Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

This song peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100 and #3 in the UK in 1965. The Animals were a tough Rhythm and Blues band formed in Newcastle upon Tyne. Burdon’s voice drives this Animals song.

This song was written by Horace Ott, Bennie Benjamin, and Sol Marcus. Benjamin and Marcus were a songwriting team that had been working together since the 40s… their songs include “Lonely Man” by Elvis Presley and “Fabulous Character” by Sarah Vaughan.

Ott started writing the song after getting in a heated argument with Gloria Caldwell, whom he had recently married. Sitting down at the piano, he expressed in song how he was well-intentioned, but misunderstood by his wife – a sentiment many married men could relate to.

Gloria Caldwell is listed on the credit instead of Ott because of contractual issues. She learned to understand him: the couple stayed together.

The Animals were one of the British Invasion bands…One of the rawer and bluesy bands.

From Songfacts

Nina Simone was the first to record this song, releasing an orchestrated, downtempo rendition on her 1964 album Broadway-Blues-Ballads that nicked the US chart at #131. The best-known version is by The Animals, who reworked it into a rock song. Eric Burdon recalled in Rolling Stone magazine, “It was never considered pop material, but it somehow got passed on to us and we fell in love with it immediately.”

In our 2010 interview with Eric Burdon, he said: “I’ve really been misunderstood. By my mom, my dad, school teachers, a couple of the women that I married. I’ve been misunderstood all of my life.”

In 2013, Eric Burdon recorded a new version of this song with Jenny Lewis for the HBO TV series True Blood. “When I was asked to record a new version of ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ for the new season with Jenny Lewis, I had to bite,” Burdon said of recording the song for the vampire drama. The song was included on Volume 4 of the show’s soundtrack.

Other well-known versions include covers by:

Joe Cocker, who covered this on his 1969 debut album, With a Little Help from My Friends. His version was played over the ending credits of the 2004 film Layer Cake.

Disco group Santa Esmeralda’s 1977 dance version, which incorporated flamenco, salsa, and other Latin rhythm and ornamentation elements. Released as a single it reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s instrumental passage was later used by Quentin Tarantino during the duel between The Bride and O-Ren Ishii in his 2003 movie Kill Bill: Volume 1

Lana Del Rey, who covered this for her 2015 Honeymoon album. Her version is in the vein of Nina Simone’s jazz original but also uses The Animals organ sound. Del Rey had previous covered another Nina Simone song “The Other Woman” for her Ultraviolence album. The “Video Games” singer told NME she is drawn to Simone’s “melodies and words.” “Personality-wise we’re quite different,” she added. “We may have had some of the same issues, but I picked that song simply because it resonated with me.”

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But don’t you know that no one alive can always be an angel
When things go wrong I feel real bad.

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

Baby, sometimes I’m so carefree
With a joy that’s hard to hide
And sometimes it seems that, all I have to do is worry
And then you’re bound to see my other side

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

If I seem edgy, I want you to know,
That I never mean to take it out on you
Life has its problems, and I get my share,
And that’s one thing I never mean to do

Cause I love you,

Oh, oh, oh, baby – don’t you know I’m human
I have thoughts like any other one
Sometimes I find myself, Lord, regretting
Some foolish thing, some little simple thing I’ve done

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
Yes, I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
Yes, I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

Yes, I’m just a soul whose intentions are good

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

  1. Burdon and the Animals had a truly unique sound. Raw and tough for sure. Their sound was intimidating to me as a kid; until I got older. My impression is, Eric was quite an influential force in British music behind the scenes back then, too. This song was easy to like.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. While reading about the bands of the sixties…he was running through all of the stories. Either in a studio or pub. Such a big voice coming out of him…the voice was so old even when he was in his twenties.


  2. Is it just me or is the singing in the chorus super flat?! Eric Burden carries this version like you say — lucky that too because the band is stiff as a board! Always preferred Elvis Costello’s version the best. Joe Cocker covered it well too. Great track

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think with them it’s the over all sound. …I think back then they would polish it to death with instruments. Polish any soul out of it. The only thing with soul that is left is Eric’s voice.

      I like those two also.


      1. The only one of the musicians to go on to play and be known more is I believe Alan Price the keyboard player…

        Chas Chandler the bass player ended up in management…of Jimi Hendrix


    1. That is a good question. To me they had a more aggressive tone than the Stones at that time…mostly because of Burden.
      Probably just another band…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well…its a good one. Can’t believe I forgot about it…it’s at the beginning of a big scene.
        The dialogs is what hooked me on his movies.


  3. Max, off-topic, if you want to be part of the new “All 56 Hours!” blog, will you give me your email address and you, I, and Hans can get a group email started. Hans and I have been emailing this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

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