One thing I know is true

Francis W. Porretto went to a whole lot of trouble to type the lyrics to the Animals’ seminal 1965 recording “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” about which he says:

Pure Sixties’ English working-class resentment of the English working-class lot, topped with a fantasy that there‚Äôs an escape somewhere, if only dyin’ old Daddy and his resentful proletarian son could recognize it and grasp it. But there wasn’t then … and there isn’t now, here or there, as the Powers That Be have contrived to ensure.

Sums it up nicely, though I am compelled to point out that this song was written by a couple of Yanks in the Brill Building: Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. (They also knocked out another FWP favorite: “Shape of Things to Come,” by “Max Frost and the Troopers,” from the film Wild in the Streets.)

And really, it doesn’t matter, because FWP was listening to the original British release, not the one we got in the States that hit #13 in Billboard. And I know this because the two vocal takes by Eric Burdon are substantially different. Allen Klein, who ended up with the rights to the Animals’ Columbia and Decca material (on MGM in the US), decreed that the UK take would henceforth be the Official Version. Complaints from this side of the pond were loud and got louder; Klein relented and allowed the American version to appear on a compilation CD. However, most of the “US versions” on YouTube, including some supplied by Universal Music Group, which distributes Klein’s ABKCO label, are in fact the British take. This is guaranteed to be, as of this writing, the US release:

Still, no one does Angry Young Geordie quite the way Eric Burdon did. The opening to John Patrick Shanley’s Joe Versus the Volcano features Burdon doing a song of similar intent: Merle Travis’ “Sixteen Tons,” made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford.


  1. Roger O Green »

    3 October 2017 · 11:15 am

    Wow. I’m not sure I’ve EVER heard that vocal. It surely isn’t on the CD or vinyl I own.

  2. CGHill »

    3 October 2017 · 11:43 am

    Whereas it’s the only version I own (both vinyl and that one rogue CD).

    Still easier to get than the US version of Gerry and the Pacemakers’ cover of Bobby Darin’s “I’ll Be There.”

  3. Holly H »

    3 October 2017 · 12:22 pm

    Thanks so much! Now I’m going to watch Joe vs the Volcano, ASAP. Don’t know how I missed it. Ah, yes I do. I watched the first morose scenes, when I was a callow youth, and dismissed it as “boring and depressing”.

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