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"It's My Life"
Single by The Animals
Released late 1965
Format 7" single
Recorded 1965
Genre Rock
Length 3:09
Label Columbia Graphophone (UK),
MGM Records (US)
Writer(s) Roger Atkins, Carl D'Errico
Producer Mickie Most
The Animals singles chronology
"We Gotta Get Out of This Place"
(1965)
"It's My Life"
(1965)
"Inside-Looking Out"
(1966)

"It's My Life" is a rock song composed by Roger Atkins and Carl D'Errico and recorded as a 1965 single by The Animals.

Contents

The Animals original

D'Errico, who wrote the music, and Atkins, who wrote the lyrics, were professional songwriters associated with the greater Brill Building scene in New York City. By 1965 they were working for Screen Gems Music.

"It's My Life" was written specifically for The Animals as their producer Mickie Most was soliciting material for the group's next recording sessions. (Other Animals hits to come out of this Brill Building call were "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" and "Don't Bring Me Down".)

As laid down "It's My Life" was a natural fit for The Animals. It was propelled by a bass guitar riff from Chas Chandler, soon joined by a ringing electric guitar riff from Hilton Valentine. Then lead singer Eric Burdon's classic low growl entered with lyrics seemingly direct from his native working class Northern England:

It's a hard world, to get a break in -
All the good things have been taken
But girl there are ways to make certain things pay,
Though I'm dressed in these rags
I'll wear sable, some day

The song then built up to a climax in the chorus, with Burdon complemented by response vocals from Chandler and keyboardist Dave Rowberry. By the second verse, the song's themes of class-based misanthropic rebellion have grown even stronger:

Takin' all I can get, no regrets
When I ... openly lie
And live on their money, believe me honey, that money -

The single was a number 7 hit on the United Kingdom pop singles chart. It did not fare as well in the United States, only reaching number 23 on the pop singles chart in late 1965, but later became one of The Animals' most-played tracks on FM rock stations due to its angry attitude. In Canada, the song reached #2, December 20, 1965.

"It's My Life" was visually premiered on the U.S. television show Hullabaloo in fall 1965, where in true mixed-up 1960s fashion the group sang live vocals against canned music on a den-type set that featured attractive young women sticking their heads through holes in the wall, where normally animal heads would be mounted.

Later versions

During the mid-1970s Bruce Springsteen began performing "It's My Life" during his Born to Run tours. Preceded by the first iteration of Springsteen's archetypical spoken narrative about how he and his father never got along about anything, the tempo of the song itself was greatly slowed down to further bring out the tense themes; renditions could easily run over ten minutes overall in duration, and lyrics were varied somewhat across almost every performance. Never released in any live album or box set collection, Springsteen's take on the song has become part of his concert lore and fans' bootleg collections.

The song next cropped up as the closing part of ex-New York Dolls singer David Johansen's Animals medley from his 1982 live album Live It Up. Here done following "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" and "Don't Bring Me Down" in an appreciative rendition faithful to The Animals' arrangement and Burdon's vocal, it attracted album oriented rock airplay and considerable MTV video play at the time.

In 1992, Bon Jovi performed its own Animals medley for an MTV show later released on video as Keep the Faith - An Evening with Bon Jovi. "It's My Life" led off with an impassioned performance featuring octave jumps from singer Jon Bon Jovi, which then flowed into "We Gotta Get Out of This Place". In 1995, they performed the medley live with Eric Burdon.

Later inspiration

Much of the assertive spirit of the song resurfaced later in two completely different hit songs that shared the same title: Talk Talk's "It's My Life" (1984), later redone as an even bigger hit by No Doubt (2003), and Bon Jovi with their own "It's My Life" (2000).

External links

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