The House Of The Rising Sun

Album: The Animals (1964)
Charted: 1 1
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  • 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 its occupant 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.

    2) 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 covered the song after it became a hit for The Animals.
  • 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.
  • In 1964, this folk song about a New Orleans brothel became a transatlantic hit for a British rock band when The Animals recorded it. Their version landed at #1 in the UK on July 9, and in America on September 5.

    The Animals performed this song while touring England with Chuck Berry in May 1964. 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."
  • Bob Dylan included this on his first album in 1962, using a folk arrangement he picked up from hearing Dave Van Ronk perform it and singing it as "it's been the ruin of many a poor girl." When The Animals recorded it two years later, it was transformative listening for Dylan, who learned he could put apply a rock rhythm to a folk song. He bought an electric guitar and started to use it, famously at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival where he did an electric set for the first time.

    "Bob Dylan, who was angry at first, turned into a rocker," Eric Burdon told Songfacts. "Dylan went electric in the shadow of The Animals classic 'House of the Rising Sun.'"
  • The Beatles began their chart domination in America when "I Want To Hold Your Hand" went to #1 in February 1964. They landed five more #1 hits before "House Of The Rising" topped the chart on September 5, beating every other British Invasion group to the top except for Peter & Gordon, who spent a week at the top in June with "A World Without Love," a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
  • This was the first international hit Mickie Most produced. An Englishman, Most went to South Africa in 1959 and formed a band called Mickie Most and his Playboys. Since rock music had not come to the country, Most recorded popular songs like "Johnny B. Goode" and "Shake, Rattle And Roll," running up a string of hits. Upon returning to England in 1962, he turned to production work, since he had honed his songcraft skills in South Africa.

    After seeing The Animals perform at Club A-Go-Go in Newcastle, he began producing the band; their first recording was "Baby Let Me Take You Home," which was released as the group's first single and made UK #21. Next was "The House of the Rising Sun."

    Most quickly became the top producer in England, adding Herman's Hermits, Donovan, Lulu and Jeff Beck to his roster.
  • The Animals recorded this in one take, as they had perfected the song from 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."
  • The UK version of this song runs 4:29, which was longer than any other #1 hit in Britain to that point (most hits of the day came in under 3 minutes). The Animals' UK label, Columbia, didn't want to release it as a single because of its length, but the group's producer Mickie Most fought for it.

    In America, the song was edited down to 2:59.
  • The first Animals single was the far more traditional "Baby Let Me Take You Home," which reached #21 in the UK and #102 in America. "House Of The Rising Sun" was their second single, and the one that broke them big.

    The Animals had 14 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 Songfacts: "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."
  • Animals organist Alan Price was the only band member given credit for arranging the track, 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 Detroit rockers Frijid Pink made their mark with a cover of this song that went to #4 UK and #7 US in 1970. In America, two other artist have charted with the song: Santa Esmeralda (#78 in 1978) and Dolly Parton (#77 in 1981). The thousands who have recorded the song include Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Dave Van Ronk, The Supremes, The Chambers Brothers, Leslie West, Sinéad O'Connor and Muse.
  • In the UK, the Animals version was re-released in 1972 (going to #25) and again in 1982 (#11).
  • After The Animals split up, Eric Burdon soured on this song and went through a long period where he wouldn't perform it, saying he "regarded the song as an embarrassment." He later made peace with it, regularly performing it in various styles.
  • The English art rock band Alt-J covered this for their 2017 Relaxer album. Their version is so different to the other interpretations by the likes of The Animals and Nina Simone that it barely even registers as a cover version. The group told NPR's All Things Considered:

    "We have always seen ourselves as a bit of a folk band, and so it seems fitting to try our hands at a song like this. No one knows for sure where this song originated, but our version is very much set in New Orleans. The first verse is mostly from the folk song, the second is our own, thus continuing the folk process of taking a song, changing it, and passing it on."
  • Heavy Young Heathens are an American film and TV composing duo consisting of Aron and Robert Marderosian. They covered "The House Of The Rising Sun" for the trailer to the 2016 film The Magnificent Seven. In February 2022, the brothers sued US skating pair Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, and NBC, for the unauthorized use of their version of the traditional folk song during the pair's short program at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Comments: 101

