13 Incredible Bands Similar To The Animals

Written by Dan Farrant

The Animals, a powerhouse British rock band from the 1960s, have had a profound impact on the music landscape. Their unique fusion of blues-tinged rock and potent storytelling continues to echo through generations, sparking inspiration among numerous subsequent musicians.

If you’re fascinated by Eric Burdon’s soulful voice or the band’s unfiltered energy, then we’ve got something special for you.

We’ve put together a list of 13 incredible bands similar to The Animals. Each one brings their unique touch to this classic sound. Let’s get started.

The Animals by Bieniecki Piotr (CC BY-SA 4.0)

1. The Rolling Stones

As one of the most iconic British Invasion bands, The Rolling Stones have carved a lasting legacy with their blend of blues and rock music. Their charismatic frontman, Mick Jagger, can easily draw comparisons to Eric Burdon from The Animals due to their appealing stage presence and powerful vocal performances.

In their early years, The Rolling Stones gained attention for their energetic live performances and rebellious image. They released a string of hit singles, including “Satisfaction,” “Paint It Black,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and “Honky Tonk Women”—all chart-topping music gems.

The band’s success continued throughout the 1970s, with albums like Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main St., and Some Girls solidifying their status as rock legends. These albums featured a diverse range of musical styles, from bluesy rockers to soulful ballads, and demonstrated their ability to evolve and experiment with new sounds constantly.

2. The Kinks

Hailing from Muswell Hill in North London, The Kinks were founded by the talented Davies brothers, Ray and Dave, along with bass player Pete Quaife in 1963. This rock band quickly rose to prominence as one of the most influential bands during the British Invasion era of the 1960s.

Although The Kinks share strong similarities with other British Invasion bands like The Animals, they managed to carve out a unique identity thanks to their creative songwriting and innovative guitar work.

It’s worth mentioning that underlying tension between the two Davies siblings partially fueled this creativity—Ray and Dave reportedly had a tumultuous relationship plagued by sibling rivalry throughout their time in The Kinks.

Ray Davies’ introspective lyrics, coupled with Dave’s fierce guitar skills, gave birth to songs that have become enduring classics within the realm of rock music, like “You Really Got Me” and “Sunny Afternoon.”

3. The Yardbirds

An innovative blues-rock band from the 1960s, The Yardbirds gained notoriety for featuring guitar legends Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page at different points in their career.

The Yardbirds had a signature sound that combined rhythm and blues with innovative guitar effects, laying the groundwork for the psychedelic rock movement.

They released several successful albums and singles, such as “Heart Full of Soul” and “Over Under Sideways Down,” earning them both critical and commercial acclaim. Recognition for their works was given with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

Comparing The Yardbirds to their contemporaries, particularly The Animals, reveals both similarities and differences. Both bands were part of the British Invasion and drew heavily from American blues.

However, while The Animals leaned more towards a raw, gritty sound, The Yardbirds experimented with a wider range of styles, incorporating elements of pop, psychedelia, and early hard rock. Despite these stylistic differences, both bands have left a lasting legacy in the world of rock music.

4. The Zombies

British rock band The Zombies was formed in St. Albans in 1961. The band’s original members included Rod Argent on keyboards and vocals, Paul Atkinson on guitar, Hugh Grundy on drums, and Colin Blunstone as the lead singer.

Blending psychedlia and rock like The Animals, The Zombies was a major force in the development of psychedelic pop and rock. The group scored British and American hits in 1964 with “She’s Not There.” In the US, two further singles, “Tell Her No” and “Time of the Season,” were also successful.

Their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle is ranked 100 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” The Zombies were eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 but were not nominated until 2014, finally being inducted in 2019.

As of now, The Zombies continues to be active, releasing new music and touring. Their latest album, Different Game, was released in March 2023, and they’ve announced a tour in support of this album.

5. The Spencer Davis Group

Formed in 1963, the same year The Animals came to be, The Spencer Davis Group was a British rock-and-roll band from Birmingham, UK.

Both bands shared a love for American blues and R&B., but where The Animals leaned towards a raw, unfiltered sound, The Spencer Davis Group infused their music with elements of pop.

In 1965, The Spencer Davis Group released “Keep On Running,” a song that not only topped the UK charts but also became an anthem of sorts for the youth of the time.

However, it was the raw energy of tracks like “Gimme Some Lovin'” and “I’m a Man” that truly showcased the band’s prowess. Steve Winwood’s soul-stirring vocals, along with the group’s infectious rhythm, had a way of making people sit up and take notice.

The band underwent a significant change when Winwood departed in 1967 to form Traffic. Yet The Spencer Davis Group soldiered on, continuing to churn out music that resonated with fans of classic rock and R&B.

6. The Hollies

A year before The Animals was formed, there came The Hollies. Hailing from Manchester, England, this well-respected British rock band was known for their beat music and pop sound.

Their journey to fame was marked by several chart-topping hits such as “Bus Stop,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” and “Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress).” These songs showed off their talent for blending catchy melodies with thoughtful lyrics.

If you’re a fan of The Animals, there are several aspects of The Hollies’ music that you might find interesting. Both bands were a part of the British Invasion, bringing their unique interpretations of rock music to the global stage.

Moreover, both bands had a knack for transforming American R&B and soul music into something uniquely their own. While The Animals had a grittier, bluesy approach, The Hollies leaned towards a more polished pop-rock sound. Yet, at their core, both bands shared a common thread—a love for music that transcends boundaries and continues to influence listeners across generations.

7. The Who

Rising to prominence in the music scene of the 1960s was an extraordinary British rock band that would go on to shape the landscape of modern music. Known as The Who, the group consisted of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon.

