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The House Of The Rising Sun

by

The Animals



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Historians have not been able to definitively identify The House Of The Rising Sun, but here are the two most popular theories:

1) The song is about a brothel in New Orleans. "The House Of The Rising Sun" was named after Madame Marianne LeSoleil Levant (which means "Rising Sun" in French) and was open for business from 1862 (occupation by Union troops) until 1874, when it was closed due to complaints by neighbors. It was located at 826-830 St. Louis St.

It's about a women's prison in New Orleans called the Orleans Parish women's prison, which had an entrance gate adorned with rising sun artwork. This would explain the "ball and chain" lyrics in the song.
The melody is a traditional English ballad, but the song became popular as an African-American Folk song. It was recorded by Texas Alexander in the 1920s, then by a number of other artists including Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Josh White and later Nina Simone. It was her version The Animals first heard. No one can claim rights to the song, meaning it can be recorded and sold royalty-free. Many bands recorded versions of this after it became a hit for The Animals. (Thanks to music historian and author Ron Foster.)
The Folk music historian Alan Lomax recorded a version in 1937 by a 16-year-old girl named Georgia Turner. In this context, it is sung in the first person, present tense with the singer lamenting how the House of the Rising Sun has ruined her life. In this traditional Folk version, the main character is either a prostitute or a prisoner. The Animals changed it to a gambler to make their version more radio-friendly.
The Animals performed this song while touring England with Chuck Berry. It went over so well that they recorded it between stops on the tour. In our 2010 interview with Animals lead singer Eric Burdon, he explained: "'House of the Rising Sun' is a song that I was just fated to. It was made for me and I was made for it. It was a great song for the Chuck Berry tour because it was a way of reaching the audience without copying Chuck Berry. It was a great trick and it worked. It actually wasn't only a great trick, it was a great recording. The best aspect of it, I've been told, is that Bob Dylan, who was angry at first, turned into a rocker. Dylan went electric in the shadow of The Animals classic 'House of the Rising Sun.'"
This was the first #1 hit in the UK or US that was over 4 minutes long. The single version is cut down, but still runs about 4:30, which was very long for any song on the radio at the time.
Bob Dylan recorded this on his first album. The Animals version was one of the first songs to put a Rock rhythm to a Folk song, something Dylan did a lot soon after.
This was the first song since 1962 by a British band to hit #1 in America that was not written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
The Animals recorded this in one take, as they had perfected the song from years of performing it on the road. The Animals' drummer John Steel recalls in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "We Played Liverpool on May 17 1964 and then drove to London where Mickie (Most) had booked a studio for ITV's Ready Steady Go! Because of the reaction we were getting to 'Rising Sun,' we asked to record it and he said, 'Okay we'll do it at the same session.' We set up for balance, played a few bars for the engineer - it was mono with no overdubs - and we only did one take. We listened to it and Mickie said, 'That's it, it's a single.' The engineer said it was too long, but instead of chopping out a bit, Mickie had the courage to say, 'We're in a microgroove world now, we will release it.' A few weeks later it was #1 all over the world. When we knocked The Beatles off the top in America, they sent us a telegram which read, 'Congratulations from The Beatles (a group)'" The producer Mickie Most recalls, "Everything was in the right place, the planets were in the right place, the stars were in the right place and the wind was blowing in the right direction. It only took 15 minutes to make so I can't take much credit for the production. It was just a case of capturing the atmosphere in the studio." (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
The Animals had 13 more Top 40 hits in the US, becoming one of the most successful British Invasion bands in the United States. They split up in 1968 over various music and business issues. Burdon told us: "I don't think that The Animals got a chance to evolve. We were the first to admit that we took Blues songs from American artists, but if the Animals had stuck together and worked together instead of worrying about who was getting all the money, we could have evolved more and come out with more music to be proud of."
Alan Price is the only band member given credit for arranging this, meaning he is paid almost all the royalties. Their record company told the other members that there was not enough room to list them as arrangers.
The organ solo was inspired by jazzman Jimmy Smith's hit "Walk on the Wild Side." Alan Price performed the solo on a Vox Continental.
The Animals
The Animals Artistfacts
More The Animals songs
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More songs covered by The Supremes

