Price was born in Fatfield, Washington, County Durham, and was educated at Jarrow Grammar School, South Tyneside. He is a self-taught musician and was a founding member of the Tyneside group "The Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo", which was later renamed the Animals. His organ-playing on songs by the Animals, such as "The House of the Rising Sun", "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "Bring It On Home to Me" was a key element in the group's success.
After leaving the Animals, Price went on to have success on his own with his own band the Alan Price Set and later with Georgie Fame. He introduced the songs of Randy Newman to a wider audience. Later, he appeared on his own television show as well as achieving success with film scores, including winning critical acclaim for his musical contribution to the 1973 film O Lucky Man! as well as writing the score to the stage musical Andy Capp. In addition, he has appeared as an actor in films and television productions.
Price formed the Animals in 1962 and left the band in 1965 to form the Alan Price Set, with the line-up of Price, Clive Burrows (baritone saxophone), Steve Gregory (tenor saxophone), John Walters (trumpet), Peter Kirtley (guitar), Rod "Boots" Slade (bass) and "Little" Roy Mills (drums). In the same year, he appeared in the film Dont Look Back, which was filmed featuring Bob Dylan on tour in the UK.
During 1966, he enjoyed singles success with "I Put a Spell on You", which reached No. 9 in the UK singles chart, and "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo", which reached No. 11 in the same chart. In 1967 the Randy Newman song "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear", reached No. 4 in the chart as did his self-penned song, "The House That Jack Built". "Don't Stop the Carnival" followed in 1968 and rose to No. 13 in the UK singles charts.
Price went on to host shows such as the musical Price To Play in the late 1960s, which featured Price performing and introducing the music of guests such as Fleetwood Mac and Jimi Hendrix. His second album, A Price on His Head (1967), featured seven songs by Randy Newman, who was virtually unknown at that time. In August 1967, he appeared with the Animals at the hippy love-in that was held in the grounds of Woburn Abbey.
A later association with Georgie Fame resulted in "Rosetta", which became a Top 20 hit (1971), reaching No. 11 in the UK Singles Chart. An album followed, Fame and Price, Price and Fame Together. During this period Price and Fame secured a regular slot on The Two Ronnies show produced by BBC Television, and also appeared on the Morecambe and Wise Show. He recorded the autobiographical album Between Today and Yesterday (1974) from which the single "Jarrow Song" was taken, returning Price to the UK singles chart at number 6.
Price participated in three reunions of the Animals between 1968 and 1984. In July 1983, the Animals started their last world tour. Price's solo performance of "O Lucky Man" was included in their set. In 1984, they broke up for the final time and the album Rip It To Shreds – Greatest Hits Live was released, comprising recordings from their concert at Wembley Stadium in London.
Price recorded two albums with the Electric Blues Company featuring guitarist and vocalist Bobby Tench and keyboardist Zoot Money, the first Covers was recorded in 1994. A Gigster's Life for Me followed in 1996 and was recorded as part of Sanctuary's Blues Masters Series, at Olympic Studios in South-West London.
Since 1996 Price has continued to perform regularly, arrange, write songs and create other works. During the 2000s he has continued to tour the U.K with his own band and others including the Manfreds, Maggie Bell and Bobby Tench.
Price has been closely involved with the work of film director Lindsay Anderson. In 1973, he wrote the music for Anderson's film O Lucky Man!, which he performs on screen in the film and appears as himself in one part of the storyline. In 1987, he wrote the score to Anderson's final film, The Whales of August.
He acted in Alfie Darling, a sequel to the film Alfie, during the course of which he became romantically involved with his co-star, Jill Townsend. He also composed and sang the theme tune to the 1982 film adaptation of The Plague Dogs, "Time and Tide".
In 1981, he composed the score for the musical Andy Capp, based on the eponymous comic strip. Price also wrote the lyrics, together with the actor Trevor Peacock. The play transferred from the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester to London's Aldwych Theatre in September 1982. Price later provided the theme to Thames Television's 1988 sitcom adaptation of Andy Capp in the form of a rewritten "Jarrow Song". Other TV theme work includes a re-recorded version of his 1974 single "Papers", which was used as the theme tune to the successful LWT situation comedy Hot Metal.
In 1992, Anderson included a touching episode in his autobiographical BBC film Is That All There Is?, with a boat trip down the River Thames to scatter Rachel Roberts' and Jill Bennett's ashes on the waters while Price accompanied himself and sang the song "Is That All There Is?"
Price is believed to have two children and has been married twice. His first marriage was to Maureen Elizabeth Donneky. The couple divorced. Price and Donneky had one daughter, Elizabeth.
In 1990 Price married his current wife Alison Thomas and they also had a daughter.
Price currently lives in London with his wife and daughters. In 2010 Price dedicated his November Bulls Head show to his first wife Maureen Price, following her funeral.Britannia Hospital, Soundtrack
Alfie Darling (1975), Alfie Elkins, Soundtrack
O Lucky Man! (1973), Alan, Soundtrack
Dont Look Back (1967), Himself
Ready, Steady, Go! – as the Alan Price Set (9 December 1966)
Beat-Club – 1967–68
Disco – Episode No. 1.5 as Price and Fame (1971)
Heartbeat – Frankie Rio (a "shifty" musician) "In the Bleak Midwinter" (2004)
The Two Ronnies – as himself (1972) eight episodes
Saturday Night Live – as himself (April 1977)
The Price to Play The Alan Price Set (Decca) 1966
A Price on His Head (Decca) 1967
O Lucky Man! (Warner Bros.) 1973 – US no. 117
Savaloy Dip (Reprise) 1974 (on 8-track tape only, recalled and never released until 2016) – (Omnivore Recordings) 2016
Between Today and Yesterday (Warner Bros.) 1974 – UK no. 9
Metropolitan Man (Polydor) 1975
Shouts Across the Street (Polydor) 1976
Alan Price (Polydor) 1977 – US no. 187
England My England (Jet) 1978, released in the US as Lucky Day
Rising Sun (Jet) 1980
Geordie Roots & Branches (MWM Productions) 1983
Travellin' Man (Trojan Records) 1986
Liberty (Ariola) 1989
Based on a True Story (Apaloosa) 2002
Performing Price (Polydor) 1975
A Rock'n'Roll Night At The Royal Court Theatre (Ket Records) 1980
Fame and Price, Price and Fame: Together! with Georgie Fame (CBS) 1971
Two of a Kind with Rob Hoeke (Polydor) 1977
Andy Capp with Trevor Peacock (Key Records) 1982
Covers with The Electric Blues Company (AP Records) 1994
A Gigster's Life for Me with The Electric Blues Company (Indigo) 1995
This Price is Right (Parrot) 1968
The World of Alan Price (Decca) 1970
Geordie Boy: The Anthology (Castle Music) 2002
1974 Golden Globe nomination for O Lucky Man!
1974 BAFTA (Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music) O Lucky Man