About The Song

Background

“It’s My Life” emerged from the burgeoning British R&B scene of the mid-1960s. The Animals, a band formed in Newcastle, England, were one of the leading figures in this movement. Fronted by the charismatic vocalist Eric Burdon, the group drew inspiration from American blues and R&B artists like Ray Charles and Sonny Boy Williamson. Their sound, characterized by Burdon’s powerful vocals, slashing guitars, and driving rhythm section, resonated with a generation yearning for a more authentic and energetic alternative to the pop music of the time.

The song itself was written by American songwriters Roger Atkins and Carl D’Errico. It’s unclear how the composition ended up in the hands of The Animals, but it perfectly captured the band’s raw energy and rebellious spirit. Released as a single in October 1965, “It’s My Life” became an instant hit, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart and establishing The Animals as international stars.

Musical Style

“It’s My Life” is a prime example of British Invasion rock, a subgenre characterized by its high-energy blend of American R&B, blues, and rock and roll. The song opens with a driving rhythm section featuring a prominent bassline and shuffling drums. This foundation is punctuated by the searing electric guitar riffs of Hilton Valentine and Chas Chandler. Burdon’s vocals take center stage, delivered with raw emotion and a touch of snarl that perfectly embodies the song’s rebellious message.

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The song structure is relatively simple, following a verse-chorus-verse format. However, the energy and intensity build throughout, culminating in a powerful and anthemic chorus that features Burdon repeatedly declaring, “It’s my life!”

Lyrics

The lyrics of “It’s My Life” are simple yet potent. The song depicts a young man who is fed up with the constraints of his current situation. He’s poor and struggles to make ends meet (“It’s a hard world to get a break in / All the good things have been taken”). However, he possesses an unwavering determination to change his circumstances (“But girl there are ways to make certain things pay / Though I’m dressed in these rags, I’ll wear sable some day”).

The central theme of the song is independence and self-determination. The protagonist refuses to be controlled by societal expectations or authority figures (“It’s my life and I’ll do what I want / It’s my mind and I’ll think what I want”). While the lyrics hint at potentially manipulative and exploitative behavior (“There’ll be women and their fortunes / Who just want to mother orphans / Are you gonna cry / When I’m squeezing them dry?”), the overall message is one of empowerment and defiance.

Cultural Impact

“It’s My Life” became an anthem for a generation. Its rebellious spirit resonated with young people who felt stifled by social norms and parental control. The song’s raw energy and powerful message transcended geographical boundaries, becoming a global hit and influencing countless musicians across genres.

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The song’s impact can be seen in various ways:

  • Influence on Rock Music: “It’s My Life” helped pave the way for the development of hard rock and heavy metal. Its aggressive sound and rebellious attitude inspired bands like Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, and countless others.
  • Film and Television: The song has been featured in numerous films and television shows, from “Quadrophenia” (1979) to “The Simpsons.” This continued use ensures its message remains relevant for new generations.
  • Advertising and Sports: The song’s instantly recognizable opening riff and anthemic chorus have made it a popular choice for advertising campaigns and sporting events. This commercialization, while potentially diluting the song’s original message, speaks to its undeniable power and memorability.

Conclusion

“It’s My Life” by The Animals is more than just a rock song; it’s a cultural touchstone. The song’s raw energy, rebellious lyrics, and powerful vocals continue to resonate with listeners today. It’s a timeless anthem of independence, self-determination, and the yearning for a better future. “It’s My Life” serves as a reminder of the enduring power of music to capture a generation’s spirit and inspire change.

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Lyrics

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤

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, someday

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Hear what I say
I’m gonna ride this serpent
No more time spent, sweatin’ rent
Hear my command

I’m breakin’ loose, it ain’t no use
Holdin’ me down, stick around
But baby (Baby)
Remember (Remember)

It’s my life and I’ll do what I want
It’s my mind and I think what I want
Show me I’m wrong, hurt me sometime
But someday, I’ll treat you real fine

There’ll be women and their fortunes
Who just want to mother orphans
Are you gonna cry while I’m squeezin’ them dry?
Talkin’ all I can get, no regrets

When I, openly lie
And live on their money
Believe me honey
That money, can you believe?

I ain’t no saint, no complaints
So girl, throw out any doubt
And baby (Baby)
Remember (Remember)

It’s my life and I’ll do what I want
It’s my mind and I’ll think what I want
Show me I’m wrong, hurt me sometime
But someday, I’ll treat you real fine

(It’s my life and I’ll do what I want)
Don’t push me
(It’s my mind and I’ll think what I want)
It’s my life
(It’s my life and I’ll do what I want)
And I can do what I want
(It’s my mind and I’ll think what I want)
You can’t tell me
(It’s my life and I’ll do what I want)
I’ll do what I want
(It’s my mind and I’ll think what I want)

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