Animals – Inside Looking Out

The Animals were so raw sounding and that had a lot to do with Eric Burdon singing. his voice conveyed emotion with the best of them. They excelled in grit and this song is no different. I like the interplay between the guitar and organ a minute or so into the studio version.

The song wasn’t a giant hit but it did have a great sound. It showed that the Stones and The Who had nothing on the Animals as far as a dark gritty sound. After 1966 the band would break up except for Eric Burdon. He would recruit more musicians and continue on as the Animals (sometimes Eric Burdon and The Animals) with a harder edge until 1968. He would then go and join WAR who would go on to produce Spill The Wine together.

In 1966 The Animals changed labels to Decca and started writing their own material. This song was one of their most adventurous, with every bar in the same minor chord. The song peaked at #34 on the Billboard 100, #21 in Canada, and #12 in the UK in 1966. The songwriting is credited to John Lomax, Alan Lomax, Eric Burdon, and bass player Chas Chandler.

The song itself is loosely based on a song called Rosie which was an American Prison Work Song. In the 1920s and 30s prison camps had inmates who used to work for 12-15 hours a day chopping trees, cutting cane, and shoveling gravel.  To help them pass the time and get through the day, they would make up songs.

Eric Burdon: “It’s the first number we’ve recorded without a tune. It originates from a Mississippi prison song, the kind of blues we’ve always wanted to do.”

Inside-Looking Out

Sittin’ here lonely like a broken man
Sell my time and do the best I can
I wasn’t boss this around in me
But I don’t want your sympathy, yeah
Oh baby, oh baby, I just need your tender lovin’
To keep me sane in this burnin’ oven
When my time is up, be my reaper
Like Adam’s work on God’s green earth
My reaper, my reaper baby, yeah me is my reaper, yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby baby baby c’mon c’mon c’mon, yeah

Ice cold waters runnin’ in my brain
And they drag me back to work again
Pains and blisters on my minds and my hands
From living daily with those canvas bags
Thoughts of freedom their drivin’ me wild
And I’ll by happy like a new born child
We’ll be together, girl, you wait and see
No more walls to keep your love from me

Yeah, can’t you feel my love
Baby, baby, need you, squeeze you,
Nobody but, nobody but, you girl, I love you, need you
All right

I said everything’s gonna be all right
And if you don’t believe what I say
Just listen baby and I’ll tell you
Can’t you feel my love
Can’t you see my skill
Can’t you yell my love
It’s getting louder
It’s getting louder
A little closer, yeah

I said baby, I need you, c’mon, squeeze, please
Lord, I love you, I need you, yeah
Yeah, right by my side
I need you here by my side
But I can’t help it baby
But I’ll be home soon
I’ll be home soon, yeah
All right


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

20 thoughts on “Animals – Inside Looking Out”

  1. I like the song better now that I’ve seen the video. I never disiked it or anything but it probably just makes a difference that I could see him actually singing it. I think you’re right, and sometimes he was even better than those other guys you mentioned. He had like a good sense of drama that the other ones didn’t have. All their songs are like little dramas. I liked the Animals better when they started doing more rock songs and got away from these blues songs that they used to do early on. When they started doing things like It’s My Life and their other hits. I read something recently that said that House of the Rising Sun was actually the first folk rock record. But I never think of it that way even though it actually is an old English folk song where they kind of altered the lyrics over time. That’s not what I think of when I think of folk rock. To me it’s just a regular rock record. Ya know?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree when you call their songs dramas…he knew how to make his own dynamics with his voice and with the band.
      They turned House of the Rising Sun into a rock record no doubt. I think of some of Zeppelin’s songs…they may have started out as blues but they were rock when they were done with some of them.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Burdon has a great voice for rock, the kind of voice that was always going to influence a songs feel and direction. he made it rock folk as opposed to folk rock, if that makes sense? ‘Spill The Wine’ is one that works well with his all but spoken delivery.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah. That’s what I meant by dramas. Also on their other great ones like When I Was Young and We Gotta Get Out of this Place and It’s My Life, you’re picturing the characters and even the place and the setting and everything. It wouldn’t be that way with someone else singing them.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. True- Burdon, he takes ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ to a different place than Sam Cooke did, and that is not something any old vocalist could do. Cooke was usually in a different class but here the feel is more intense, more raw.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Yes it does. It took me a while to appreciate Spill The Wine but unlike many other spoken songs…I don’t get tired of that one because of him. He has a built in dynamic.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Those are some groovy matching herringbone suits with black turtlenecks. You know I’m a big time fan of Burden’s voice. First time hearing the song and like where it comes from and the story it tells. Those chain gangs had to be hell on earth. Hopefully those days are over for prisoners, but who knows! I see prisoners picking up litter on the highway so maybe it is still happening in other places…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Max, I love that tune – not sure I had heard it before. When Eric Burdon gets going, it just gives you the chills – he’s just a beast of a vocalist. As I’m sure you can imagine, I also love the frigging keyboard. And, dang it, when I see that Ricki I want one so bad! It’s an amazingly simple yet powerful tune.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could be wrong but it looks like a short neck like the neck that Lennon used. I played one before. A friend of mine borrowed it from someone just so I could play it. It takes some getting used to but it made my hands feel giant…..once I got used to it…it played great.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea….I may have told you but my guitar tech offered to sell me a Rick for 1800 that was previously played by Tom Petty…I loved Tom Petty but I just wanted the Rick…at the time which was a long time ago I couldn’t do it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow! This young guy, who is really talented, actually has a guitar previously owned by Tom Petty:

        I believe it was given to him by Tom’s wife. Based on what I read, Jake is a huge Tom Petty fan and 10 years ago or so he got to meet Tom and members of the Heartbreakers. Among others, he does Tom Petty tribute shows and also does fundraising for an animal charity supported by Mike Campbell.


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