The road to success for The Who was paved with unforgettable hits, including “My Generation,” “Baba O’Riley,” and “Pinball Wizard.” Each of these tracks, renowned for their compelling lyrics and pioneering sound, played a crucial role in shaping the musical identity of the band.

One would probably think The Who’s music is so unlike The Animals, but it is interesting to note that the band did build their reputation on American-style rhythm and blues, like The Animals’ sound, early in their career.

The Who’s evolution and pioneering approach to music not only distinguished them from their contemporaries but also firmly established them as one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century.

8. The Byrds

American rock band The Byrds was formed in Los Angeles in 1964. David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke made up The Byrds’ original lineup, and they are widely regarded as one of the most influential bands of the 1960s and pioneers of folk rock, psychedelic rock, and country rock genres.

Their breakout hit was a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” which topped the charts in both the US and the UK in 1965. This song, characterized by its jangly 12-string guitar sound and tight harmonies, essentially launched the genre of folk-rock.

The Byrds went on to release 11 more studio albums, and while all charted on the UK Albums Chart, none quite reached the commercial success of their debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man.

Nevertheless, the band was praised for their exceptional work, and in 1991, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

9. Them

A blues rock band like The Animal, Irish R&B and garage rock band Them made its debut on the music scene in 1964. Known for launching the career of legendary singer Van Morrison, the band gained prominence for their rock standard “Gloria” from their debut album, The Angry Young Them.

Their second album, Them Again, was released in 1966 and showed a maturing band expanding their musical palette. It included soulful ballads like “My Lonely Sad Eyes,” jazzy numbers like “I Put a Spell on You,” and hard-edged rockers like “I Can Only Give You Everything.”

Morrison left Them in 1966, after which the band went through numerous lineup changes but continued to release albums, though none matched the success or influence of their early work with Morrison.

Despite their relatively short initial run and constant lineup changes, Them’s influence on rock music, particularly the sub-genre of garage rock, is significant. Their gritty, unpolished sound and Morrison’s emotive vocals paved the way for many future rock bands.

10. The Troggs

Next up, The Troggs was a British rock band that emerged in 1964 and grew in popularity alongside The Animals. Known for their unique sound that was an inspiration for garage and punk rock, the original members of the band were Ronnie Bond, Chris Britton, Reg Presley, and Pete Staples.

The band’s first major success came with the release of their debut single, “Wild Thing,” in 1966. The song reached #1 in the US and #2 in the UK. The primal simplicity of “Wild Thing” would become a hallmark of The Troggs’ sound.

Over the course of their career, The Troggs released numerous albums and singles, each showing off their unique interpretation of rock and roll. Songs like “With a Girl Like You,” “I Can’t Control Myself,” and “Love Is All Around” further cemented their place in rock history, with the latter becoming an international hit.

Despite their success in the mid to late 1960s, The Troggs never quite achieved the same level of fame as some of their contemporaries. However, their influence continues.

11. The Small Faces

The Small Faces was a quintessential British pop-rock band of the 1960s known for their distinctive blend of rock, rhythm and blues, and soul, reminiscent of The Animals’ style, with a strong mod aesthetic that set them apart from many of their contemporaries.

Their rise to fame was swift, with chart-topping hits such as “Whatcha Gonna Do About It” and “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” cementing their place in the British music scene.

However, it was their later work, particularly the 1968 concept album Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake, that showcased their musical creativity and innovation. The song “Itchycoo Park,” one of the band’s biggest hits, epitomized their innovative use of music technology with its early use of flanging, a then-novel audio effect.

Despite their success, The Small Faces was plagued by management issues and internal strife, leading to their disbandment in 1969. Marriott went on to form Humble Pie, while the other members teamed up with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood to form the Faces.

12. Cream

Formed in 1966, Cream—consisting of Eric Clapton on guitar and vocals, Jack Bruce on bass and vocals, and Ginger Baker on drums—was a British rock band that pioneered a fusion of blues, rock, and psychedelic music. Each member was already successful in their own right before joining Cream, which led to the band being hailed as one of the first supergroups.

Much like The Animals, Cream drew heavily from American blues, but their incorporation of experimental techniques and psychedelic influences set them apart.

One of Cream’s most celebrated songs, “Sunshine of Your Love,” is a perfect example of their signature style. “White Room” is another standout track. The song’s distinctive wah-wah guitar effect and driving beat exemplify Cream’s innovative approach to songwriting and their willingness to push musical boundaries.

Despite their short tenure (they disbanded in 1968), Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, and in 2006, they received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, cementing their legacy as one of the most influential rock bands of their era.

13. The Pretty Things

We end this list with The Pretty Things, an English rock band that formed in 1963, named after the 1955 song of the same name. The original lineup consisted of Phil May (vocals), Dick Taylor (guitar), Brian Pendleton (guitar), John Stax (bass), and Viv Prince (drums).

Their debut self-titled album, released in 1965, included a mix of cover versions of American R&B songs and original material, showcasing their gritty, hard-edged musical style. The single “Don’t Bring Me Down” from this album was a top 10 hit in the UK.

However, The Pretty Things is perhaps best known for their 1968 concept album, S.F. Sorrow, which is often considered one of the first rock operas, predating The Who’s Tommy by several months. This album marked a shift for the band towards a more psychedelic sound.

Despite never achieving the same level of commercial success as some of their contemporaries, The Pretty Things were highly influential. The band continued to perform and record albums throughout the decades with various lineups, eventually disbanding in late 2018.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like The Animals

The Animals were undoubtedly a groundbreaking band. However, there are many other British Invasion bands that embodied the same spirit and energy. We hope this list has provided you with ample new music for your playlist.

However, no list is truly complete. Let us know which bands we missed that should be on here, and we’ll add them for you!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.