ERIC BURDON: REBEL WITHOUT A PAUSE, by Philip J. Payne. Published by Newcastle Libraries, Tyne Bridge Publishing ( £7.99. Softback.

THIS is the behind-the-scenes story of Eric Burdon’s five decades in the music business, told by his friend of 60 years’ standing. It begins with their childhood in post-war Walker, their misspent youth and far-from-studious days together at Newcastle College of Art, leading up to the formation in the early 1960s of The Animals, with Eric performing alongside fellow Geordies John Steel, Chas Chandler, Alan Price and Hilton Valentine.

After a colourful musical career and rebellious days of drugs and broken marriages, Eric, now 74, is today happily settled in California and still writing music, recording and regularly touring around Europe and the USA.

Bruce Springsteen has acknowledged that The Animals’ hits such as ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place’ strongly inspired his musical direction. Rolling Stone magazine has called him “the greatest singer of the 60s British blues explosion, bar none”.

It is fascinating to learn that Eric’s great-great uncle George – Geordie Ridley – was the celebrated music hall artist who wrote and composed ‘Blaydon Races’. It was almost exactly 100 years after this Geordie anthem was published that Eric’s unique rendering of the blues classic ‘House of the Rising Sun’ hit the charts.