Comments (81):

Undoubtedly one of the greatest songs of all time.
- Mike, Columbus, OH
Also: the Animals told many stories about where they first heard the song, but it is most probable they heard the Lonnie Donegan version (recorded in 1958). It is very similar and Donegan was the top artist in late 1950's England before the Beatles. Donegan heard the song by American Blues legend Josh White, who recorded the song in 1944, after he heard a version by Roy Acuff, recorded by Roy in 1941.
- coy, Palestine, TX
This song was NOT written by Dave Van Ronk (correct spelling). Van Ronk did the version that Bob Dylan copied on his first album. The song was an old folk song originally known as "Rising Sun". It was changed and recorded many times from the early 1930's on till the Animals finally re-wrote the lyrics and released the definitive version. Everyone else mentioned is just fighting for "second place". Also --no one knows if the song was about a brothel or a women's prison. The original song was from the perspective of a woman. NO one will ever know how the original was written or played. That is why it is a folk song.
- coy, Palestine, TX
The song was written by Dave van Rouk. He also wrote "Nobody knows you when you're down and out." Several years ago van Rouk appeared on a Peter Paul & Mary TV special shortly before he died. He said he wrote the song and was very upset when Bob Dylan was mistakenly credited. Many years later, when the Animals recorded the song, people, not old enough to remember, credited Eric Burden with the writing honor. Van Rouk said he liked that because now maybe Dylan will know what it feels like to be denied writing credit. On the TV concert, van Rouk performed "Nobody knows you when your're down and out." Never got the credit he deserved.
- senja, Los Angeles, CA
What a fantastic hit by The Animals & quite a background history. In 1964, I recall seeing The Animals perform this on The Ed Sullivan Show. I was in junior high school at the time and the word was out that this rock band actually acted like animals on stage. Well, that proved to be an overstatement or exaggeration, after seeing them on that TV show. Still, their music was what really mattered. "House of the Rising Sun" was such a break from what the other rock bands were doing & it proved to be a monster hit. The Animals were on the MGM record label at the time, along with the other Brit group "Herman's Hermits", but The Animals were a group of substance compared to the pop nonsense of "Heerman's Hermits." To this day, I still love to hear "House of the Rising Sun" because it just reeks emotion as well as history. Quite a song!
- Elmer H, westville, OK
RE >>"This was the first #1 hit in the UK or US that was over 4 minutes long. The single version is cut down, but still runs about 4:30, which was very long for any song on the radio at the time."