  • George from Vancouver, CanadaThis song was written while they were stil in the UK, who's to say it had anything to doi with New orleans, prison OR brothel? I think it's a generic brothel & they let speculation develop on the New Oirleans direction, as they were trying to become big in the USA at the time (they started out as a bitty Blue band in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, but Burdon sucked on the trumpet, so he switched to vocals& they switched to rock)
  • LzalewskiThe ending of this classic always bothered me as to how cheesy it sounded. Like my grandmother playing one of those in-home organs everyone had back in the early 1970s.
  • Eddie from Bozeman,mt.In the video, why was the front guitarist grinning like he was?
  • John Kraken from Wallsend, Tyne And Wear.Eric Burdon and other members of The Animals would have been familiar with a large public house called ‘The Rising Sun’ on the Coast Road (postcode NE28 9HP) near Wallsend in North Tyneside, near Newcastle which is named after a synonymous colliery nearby. The American song may have held more significance to band members because of the Rising Sun pub.
  • Billy Ross from Forest MissI LOVE y'all and the song
  • Burto from AustraliaIt may have been written as "CHUMP" but Eric didn't sing it that way in the film clip....Sounds like "TRUNK" to me...I'm no lip reader, but you can't say/sing "CHUMP" without closing your lips at the end of the word, which Eric clearly doesn't.
    Iv'e always loved this song and is one of my favourites still. I always originally thought the only time he was satisfied was when he's on a "TRUMP" (in reference to card games), but I can see now it is "DRUNK" which probably makes more sense.
  • Gk from TennesseeLyric correction (Animals version):
    Now the only thing a gambler needs
    Is a suitcase and a CHUMP
    And the only time he’d be satisfied
    Is when he's on a drunk
    I co-wrote this song, and everyone online gets the lyrics wrong. Hope this helps.
  • Jennifer Mcmullen from Shreveport, LouisianaNo discussion about "The House of the Rising Sun" is complete unless the great Grammy award winning cross-over artist Jody Miller's elegant and passionate recording is mentioned. Jody had been performing a folk version of "The House of the Rising Sun" in the early 60's as part of her 200 song coffee house repertoire. In 1973, Jody recorded "The House of the Rising Sun" as a nearly four minutes long track for her Epic Records album "Good News," produced by Billy Sherrill. The reception the recording garnered was so favorable that the song was released as a single (edited down to 3:20) for Hot Country radio release, as well as the title track for an album of the same name. Although Jody's version of "The House of the Rising Sun" made the Billboard Hot Country Top 40, peaking at #29 in January 1974, some DJs refused to play it because of the perceived "brothel" overtones. However, the song remained Jody's most requested favorite of fans at her shows for decades. Jody Miller's vocal interpretation of "The House of the Rising Sun" is deeply powerful, and many disc jockeys, including Ralph Emery, consider it one of her finest performances on record. There is something for everyone in Jody's version of this song. in hindsight, Epic fell down on the job by not marketing the record to the Hot 100 and Easy Listening formats. Do yourself a favor, and go listen--without prejudice--to Jody Miller's superb recording of this timeless classic.
  • Ken from PhiladelphiaI agree with Marga 100%. The basic framework of the song was the Dylan version (that Dylan, of course, lifted from Dave Van Ronk), using his chord progressions and basic arrangement. Make no mistake, they did a lot more than simply copy his arrangement. They made it their own, and it was a genuine group effort. Hilton Valentine came up with the haunting guitar riff, which, I think, makes the song. Alan Price’s Hammond Organ, of course, also plays a big role in transforming the song. Eric Burdon tweaked the lyrics to make a man’s story told in the first person, and, as a folk and blues standard, it was never played with a rhythm section so John Steel and Chas Chandler had to create the drum fills and bass lines respectively.

