Animals – San Franciscan Nights

I bought this song on a single along with Sky Pilot when I was getting into the Animals as a pre-teen.  This was not the same Animals of House of the Rising Sun and others…everyone but Eric Burdon and drummer Barry Jenkins had been replaced.

In this song Eric welcomes you to the Summer of Love in 1967 San Francisco. This new version of the Animals they were losing traction in Europe and at the spoken word beginning of this song Burdon welcomes the Europeans over to San Francisco. The song was popular and also an anti Vietnam song.

The song peaked at #1 in Canada, #9 in the Billboard 100, and #7 in the UK in 1967.

Many people complained that San Francisco is not that warm at night or any other time. Burdon and his group had recently played in San Francisco during a rare 10-day stretch of exceptionally warm spring weather, which left a strong impression.

At a concert Burdon has said the song was written about an evening with Janis Joplin in San Francisco.

 Eric Burdon: “Britain is not as aware of what we are trying to communicate as the Americans. The whole world still needs a kick up the pants – the Americans are one move ahead. The record company was afraid I would offend England if I released ‘San Franciscan Nights’. They thought I had offered enough insults to England.”

From Songfacts

1967 was the year of the “Summer of Love,” and San Francisco was a hot spot for Hippies. Along with “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair),” “San Franciscan Nights” was a popular ode to the city in those turbulent times.

The Animals were from England, but were welcomed in America along with other British Invasion groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. They wrote this song themselves, which takes a stand against the Vietnam War. Looking back on the song in our 2010 interview, Animals lead singer Eric Burdon said: “The ‘Love Generation’ helped the anti-war stance in the states. It certainly turned a lot of soldiers’ heads around, making them wonder why they had to be out fighting a war when back home their girlfriends were frolicking around and it caused a lot of anguish on that level. Maybe it helped politically with the so-called enemy. I’m not sure.”

San Franciscan Nights

This following program is dedicated to the city and people of
San Francisco, who may not know it but they are beautiful and so
Is their city this is a very personal song, so if the viewer
Cannot understand it particularly those of you who are European
Residents save up all your bread and fly trans love airways to
San Francisco U.S.A., then maybe you’ll understand the song, it
Will be worth it, if not for the sake of this song but for the
Sake of your own peace of mind.

Strobe lights beam create dreams
Walls move minds do too
On a warm San Franciscan night
Old child young child feel alright
On a warm San Franciscan night
Angels sing leather wings
Jeans of blue Harley Davidsons too
On a warm San Franciscan night
Old angels young angels feel alright
On a warm San Franciscan night.

I wasn’t born there perhaps I’ll die there
There’s no place left to go, San Franciscan.

Cop’s face is filled with hate
Heavens above he’s on a street called love
When will they even learn
Old cop young cop feel alright
On a warm San Franciscan night
The children are cool
They don’t raise fools
It’s an American dream
Includes indians too.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

26 thoughts on “Animals – San Franciscan Nights”

  1. The Eggman… I liked this work with The Animals and War- The Animals Retrospective CD I have is a favorite- I am afraid I don’t have any of the individual albums though. This is a great song- whatever the weather in SF is like.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a good song but I do prefer the outright batshitcraziness of Sky Pilot, especially when the bagpipes kick in! ‘The Black-Man’s Burdon’ is a great album too, with a very Marmite version of the Stones’ Paint It Black!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And coming from Burdon…you expect something a little more tough…but I like it. I bought this single when I was 11 I think…heard it on a radio show.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice to learn the back story on the song. It’s the first time I looked at the lyrics. I love Burdon’s voice no matter what he’s singing. Now that you mentioned Sky Pilot I need to go to youtube and listen to it as it is also very groovy. I wonder why the song would be considered offensive to Brits? The “Indians too” lyric?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a good question. His past comments? “They thought I had offered enough insults to England.”
      I’ve googled it a little trying to find out… Eric’s voice is a little rougher sound than “Be sure to wear flowers in your hair”
      My single I bought had both songs…they go together well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember this fondly from when it was a hit in 1967 (I was 13). I also found it curious that they sang about warm nights in San Francisco, as the weather can often be quite chilly, though once the winds die down in the evening, it’s not really all that cold. I loved the Animals, and this is one of my favorites of theirs, along with “House of the Rising Sun”, “Sky Pilot”, “It’s My Life” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”.


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