This is completely INCORRECT. The first #1 song in the US to be over four minutes long was "El Paso" by Marty Robbins, which was #1 on the Billboard "Hot 100" in 1960 and ran for four minutes and thirty seconds.
- Karen, Louisville, KY
I probably have a different interpretation of the song than others but I read it as what the consequence of bad behavior is.That you will be miserable if you have quick relationships and never find true fulfillment and happiness.
- Martin, Fresno, CA
It's amazing how many different versions there are! It's a perfect song which fits in almost any genre. I found a site which has a huge number of different versions: http://houseoftherisingsuns.com
- Matt, Hki, Finland
Like everyone else here, i heard numerous renditions of this classic song, most of all are terrific, not to mention Frijid Pink one (not Frigid !!), The Animals, Nina Simone or Hendrix's, but have a listen to Leslie West 2005 rendition on his "Got Blooze" album, with Tim Bogert on bass and Aynsley Dunbar on drums. You'll thank me. And Mr. West.
- ogouz, Paris, France
The first time I heard this song, I thought it was just about a crappy part of town. Even after reading these facts, I still think that. This song is amazing. I love it!
- Reya, Reynoldsburg, OH
Doesn't really have anything to do with the song, exactly...but when I was in college I heard a folksinger at little coffee shop nearby sing Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death..." to the music of HOTRS while playing his own accompaniment on an acoustical guitar. It really worked well. There's an old joke that all Emily Dickinson's poems can be sung to "The Yellow Rose of Texas"...but the minor key and the haunting melody really fit this particular poem.
- David, Atlanta, GA
To Barry, the version of "El Paso" taht was a hit single was shortened to under 3 minutes. Try to find it online and you will see that it makes no sense. Right after he kills the man he sings, "I had but one chance and that was to run." On the shortened version, the next lines are, "I saddled up and away I did go, riding alone in the dark. Maybe tomorrow a bullet may find me, tonight nothing's worse than this pain in my heart. And at last here I am on the hill overlooking El Paso, I can see Rose's cantina below." The whole part about him running from the cantina, thinking about his life back in El Paso and about Felina is cut out and jumps to his return to El Paso. I don't have the cut version in front of me but I think there are some other parts cut out also. That was done a lot in those days. In fact, I'm going to take a look at "El Paso" on this website and see what is said about. See you there
- Tony, Long Island, NY
On a trip to New Orleans some years ago before the floods, we were told that the 'House of the Rising Son' was a brothel where a father would take his son when he reached a suitable age to initiate him into sexual activity. That explanation sounded plausible given the times and nature of the residents. Plantation owners etc. I've always wondered why the song was billed as the Rising Sun and assumed it was ignorance of the facts. Perhaps we were being strung a line but I do think it's a more appealing history as gambling could also have been a feature of such a place. Jim, England
- James, London, United Kingdom
OMG! One of the best ever songs made...hands down! AMAZING!!! Love his range in this song!
- Megan, Stevenson, AL
Harold of PA: I thought the same thing.

Whatever your interpretation, this is one of those songs you and the world can't do without. It's about how kids have to live with, and perpetuate, the bad choices their parents and other adults make.

The first time I heard The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Breaking The Girl," I found myself thinking of this song. The chord progression in RHCP's "twisting and turning" chorus is very much like what's in the instrumental section of this song, and "Breaking" is also about how a person is affected by his parent's lifestyle. Like "House," it's a great song.
- bookbabe, New York, NY
This has been really helpful with my History of Modern American Music project on the 60's!
- Jessi, South Bloomfield, OH
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlLkuEpWsxs&feature=related

Texas Alexander song Risin' Sun has nothing to do with House of the rising sun
- Alexis, Ispra, Italy
This is The Animals best song by far! I like Eric Burton's vocals on this masterpiece.
- Daniel Adams, Northumberland, PA
In May 1966 "Don't Bring Me Down" entered the charts; it was the last record they released as The Animals; their next single, "See See Rider", the record label read, Eric Burton & The Animals!!!
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
In 1959 Marty Robbins released "El Paso"; and it was the 1st record of more than four minutes to reach #1 {both Pop & Country}. Interestingly both 'House' and 'El Paso' had a playing length of four minutes and thirty seconds!!!
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
Actually, Eric, the "ball and chain" lyric means that he has a gambling addiction.
- Harold, University Park, PA
answer annabell from eugene, try amazon.com
- erica, minford, OH
Leadbelly version is called New Orleans Blues. I read somewhere that the guitar riff was influenced by the subtleties of the riff by Bob Dylan who was influence by Dave Von Ronk.
- Duke, FRESNO, CA
Used during a pivitol sequence of Martin Scorcese's "Casino" when the mob bosses are on trial for stealing from the casino and the reprocussions. This is one of my favorite scenes in movie history, the way Scorcese incorporates music in his films is brilliant.
- USCTrojans, Chicago, IL
To Brian from Texas: actually that version is NOT by Hendrix but is by an imposter and was put on alot of lp's which came out after Jimi's death that claimed to feature Hendrix but might actually have only a couple of songs ( if any ) which actually have any Hendrix involvement. However, I think you're right, whoever IS playing it DID make a killer version!
- kevin, los angeles, CA
I always thought the song was about someone like me, that had too start their day with booze, in some beer joint named the rising sun, Larry Greenle Tn.
- Larry Greenlee, sharps chapel, TN
Also not mentioned here is that Joan Baez covered the version written from the woman's perspective, and also Jamaican reggae artist Gregory Isaacs did a great reggae version of it also!
- Victoria, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Muse does a sweet ass version of this song, but the origonal is definately the best....the hardcore alternative is always there
- nady, adelaide, Australia
'House of the Rising Sun' is slang for brothel. This brothel is situated in New Orleans and was named after a certain Marianne Le Soleil Levant (Marian Rising Sun in French). It was not, as previously stated, ever the name of a New Orleans prison. I grew up in New Orleans, and so did my parents and grandparents, and we know everything there is to know about the history.