    Now is probably the right time to also point out what Eric Burdon was referring to in the quote given above: "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." (Caps added by me). By most accounts, Alan Price simply stole the arrangement credit (and associated writing royalties which because it was an uncopyrighted, traditional song went to the arranger). The rest of the band insists the agreement was just to use his name as a convenience because the whole band couldn’t be listed. The plan was that Price would then share his song royalties equally. Instead Price left the band shortly thereafter and kept every penny of songwriting royalties the song has made since (and those numbers must be staggering at this point). That is what started the infighting that led to the band breaking up.
  • Marga from Puerto Rico Quoting The Library of Congress in an article about influence of Folk Music in Rock and particularly “The House of the Rising Sun”..
    The American Folklife Center collections also have had a resounding influence on rock music.
    In 1964, the British rock group The Animals released the track “The House of the Rising Sun,” which quickly topped the charts all over the world.
    “It was also an early example of a No. 1 rock hit created from a traditional folksong, prompting some to label it ‘the first folk-rock hit,’ “ Winick said. The song went on to be honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.
    According to Winick, the consensus is that The Animals copied the version of the song found on Bob Dylan’s debut album. Dylan acknowledged Dave Van Ronk as his source, and Van Ronk acknowledged HALLY WOOD, who took her version from Alan Lomax’s book “Our Singing Country.”
    “That version was transcribed in large part from a performance Lomax recorded for the archive in 1937 from a Kentucky miner’s daughter named Georgia Turner,” Winick said.
    Why is a Puerto Rican talking Folk Music? Harriet “Hally” Wood moved to Puerto Rico and was my next door neighbor as I grew up. I first heard THOTRS played by her during an Alan Lomax visit since Hally was also Musicologist and transcriber of Woody Guthrie for The Smithsonian and Library of Congress.
    I was blessed with meeting Pete Seeger at his home and listen to History of the Music they sang.
    Nobody can pinpoint the exact origin and certainly has been changed along the way. Hally transcribed all Leadbelly’s songs as well. Rising Sun Blues and House of The Rising Sun are 2 different songs, both Blues. Alan Lomax, Hally Wood and Pete Seeger all agreed THOTRS was a Brothel and was in female interpretation of a girl forced to be a sex server by terrible circumstances. Hally was a mezzo soprano which was not so common for Folk at the time but I love it and LOVED Her! I have a playlist on youtube under Hally Wood!

  • Coy from Palestine, TexasThe original folk song was about a woman's prison. It was later altered to be about a brothel. That's the nature of folk music. Each singer changes it, adds or takes away verses. It's been recorded dozens, maybe hundreds of times and Burdon and the Animals did the definitive version. They claimed they heard it on a Nina Simone record, but Lonnie Donegan had a huge hit with it in England in the 1950's so it's probable that Burdon first heard it by Donegan? The English had no teen music radio in the 1950's and bought blues records that had been left by GI's in World War Two. That's why so many English groups were singing American Blues in their early records. Even Led Zeppelin borrowed many tunes from American Blues records.
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaIt can't be the women's prison (theory two), as he sings, "been the ruin of many a poor boy... I am one"; a brothel was always my initial understanding. . .
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaLOVED LOVED Alan's organ on this song, can't imagine the song without it. I know his taking ownership was one reason why he was kicked out later on, wish I could tell him how much I liked his playing.
  • Jo from Death Valley National ParkThis song was wrote by Georgia Turner who was a prostitute at The Raising Sun brothel.
    It has been my favorite song since I first heard it by the Animals when I was 11 years old.
    "There is a house in New Orleans they call the Raising Sun and it's been the ruins of many a poor girl and Lord I know I'm one"... "go tell my baby sister not to do what I have done".
  • Coy from Palestine, TexasThe first version of this song was NOT recorded by Ashley and Foster in 1934. The first recorded version was by Alger "Texas" Alexander which came out in 1928 as Rising Sun Blues. It's the same song and it WAS not about a Brothel, but a women's prison in New Orleans-called Rising Sun because of the wrought iron sun in the gate.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 4th 1964, the Animals made their American performance debut at the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn*, New York....
    At the time their debut Billboard Hot Top 100 record, "The House of the Rising Sun", was in its first of three weeks at #1 on the Top 100...
    {See the second post below}...
    * Some web sites claim it was the Paramount Theater in the Times Square area of Manhattan.
  • Steppy from DetroitThe original was small short-lived hotel on Conti Street in the French Quarter. It was built at 535-537 Conti St. back in 1808 and burned down in 1822. An excavation and document search in early 2005 found evidence that supported this claim, including an advertisement with language that may have euphemistically indicated prostitution. Archaeologists found an unusually large number of pots of rouge and cosmetics at the site.
    The 535-537 Conti location is now home to the "Historic New Orleans Collection" a museum and research center established in 1966.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 18th 1964, the Animals performed "The House of the Rising Sun" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    The week before the song was at #38 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and that was its 11th and last week on the chart, on August 30th, 1964 it had peaked at #1 {for 3 weeks}...
    On the same 'Sullivan' show the British quintet also performed "I'm Crying", at that time it was at #24 on the Top 100, and two weeks later on November 1st, 1964 it would peaked at #19 {for 1 week} and stayed on the chart for 9 weeks...
    R.I.P. original bassist 'Chas' Chandler {1938 - 1996}.
  • Bitzathis from MarsTo us Marianne is a girl's name but he was in fact a man. In those days in France it was not uncommon to have Marianne for a boys name so its easy tom see why people screw this up. Also in those days women didn't run gambling/brothels so much esp both together. The reff to an English folk song has never been shown to be accurate this is why Wikipedia has a {{Citation needed}} tag. They never put balls and chain on female prisoner this is an obvious reference mens feeling to the drudgery of being married but in this case he's married to the gambling house (addicted to it vice). The oldest known existing recording is by Appalachian artists Clarence "Tom" Ashley and Gwen Foster, who recorded it for Vocalion Records in 1934.[1] Ashley said he had learned it from his grandfather, Enoch Ashley.

