“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” is a song written by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell and Sol Marcus for the singer/pianist Nina Simone, who first recorded it in 1964. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” has been recorded or performed by many artists, and is widely known by the 1965 blues rock hit recording from The Animals.
The Animals version
The Animals’ lead singer Eric Burdon would later say of the song, “It was never considered pop material, but it somehow got passed on to us and we fell in love with it immediately.” The Animals gave it one of their trademark R&B-into-rock workups, speeding up the tempo and starting off with a memorable electric guitar-and-organ doubled riff from Hilton Valentine and Alan Price, that was picked out and expanded from an element that originally appeared in the Simone recording’s outro. This riff immediately led into Burdon’s trademark deep, impassioned vocal line:
Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad.
But don’t you know that no one alive can always be an angel?
When things go wrong, I seem to be bad.
(group unison) But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good:
(just Burdon) Oh Lord! Please don’t let me be misunderstood …
The group gained a trans-Atlantic hit in early 1965 from their rendition, rising to number 3 on the UK Singles Chart, number 15 on the U.S. pop singles chart, and number 4 in Canada.
This single was ranked by Rolling Stone at #315 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
In Animals concerts at the time, the group maintained the recorded arrangement, but Burdon sometimes slowed the vocal line down to an almost spoken part, recapturing a bit of the Simone flavor.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)