Sky Pilot was a 7:21 song that had to be split in two to accommodate the 45 rpm format. Part One with Eric Burdon’s vocal and the first four verses became a sizable hit [#14] in June 1968, a month before the group disbanded. Part Two is an extended guitar solo that segues into the noise of planes taking off, an apparent parade with bagpipers and crowd noises and then the last two verses. As the song ends, one is left with the contradiction of how young men can be both 'soldiers of God' with the fate of their country in their hands and obey the 6th Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill."
The British group The Animals began as The Alan Price Combo in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. In addition to Price, born April 19, 1942, on keyboards, it featured Eric Burdon (born May 11,1941) on vocals, Bryan 'Chas' Candler (born December18, 1938) on bass, Hilton Valentine (born May 21, 1943) on guitar, and John Steel (born February 4, 1941) on drums [The group that recorded Sky Pilot was minus Alan Price and John Steel from its original lineup, with Steel having been replaced by Barry Jenkins]. Their arrival on the music scene in 1964 coincided with that of Manfred Mann, The Hollies and The Zombies, groups for who The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones and others had already paved the way.
The Animals' first release for MGM, an electric cover of the folk song The House Of The Rising Sun, immediately shot to #1 on both sides of the Atlantic. For their next five releases they reworked more blues-type songs such as Boom Boom and Bring It On Home To Me, a style that well-suited Burdon’s raspy voice. Then they, like many of their colleagues, they turned to New York’s Brill Building songwriters. It was their 1965 recording of Brill stalwarts Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill’s composition We Gotta Get Out Of This Place that first and forevermore endeared The Animals to Vietnam soldiers