    There is a house down in New Orleans
    They call the Rising Sun
    And it's been the ruin of a many poor boy
    And me, oh God , for one

    Then fill the glasses to the brim
    Let the drinks go merrily around
    And we'll drink to the health of a rounder poor boy
    Who goes from town to town

    The only thing that a rounder needs
    Is a suitcase and a trunk
    And the only time he's satisfied
    Is when he's on a drunk


    Now boys don't believe what a girl tells you
    Though her eyes be blue or brown
    Onless she's on some scaffold high
    Saying "Boys, I can't come down."

    Go tell my youngest brother
    Not to do the things I've done
    But to shun that house down in New Orleans
    They call the Rising Sun


    I'm going back, back to New Orleans
    For my race isa nearly run
    Gonna spend the rest of my wicked life
    Beneath that Rising Sun
    So what is a rounder you may ask? answer a habitual drunkard or wastrel going around from place to place, as in a habitual or definite circuit.
    Now the nail in the coffin about boy or girl, how many women find themselves in the vice of a gambling, drinking and/or brothel compared to men and who out of that group needs that advise more to be careful of it. Mostly in those days woman never voluntarily went into that life, its forced onto them by men or outside circumstances.
  • Eric from Stockton-on-tees, United KingdomI was lucky enough to be in the support band (Mickie Kemp's Blue Caps) the night House of the Rising Sun was announced as top of the charts. We played the Astoria Ballroom, Wilson Street, Middlesbrough, Cleveland, U.K.
    During the interval Eric Burdon came out of their dressing room next to ours and showed us the telegram he had just received. It was a magical moment and they were a magical band back then.
  • Mike from Columbus, OhUndoubtedly one of the greatest songs of all time.
  • Coy from Palestine, TxAlso: 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 from Palestine, TxThis 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.
  • Senja from Los Angeles, CaThe 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.
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkWhat 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!
  • Karen from Louisville, KyRE >>"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.
  • Martin from Fresno, CaI 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.
  • Matt from Hki, FinlandIt'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:
  • Ogouz from Paris, FranceLike 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.
  • Reya from Reynoldsburg, OhThe 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!
  • David from Atlanta, GaDoesn'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.
  • Tony from Long Island, NyTo 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
  • James from London, United KingdomOn 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
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlOMG! One of the best ever songs made...hands down! AMAZING!!! Love his range in this song!
  • Bookbabe from New York, NyHarold 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.
  • Jessi from South Bloomfield, OhThis has been really helpful with my History of Modern American Music project on the 60's!
  • Alexis from Ispra, Italy

