The House Of The Rising Sun

Album: The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol 2 (2013)

Songfacts®:

  • The roots of this classic African-American folk song date back to 18th century English ballads before emigrants took it to America. The oldest known existing recording is by Appalachian artists Clarence "Tom" Ashley and Gwen Foster, who recorded the tune in 1934..
  • The most successful version of this folk tune was recorded by The Animals in 1964, after they originally performed it while touring England with Chuck Berry. Animals lead singer Eric Burdon, recalled to us: "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."

    Released as a single, it became a #1 hit for the band in the UK, the US, Canada, Finland and Sweden.
  • Five Finger Death Punch covered this for their The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 2 album, releasing it as the disc's second single. Guitarist Zoltan Bathory recalled how the band changed up the classic song to give it a hard-rock vibe, most notably, by switching the song's time signature from 6/8 to 4/4. "We had the idea to do this for a while," he explained. "The interesting thing about this song is that [it's] actually in a time signature of 6/8 which is a waltz… and rock music and waltz doesn't necessarily mix right."

    He added: "So basically the challenge was: 'How do we make this song work? How do we take away that goofy vibe and how do we make it into a rock structure?'"
  • Zoltan Bathory co-directed the song's music video with Thought Pirates Films' Brian Neal. It was filmed in the Nevada desert and features a high stakes poker game with some dire results. "The song's lyrics are about gambling and drinking and we wanted to recreate those gun-swinging outlaw poker scenes familiar from classic Western movies," Bathory explained. "However, I just couldn't see us riding horses in the video so we shifted eras and went for a Mad Max-like post-apocalyptic vibe with the cars and the bikes we ride anyway."

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