The House of the Rising Sun actually existed between 1862 to about 1874 and was run by a Madam Marianne LeSoleil Levant whose name translates from French as such. Offbeat New Orleans, a guide book on New Orleans asserts that the real House of the Rising Sun was at 826-830 St. Louis St. between 1862 and 1874 and was purportedly named for its madam, Marianne LeSoleil Levant.

In May 2005, Archaelogists found the remains of this bordello.

It was never a prison as some people have claimed.
In Anglo-American culture; during the Victorian period Brothels were often refered to using puns/double entendre as a House of the Rising Sun.

The ballad goes way back and no one is sure who the author or composer is. Mickey Roark claimed to have written the song but lost copyright to Dylan and others in some of the legal battles that followed.

Some of the earliest forms of this ballad so not refer to a male but to a female who has been corrupted because she must work to support herself as her husband is a drunkard and does not work. In Victorian days no respectable woman worked nor did she wear any make up. A working girl was viewed with suspicion and again a 'working girl or woman' often refered to a woman who was a prostitute

So for people who are talking prisons, I have 3 words for you "Orleans Parish Prison" or OPP. Has been for nearly 200 years. But seriously, I am going to find something out about the archaelogical finds, and I will keep you all updated!
- Megan, Denham Springs, LA
A timeless classic. The guitar run at the beginning ranks right up there as one of the most recognized tunes ever.
- Tony, Red Deer, AB
Wow, Camille from Toronto!! My dad told me he's heard "Amazing Grace" to this tune, but I never thought of "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" to this tune! Another example of a hymn whose lyrics CAN be sung to this tune is "Take the World, But Give Me Jesus". Now in "A Charge to Keep I Have", you'd hafta add a word to lines 1 and 3 of each stanza. For example, "A Charge to Keep I Surely Have". But if you do that and leave alone lines 2 and 4 ("A God to Glorify"), then even that one should fit perfectly. There are probably millions of other hymns that would fit this tune as well. I don't have time to hunt through all of them right now.
- Andy, B'ham, AL
One of the earlier comments about keyboardist Alan Price being the only one listed as arranger, and therefore the only one to collect royalties, is correct. I read that this remained a source of friction between Price and Eric Burdon and the other Animals for decades. In fact, it was apparently still causing problems when the original group reunited in the late 80s / early 90s and recorded a new album ("Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted") and toured the U.S. Other Bands that had longstanding rifts because of songwriting/arranging credit and the financial impact these credits ultimately had include The Band (Levon Helm is exytremely bitter toward Robbie Robertson, claiming the songs were collobartive among the five members) and the Byrds (Gene Clark got all the "B" sides of singles, and ended up driving around in Ferrari when the other members, who didn't have writing credits on singles, were still driving junkers.)
- kevin, Reading , PA
This song is about a whore house,

