & Blues Combo. Then, when we decided to give it the big try and we came down to London, we made it a co-operative, a democracy, because everyone was taking an equal risk. I played a Wurlitzer electric piano, which was one of the very few in the country at the time. I’d only had it 10 days, when after a gig, the roadie left it on stage and it was stolen. Being that we were now a co-operative group, I asked the guys to chip in so we could get a new one. They refused. The moment I wrote out the check for the new Wurlitzer was the moment I realized I would leave The Animals.” Despite the loss of their founding member, The Animals duly jetted off to Stockholm with Micky Gallagher (an inexperienced 18-year-old Geordie) as their new keyboardist. They would eventually take on Dave Rowberry, from the Mike Cotton Sound, as the permanent replacement, and Alan Price would remain in Tyneside. When Alan awoke from his 36-hour slumber, he seemed very much at loose ends. Now, back where he started, he was adrift in a sea of misunderstanding about the decision he had made. His fellow Geordies and the world-at-large were equally astonished as to how he could walk away from the fame and fortune that was raining down upon The Animals at the height of their worldwide success. Alan spent some time hanging out with Bob Dylan during the ground-breaking Don’t Look Back UK tour, which was being filmed as a documentary by D.A. Pennebaker. This brief interlude in Price’s life has been greatly exaggerated over the years, with numerous references to his ‘heavy drinking’ and ‘odd behavior’ that was caught on camera. The truth is, he wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary in regard to backstage partying (for the times), but he was the only one captured doing it. [Webmaster’s note: For example, The Beatles were forewarned about the cameras and were, therefore, never filmed when hanging out with Dylan.] The emotionally fragile condition Alan was in during this time must also be taken into consideration. Aside from the Dylan jaunt, Price did very little initially. He later explained to Stuart Coleman: “I went into hibernation when I left The Animals. I had a bit of a drink problem...it was like a semi-breakdown. Except in Newcastle, you don’t have breakdowns. You get drunk a lot and play football with your mates.” At the time, in an interview given to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, he suggested that he might give music up completely. “I just want to get a job as a rep or something...” he said. But he eventually recovered sufficiently to put together a new band, The Alan Price Combo, using local musicians he knew back in the pre-Animals days: including Nigel Stanger (tenor sax), John Walters (trumpet), and Cliff Barton (bass). He began playing the Club A-Go-Go a couple of times a week, although he insisted to the local press that he was going to keep it all very low-key and he had no intention of going after the ‘big time’ again: all he wanted to do was enjoy his music and make a living. Eventually, arranger Ivor Raymonde helped Alan snap out of it, booking him to play keyboards sessions (e.g. Dusty Springfield’s Middle of Nowhere) and finally persuading him to give it another go. Price moved back down to London, played on several more sessions, rediscovered his old enthusiasm, and gradually assembled a new band. Their lineup comprised Price (vocals/keyboards), Clive Burrows and Steve Gregory (saxes), John Walters (trumpet), Pete Kirtley (guitar), Rod ‘Boots’ Slade (bass), and ‘Little’ Roy Mills (drums). Although their early press releases suggested that Price’s new group would be a jazzy, strictly non-commercial outfit, their recorded endeavors soon proved otherwise. Signing with Decca Records and working in tandem with arranger Ivor Raymonde, Price proceeded to unleash a truly remarkable body of work. The Alan Price Set subsequently debuted in September 1965 with a punchy revival of the old Chuck Jackson US R&B hit Any Day Now. Although it failed to chart (the reviews generally categorized it as either ‘too good’ or ‘too classy’ for the Hit Parade), it was a magnificent start. Not only did it serve to remind people of what a great musician Alan Price was, it introduced his smoky, bluesy voice to the general public for the first time. Oddly enough, material proved to be something of a problem initially. The Set’s live ‘set’ comprised mainly contemporary Soul and R&B numbers with the occasional Ray Charles oldie thrown in for good measure (a combination that would eventually provide the formula for Price’s first LP, The Price To Play). Six months would pass before their next single, but when it came, Price’s compelling yet highly-commercial arrangement of Screaming Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You, certainly put the Alan Price Set on the map. Revered to this day as one of the finest British blues recordings ever made, it has remained a highly-requested number by Alan Price fans the world over. Some reviewers commented on its similarity to The House Of The Rising Sun, and it charted shortly after its release, eventually climbing to No. 9. It even dented the US Top 100, where it was the first release on the US London label’s new Parrot subsidiary, peaking at No. 80. Alan told Dawn Eden in a December 1995 interview for Goldmine: “I made the record the night after