The Animals — We Gotta Get Out Of This Place download video

The Animals — We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

"We Gotta Get Out of This Place", occasionally written "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place", is a rock song written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and recorded as a 1965 hit single by the Animals. It has become an iconic song of its type and was immensely popular with United States Armed Forces G.I.s during the Vietnam War.

In 2004 it was ranked number 233 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list; it is also in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.

Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil were husband and wife (and future Hall of Fame) songwriters associated with the 1960s Brill Building scene in New York City.

Mann and Weil wrote and recorded "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" as a demo, with Mann singing and playing piano. It was intended for The Righteous Brothers, for whom they had written the number one hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" but then Mann gained a recording contract for himself, and his label Red Bird Records wanted him to release it instead. Meanwhile, record executive Allen Klein had heard it and gave the demo to Mickie Most, the Animals' producer. Most already had a call out to Brill Building songwriters for material for the group's next recording session (the Animals hits "It's My Life" and "Don't Bring Me Down" came from the same call), and the Animals recorded it before Mann could.

In the Animals' rendition, the lyrics were slightly reordered and reworded from the demo and opened with a locational allusion – although different from that in the songwriters' minds – that was often taken as fitting the group's industrial, working class Newcastle-upon-Tyne origins:

“In this dirty old part of the city
Where the sun refused to shine
People tell me, there ain't no use in tryin'“

Next came a verse about the singer's father in his deathbed after a lifetime of working his life away, followed by a call-and-response buildup, leading to the start of the chorus:

“We gotta get out of this place!
If it's the last thing we ever do…“

The arrangement featured a distinctive bass lead by group member Chas Chandler. This was the first single not to be recorded by the original line-up, following as it did the departure of keyboard player Alan Price and his replacement by Dave Rowberry. It featured one of singer Eric Burdon's typically raw, fierce vocals. Rolling Stone described the overall effect as a "harsh white-blues treatment from The Animals. As Burdon put it, 'Whatever suited our attitude, we just bent to our own shape.'"

The song reached number 2 on the UK pop singles chart on August 14, 1965 (held out of the top slot by the Beatles' "Help!"). The following month, it reached number 13 on the US pop singles chart, its highest placement there. In Canada, the song also reached number 2, on September 20, 1965.

At the time, the title and simple emotional appeal of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" lent itself to some obvious self-identifications—for instance, it was a very popular number to be played at high school senior proms and graduation parties. In music writer Dave Marsh's view, it was one of a wave of songs in 1965, by artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan, that ushered in a new role for rock music as a vehicle for common perception and as a force for social consciousness. Writer Craig Werner sees the song as reflecting the desire of people to take a hard look at their own lives and the community they come from. Burdon later said, "The song became an anthem for different people – everybody at some time wants to get out of the situation they're in."

The song was very popular with United States Armed Forces members stationed in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was frequently requested of, and played by, American Forces Vietnam Network disc jockeys. During 2006 two University of Wisconsin–Madison employees, one a Vietnam veteran, began an in-depth survey of hundreds of Vietnam veterans, and found that "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" had resonated the strongest among all the music popular then: "We had absolute unanimity is this song being the touchstone. This was the Vietnam anthem. Every bad band that ever played in an armed forces club had to play this song." Just such a band played the song in an episode ("USO Down", by Vietnam veteran Jim Beaver) of the American television series about the war, Tour of Duty, and the song is reprised in the episode's final scene.

"We Gotta Get Out of This Place" was also used in Dennis Potter's 1965 television play Stand Up, Nigel Barton and the BBC's 1996 Newcastle-set Our Friends in the North, which partially took place in the 1960s. In America it was used as the title credits song in some episodes of the Vietnam War-set television series China Beach. It was then applied to the Bin Laden family, having to leave the United States in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, in Michael Moore's 2004 Fahrenheit 9/11. It also was featured in the soundtrack to the 1987 movie Hamburger Hill. It was used in a third-season episode of the 2000s television series Heroes. It was used as the theme song for 2002 BBC comedy TLC and the 2013 BBC series Privates. The song was also featured humorously in the Kong: Skull Island trailer.

In a 2012 keynote speech to an audience at the South by Southwest music festival, Bruce Springsteen performed an abbreviated version of the Animals' version on acoustic guitar and then said, "That's every song I've ever written. That's all of them. I'm not kidding, either.

The The Animals — We Gotta Get Out Of This Place clip can be downloaded for free and without registration.

Size106.6 Mb
Duration3:24 min
Artist The Animals
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