    Texas Alexander song Risin' Sun has nothing to do with House of the rising sun
  • Daniel Adams from Northumberland, PaThis is The Animals best song by far! I like Eric Burton's vocals on this masterpiece.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn 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 from Sauquoit, NyIn 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!!!
  • Harold from University Park, PaActually, Eric, the "ball and chain" lyric means that he has a gambling addiction.
  • Erica from Minford, Ohanswer annabell from eugene, try
  • Duke from Fresno, CaLeadbelly 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.
  • Usctrojans from Chicago, IlUsed 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.
  • Kevin from Los Angeles, CaTo 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!
  • Larry Greenlee from Sharps Chapel, TnI 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.
  • Victoria from Port Of Spain, Trinidad And TobagoAlso 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!
  • Nady from Adelaide, AustraliaMuse does a sweet ass version of this song, but the origonal is definately the best....the hardcore alternative is always there
  • Megan from Denham Springs, La'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!
  • Tony from Red Deer, AbA timeless classic. The guitar run at the beginning ranks right up there as one of the most recognized tunes ever.
  • Andy from B'ham, AlWow, 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.
  • Kevin from Reading , PaOne 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.)
  • Josh from Bloomsburg, PaThis song is about a whore house,

  • Camille from Toronto, OhCouple 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
  • Mitch from Carbondale, IlMark 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.
  • Savannah from Galveston, TxEric 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.......
  • Pierre from Chelsea, Quebec, CanadaJohnny Hallyday, the French singer, recorded a powerfull translation of hat song : Le PÉNITENCIER, (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.
  • Joe from Bellingham, WaI 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)
  • Paul from Cincinnati, OhThe 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.
  • Brian from Paris, TxI have an instrumental version of the song that was done by Jimi Hendrix shortly before his death that is just absolutely killer!
  • Greg from New York City, NyMy favorite is the Frigid Pink version.
  • Tom Coxworth from Calgary, AlThe 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.
  • Richard from Chillicothe , OhI 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
  • Wegwad from Lawrence, NyPart 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"
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScWell 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 from Rock Hill, ScDavid Dylan didn't change the protagonist. The animals did. It's in the songfacts.
  • James from Vancouver, CanadaThe 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
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrI 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?
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrI 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.
  • Gary from Sandusky, OhI 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...
  • David from London, EnglandThe 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 from London, EnglandIf 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."
  • Ryan from Plano, Tx"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?
  • Ashley Jade from Cleveland, GaI 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
  • Wad from Patch Grove, WyI 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
  • Ellen from Germany, Bremerhaven, GermanyThis song was also covered by Toto in 2002, it's definately a nice version with great guitarsolo.
  • Willard from Pittsfield, Ilthe 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.
  • Brett from Johannesburg, South AfricaBest Female version was done by Hot RS in 1977 - Brett, JHB, SA
  • Joey from Boston, MaThis 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.
  • Jamie from Cleveland, OhThe 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.
  • Alexander from Charleston, WvAccording 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."
  • Jonjon from L. A., CaAnswer 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.
  • Zokambaa from Canuckland, CanadaHere 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.
  • Jordan from WvThe Dylan version is not very good.
  • Joe from Reading, Englandthats 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!!!!!
  • Ben from Aguadilla, United Statesbob dylan sings it in first person as a "young girl"
  • Chris from Gzira, Europerising 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
  • Brad Nash from Rochester Hills, MiI 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'
  • Chris from Philadelphia, Pai 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.
  • Mark from Ridgeland, MsThis 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
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesCovered by Frigid Pink in the 1970s, becoming a UK hit all over again. Not sure how that cover did Stateside.
  • Angelica from La Puente, CaThere'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).
  • Eric from Franklin, MaI always thought that it was about a jail. Sounds like the guys a criminal in jail hence the "Ball and Chain bit".
  • Rick from Indpls, Init 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.
  • John from Seattle, WaThe 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.
  • Tiga from Mount Carmel, PaWas played at the end of the 2nd season season finale for American Dreams.
  • Janetlee from Panama City, FlFunny....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 !
  • Erik from Davis, CaBecause 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!"
  • Donald from Cleveland, OhAnswer 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.
  • Laura from Lubbock, could they record it in one take if they recorded it between stops on a tour??? (not that it really matters)
    Laura, Lubbock TX
  • Paul from Tulsa, OkThis 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.
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