;D
- Josh, Bloomsburg, PA
Couple Christmastimes ago, I was driving in my car alone late one evening & on the radio I heard a familiar sounding voice singing familiar lyrics to a familiar tune...yet it sounded so weird...turns out it was someone singing "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun"! ! ! And it fit PERFECTLY! "o LIT tle TOWN of BETH le hem, HOW STILL we SEE thee LIE!" Hum a few bars & you'll see what I mean! lol
- Camille, Toronto, OH
Mark from Ridgeland, MS, it was the Blind Boys of Alabama and it was on their Grammy winning CD "Spirit of the Century" in 2001. I love this version, which I actually consider to be a version of "Amazing Grace". It is a great, bluesy gospel song that matches the lyrics of the song perfectly, as well as the mood of the song, or the spirit, if youwill.
- mitch, Carbondale, IL
Eric Burdon and the Animals RULED. Their version of this song had an edgy sound and when they did it. The song itself was considered iffy because of subject matter. This wasn't a song about holding hands or she loves me yeah yeah yeah. Eric Burdon was not just another version of the cookie cutter groups. He stood out at the time and we thought he was a little bit dangerous. To this day this the best version ever recorded and by the way, in Texas where I grew up we all knew what The House of the Rising Son was.......
- Savannah, Galveston, TX
Johnny Hallyday, the French singer, recorded a powerfull translation of hat song : Le P√ČNITENCIER, (penitentiary) with a great brass section. In the 1960's, in Montreal night clubs, a guy named Roland Montreuil was absolutely fabulous with his own rendition of the song. When I first heard it on the radio, by the Animals, in La Tuque, Quebec, I thought that the DJ was playing the record twice in a row ! Burdon was fantastic then.
- Pierre, Chelsea, Quebec, Canada
I love this song, It IS better than the Frijid Pink version. The animals are great, they even got me listening to Frijid Pink (they're not bad)
- Joe, Bellingham, WA
The Frijid Pink version went to #7 on the U.S. Billboard Charts. It's got fuzzy, heavy guitars and is good also, but there's probably no substitute for the Animals' version.
- Paul, Cincinnati, OH
I have an instrumental version of the song that was done by Jimi Hendrix shortly before his death that is just absolutely killer!
- Brian, Paris, TX
My favorite is the Frigid Pink version.
- Greg, New York City, NY
The Animals arrangements especially the guitar was inspired by the 1958 cover done by Lonnie Donegan on his album Lonnie Rides Again. Eric Burdon comments on these origins in a taped interview at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The simalarities are pretty amazing.
- Tom Coxworth, Calgary, AL
I know there are a few different composers/singers for this song. what shocks me most is these to following bands that sing it. The Muse, of which is really good puts a techno style to it and then there is a metal band that had it playing on myspace. i forget the name of that band though
- Richard, Chillicothe , OH
Part of this song is sung by Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day at the beginning of the U2 and Green Day version of the Skids "The Saints Are Coming"
- Wegwad, Lawrence, NY
Well I guess the Animals didn't make that change, but what I'm saying is Dylan sang it from the prostitute's point of view.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
David Dylan didn't change the protagonist. The animals did. It's in the songfacts.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
The best version of this song in my opinion is a cover by Geordie.. in case you didn't know Geordie was Brian Johnson's band before he fronted AC DC.. the guy could could really sing before he ruined it screaming with ac dc all these years
- James, Vancouver, Canada
I personally have been looking for an MP3 recording of the 1963 version of this song by Shelby Flint, and I was wondering if anyone has it. Also, I'd like to find out, did The Moody Blues ever record a version of this song? If so, which album was it on, and where can I find an MP3 recording of their version?
- Annabelle, Eugene, OR
I love this song. I don't know which version is better, Dylan's or The Animal's. It's like Dylan's is deeper but you can't have his without The Animals. BTW, David Allen Coe did a version of this.
- Jon, Oakridge, OR
I have personally toured this House of the Rising Sun with the current owner of the property
there is much more to this story than the song...
- Gary, sandusky, OH
The song was originally about a young girl who became a prostitute. It it mentioned that The Animals took the words from Bob Dylan. If you listen to the 1959 version from Lonnie Donegan, on Lonnie Rides Again, the words were already changed from that scenario to a young man becoming a gambler.
'nuff sed.
- David, London, England
If you listen to the Lonnie Donegan version you will note that he made changes from a female prostitute to a gambler before Dylan, as is suggested. He recorded the song in October, 1959 for an album called "Lonnie Rides Again."
- David, London, England
"Funny....I've always considered it to be about a prostitute going back to the brothel. That's how it was explained to me as a girl of 12 (my aunt who was 5 years older,"filled-me-in" !) LOL !"
- Janetlee, Panama City, FL