my mother died. My mother died on New Year's Eve, in Newcastle, and I had go onstage afterwards. We traveled down to London immediately after the funeral. So I think some of the emotions sort of transmuted themselves onto the record, and I feel that's why it was a success.” In regard to the selection of the song, Price explained the decision to Record Mirror’s Richard Greene: “I was fed up with people looking around for ‘commercial’ sounds for me month after month, and I decided to do I Put A Spell On You. We’d been doing it on stage for some time and it had been going down well.” Ironically, Price had recorded it just days after The Animals had also cut a version to be included on their next LP, Animalisms. Price’s version was co-produced with Mike Jeffrey at Kingsway Studio in High Holborn. Said Alan: “It must have been the cheapest hit record to product, ever. It only cost £16. We did it on stage, went into the studio and recorded it, and after I listened to the playback, I just wanted the horns changed a bit, so they came back in, did it again, and it was finished.” Hot on its heels came a romping revival of the old show tune, Hi Lili Hi Lo, which also made the UK Top 20, peaking at No. 11 that summer. However, his next single, Willow Weep For Me didn’t fare quite as well. In terms of chart action, 1967 would prove to be Price’s peak year. He registered his two biggest hits to date with Randy Newman’s Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear (which reached No. 4 in April) and his own satirical composition The House That Jack Built (which also reached No. 4 in August). He also got rave reviews for his second album, A Price On His Head, a set of songs which concentrated on contemporary songwriters like Dylan and the aforementioned Newman. Price was one of the first musicians to take Newman’s songs to a wider audience, and he told Goldmine in 1995: “I was writing songs when I was an amateur, but it wasn't until I discovered Randy Newman that I felt confident enough to write personal songs.” By now Alan’s own style had changed radically and he was playing piano almost exclusively, having dropped the organ some months earlier. He told NME’s Keith Altham: “I hate all these electronic effects, perhaps that’s why I’ve taken to the piano again. I have an aversion to the concept of music being made by someone rolling a little ball down a chute, which hits a piece of wood, which rings a bell! Music to me is the communication of human emotions through the interpretation of the musician, and if you turn it over to the machines, then the feeling disappears.” In regard to The House That Jack Built, Alan said: “It was really a question of ‘now or never.’ I was very tempted to record another one of those great Randy Newman compositions, but there is so much more satisfaction in creating something of your own...not to mention the royalties! The idea for the melody was in my head for a long while, but I couldn’t think of a lyric. I finally decided to make the lyric as ridiculous as possible. It’s really just nonsense poetry about all the daft things that people do.” The Alan Price Set underwent its first personnel change in the spring of 1967, when Terry Childs replaced Clive Burrows on baritone sax. Around that time, Price made an attempt at drumming up media exposure for the rest of the band, but the truth was he was too strong a front man and this didn’t allow for much attention to be put on what continued to be his backing band. The following year, the calypso-style revival of Sonny Rollins’ Don’t Stop The Carnival made it to No. 13. After a couple more singles, Price had once again succumbed to the stress of constant work, and decided he was tired of fronting a band. He hoped to strike out in a new direction as a solo artist, so he handed the reins of the Set over to Paul Williams, the guitarist who had been sharing vocal duties with him. As he told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle: “I think I’ve proved my point about the group...they’re one of the best there is. But someone else can take on the monster for a while.” Without Alan Price, however, they were lost and the band dissolved after just one single. In December 1968, The Animals reunited for a one-off charity gig at the Newcastle City Hall. By now, Price cut a slightly odd figure in comparison to his former band members: Burdon and Valentine showed up wearing ponchos in the grand hippie style of the day; Chandler and Steel were dressed in jeans and casual shirts; while Alan chose to wear a suit...ever his own man, not prone to following the fleeting style of the times. This summed up where Alan Price was at: sufficiently established and both confident and comfortable enough that he didn’t need to try and stay ‘hip.’ By now he had proven that his popularity and reputation was such that he didn’t have to be endlessly chasing hit singles. He was determined to make the kind of music that best expressed his varied interests and multi-talents, not what the Hit Parade might dictate as the fad of the day. He moved to Decca’s Deram subsidiary for his first solo release, an engaging revival of an old Geordie song, Trimdon Grange Explosion, which gave an indication of the musical direction he would take in the early 70s. He returned to Decca for the self-penned Sunshine And Rain, completing his contractual obligations. He then began a partnership with fellow-blues keyboardist and old chum, Georgie Fame, which gave birth to a hit single, Rosetta (which reached No. 11 in 1971), a highly-rated album (Price And Fame Together), their own television series (The Price Of Fame), and regular appearances on many others. It was during one of the duo’s road tours that Malcolm MacDowell and Lindsay Anderson approached Alan about composing the music for the legendary cult film, O Lucky Man (in which he also appeared as himself). The phenomenal success of this project earned Price a BAFTA award, an Oscar nomination, and yielded his first US chart album. From then on, any commercial successes that Alan enjoyed tended to be spun off of more generally ‘serious’ projects. Following his amicable split with Fame, he branched out into writing scores for musicals, collaborating with Lindsay Anderson on Home (prior to O Lucky Man), followed by his own The Brass Band Man. In the early 70s, he had his own early evening TV show, A Price To Play, a connection which led to his involvement in writing television commercials and jingles, and composing the theme music for TV shows, such as Fame Is The Spur, World’s End, and The Further Adventures Of Lucky Jim. By now his own recordings were becoming increasingly introspective, and his next major project was the largely autobiographical Between Today And Yesterday. Feted as his finest work, it gave Alan his first UK chart album, reaching No. 9. The album included the massive hit single, Jarrow Song, which reached No. 6 in 1974. It also spawned an in-depth TV documentary. In 1975, his follow-up LP was entitled Metropolitan Man, and it included some stellar songwriting on Fools Gold, Nobody Can and The Drinker’s Curse. Taking a further leap into acting, he starred in the film Alfie Darling (released as Oh, Alfie in the US), winning the Most Promising New British Actor award. (Price also wrote the music for the film.) He documented some of his best solo work to date in a live concert, which was released as a double live LP, Performing Price, and as a television special. That same year, a brief reunion of The Animals included a new album, Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted, which made the Top 100 in the US. This journey back to the studio for the original group yielded a fine collection of solid performances, with the arrangements as tight and flawless (and enjoyable) as their earlier recordings. Encountering many of the same problems they had experienced in the 60s, the band members again soon went their separate ways. Price moved to Jet Records in 1977 and recorded a series of successful albums throughout the rest of the decade, including Alan Price (1977) and England My England (1978). Two hit singles from the above LPs, Just For You and Baby Of Mine, respectively, did well on the UK singles charts. In 1980, he crossed the big pond to record an unusual album in Los Angeles: entitled Rising Sun, it included a reworking of the song The House Of The Rising Sun, which picked up quite a bit of air play in the UK. In 1981, he recorded a memorable live album, A Rock And Roll Night At The Royal Court, on his own label, Key Records. Other LPs from the 80s included Geordie Roots & Branches (1983) and Travelling Man (1986), which were both well-received. During the 80s, Price had gotten back to composing musicals once again, writing and appearing in Andy Capp and Who’s A Lucky Boy? He also continued writing for movies with scores for Britannia Hospital and The Plague Dogs. Price had a big hand in the organization of the third Animals reunion in 1983, which brought forth a world-wide tour and two albums, Ark and Rip It To Shreds: The Animals Greatest Hits Live, both of which made the US charts. Again, the group disbanded due to irreconcilable differences. In 1989, Alan released Liberty, a new album of self-penned songs which focused on the state of the troubled world he saw around him. In the 90s, he teamed up with two old friends, Zoot Money and Bobby Tench to form Alan Price and the Electric Blues Company. The band toured extensively and recorded a fine album, A Gigster’s Life For Me, which was released in 1993. On January 19, 1994, The Animals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Alan Price made the flight to New York City with his fellow band members to receive the prestigious award. The turn of the (new) century found Price still hard at work, performing his well-received show 'An Evening with Alan Price' around the UK. An excellent compilation and overview of his life work, entitled Geordie Boy, was issued on CD in 2001. And in 2002, he released a self-produced CD, Based On A True Story, which showcased a group of new songs as original, personal and emotionally touching as the ones he had written for O Lucky Man and Between Today And Yesterday almost 30 years earlier. Now in his early sixties, Price continues to write, record, and perform regularly throughout Europe. Today he is readily acknowledged as one of the most talented and enduring musical artists to have emerged from the 1960s British Beat Boom. http://alanprice.absoluteelsewhere.net/biography.html NOTE: This biography is a work in progress. Over the days and weeks ahead, I will be updating information to fill in any gaps that exist and adding illustrations where applicable. ~ The Webmaster