I really shouldn't ask, but...your aunt is only five years older than you?
- Ryan, Plano, TX
I have always thought this song to be about someone who has sinned majorly, and the "house of the rising sun" stands for Hell or something similar
- Ashley Jade, Cleveland, GA
I remember being in Viet Nam and listening to this song in a brothel, I mentioned to the girl I was with that I didn't know the song had been recorded in Vietnamese and she said it wasn't Vietnamese but Chinese which I thought was interesting
- Wad, Patch Grove, WY
This song was also covered by Toto in 2002, it's definately a nice version with great guitarsolo.
- Ellen, Germany, Bremerhaven, Germany
the first time i heard this song was the cover version by frigid pink. whatever happened to this group(frigid pink)?i thought they did an awesome job.
Willard,Time Il.
- willard, pittsfield, IL
Best Female version was done by Hot RS in 1977 - Brett, JHB, SA
- BRETT, JOHANNESBURG, South Africa
This version of the classic folk song was inspired by Bob Dylan's 1962 version. The Animals changed the lyrics to a male POV, and the music to R&B and scored a hit in 1964.
- Joey, Boston, MA
The song was originaly written in England by what is believed to be a prostitute in the 1600's(Around the same time that King James assebled the Bible). The haunting words and melody rang out for centurys until it was recorded by various artists in the United states in the early 1900's. The words were changed at that time to represent an actual whore house that existed in New Orleans in the late 1800's. This song is more than just a song. It was meant to live forever.
- Jamie, Cleveland, OH
According to folklorist Alan Lomax in his book Our Singing Country (1941), the melody of "The House of the Rising Run" is a traditional English ballad and the lyrics were written by Georgia Turner and Bert Martin (both from Kentucky). The song was first recorded in the 1920s by black bluesman Texas Alexander and later covered by Leadbelly, Charlie Byrd, Roy Acuff, Woody Guthrie, the Weavers, Peter, Paul & Mary, Henry Mancini, Dolly Parton, David Allan Coe, John Fahey, Waylon Jennings, Tim Hardin, Buster Poindexter, Marianne Faithful, Tracy Chapman and Bob Dylan . . . just to name a few. Also, A guidebook called Offbeat New Orleans asserts that the real House of the Rising Sun was at 826-830 St. Louis St. between 1862 and 1874 and was purportedly named for its madam, Marianne LeSoleil Levant, whose surname translates to "The Rising Sun."
- Alexander, Charleston, WV
Answer Paul..Tulsa,OK...I think you "hit the nail on the head"....I was in high school when the song came out. Everyone always thought the "poor boy" was going back to prison...Ed, L.A. Ca.
- jonjon, L. A., CA
Here are the traditional Lyrics before the Animals changed it for 1960's radio play..
Traditional Lyrics

There is a house in New Orleans They call the Rising Sun.
It's been the ruin of many a poor girl, and me, O God, for one.

If I had listened what Mamma said, I'd 'a' been at home today.
Being so young and foolish, poor boy, let a rambler lead me astray.

Go tell my baby sister never do like I have done.
To shun that house in New Orleans they call the Rising Sun.

My mother she's a tailor; she sold those new blue jeans.
My sweetheart, he's a drunkard, Lord, Lord, drinks down in New Orleans.

The only thing a drunkard needs is a suitcase and a trunk.
The only time he's satisfied is when he's on a drunk.

Fills his glasses to the brim, passes them around.
Only pleasure he gets out of life is hoboin' from town to town.

One foot is on the platform and the other one on the train.
I'm going back to New Orleans to wear that ball and chain.

Going back to New Orleans, my race is almost run.
Going back to spend the rest of my days beneath that Rising Sun.
- Zokambaa, Canuckland, Canada
The Dylan version is not very good.
- Jordan, WV
thats not all entirely true.
A GUY callse isaac william francis helped put together the house the rising sun as he was an original band member be4 they got famous. Hr recentley passed away and im looking for any1 who new him. hes from newcastle but mover to berkshire if u knew him please fone me on 07956202952 my name is joe THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!!!
- joe, reading, England
bob dylan sings it in first person as a "young girl"
- Ben, Aguadilla, United States
rising sun was the nickname of a very prestigious french (i think) prostitute, and she was the main attraction of the whore house, and she was also famous. therefore house of the rising sun
- Chris, Gzira, Europe
I always pictured the houe of the rising sun to be a whore house, and the kids dad got drunk and did it with a whore, so he had no place to live than the house of the rising sun, making it 'the ruin of many a poor boy'
- Brad Nash, Rochester Hills, MI
i thought it also referred to an opium den that doubles as a brothel. "Rising Sun": Allusion to Chinese culture, a culture that has long been associated with opium.
- Chris, Philadelphia, PA
This song was redone a few years ago (i think by a band known as "The five blind men from alabama" or something like that), their version has more of an emphasis on bass and the guitar is played in a slower rythm, but the main difference is they changed the lyrics to the words of Amazing Grace (amazing grace how sweet the sound...) its pretty awesome
- Mark, Ridgeland, MS
Covered by Frigid Pink in the 1970s, becoming a UK hit all over again. Not sure how that cover did Stateside.
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
There's a version of this from the 30's sung from a woman's point of view. The lyric goes "tell my baby sister not to do what I have done...". This version was recorded for posterity by Alan Lomax (not performed, but made a record of it).
- Angelica, La Puente, CA
I always thought that it was about a jail. Sounds like the guys a criminal in jail hence the "Ball and Chain bit".
- Eric, Franklin, MA
it was actually about chuck berry and a bordello, recorded after 2nd try for under $20.00 and the guy at the recording studio never recorded anything electric before and got it right the 2nd try.
- rick, indpls, IN
The song was covered by ANDY GRIFFITH back in the 60s, and is featured on the first "Golden Throats" compilation of hits recorded by actors/non-musicians. His cover is slow, bluesy, and has harmonica. It's actually pretty good.
- john, seattle, WA
Was played at the end of the 2nd season season finale for American Dreams.
- tiga, Mount Carmel, PA
Funny....I've always considered it to be about a prostitute going back to the brothel. That's how it was explained to me as a girl of 12 (my aunt who was 5 years older,"filled-me-in" !) LOL !
- Janetlee, Panama City, FL
Because of Eric's animosity towards Price for the royalty issues, Eric at a concert before performing this will casually annouce "I HATE THIS F--KING SONG!"
- Erik, Davis, CA
Answer Laura... They do a show (or tour stop) in one town, go back to the studio and record the song quickly in one take (we're between stops now), then go back on the road to do another show (or tour stop.) Hope that helps.
- Donald, Cleveland, OH
Question...how could they record it in one take if they recorded it between stops on a tour??? (not that it really matters)
Laura, Lubbock TX
- LAURA, LUBBOCK, TX
This song was originally written about a bordello, but the lyrics were changed as the record company wouldn't allow them to release such a racy song.
- Paul, Tulsa, OK
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