♫ The House Of The Rising Sun ♫

I can’t believe that I haven’t played this one already, but according to my trusty archives, I have not.  I never knew there was so much history, so much background to this song, for I thought the Animals were the first to record it and that was that.  Oh no … not by a longshot!

According to Wikipedia …

Like many classic folk ballads, ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ is of uncertain authorship. Musicologists say that it is based on the tradition of broadside ballads, and thematically it has some resemblance to the 16th-century ballad “The Unfortunate Rake”, yet there is no evidence suggesting that there is any direct relation.  According to Alan Lomax, “Rising Sun” was the name of a bawdy house in two traditional English songs, and it was also a name for English pubs.[5] He further suggested that the melody might be related to a 17th-century folk song, “Lord Barnard and Little Musgrave”, also known as “Matty Groves”, but a survey by Bertrand Bronson showed no clear relationship between the two songs. Lomax proposed that the location of the house was then relocated from England to New Orleans by White Southern performers. However, folklorist Vance Randolph proposed an alternative French origin, the “rising sun” referring to the decorative use of the sunburst insignia dating to the time of Louis XIV, which was brought to North America by French immigrants.

“House of Rising Sun” was said to have been known by miners in 1905.[6] The oldest published version of the lyrics is that printed by Robert Winslow Gordon in 1925, in a column “Old Songs That Men Have Sung” in Adventure magazine.[9] The lyrics of that version begin:

There is a house in New Orleans, it’s called the Rising Sun
It’s been the ruin of many poor girl
Great God, and I for one.

The oldest known recording of the song, under the title “Rising Sun Blues”, is by Appalachian artists Clarence “Tom” Ashley and Gwen Foster, who recorded it on September 6, 1933 on the Vocalion label (02576). Ashley said he had learned it from his grandfather, Enoch Ashley. Roy Acuff, an “early-day friend and apprentice” of Ashley’s, learned it from him and recorded it as “Rising Sun” on November 3, 1938. Several older blues recordings of songs with similar titles are unrelated, for example, “Rising Sun Blues” by Ivy Smith (1927) and “The Risin’ Sun” by Texas Alexander (1928). There is a common perception that prior to The Animals the song was about and from the perspective of a woman. This is incorrect, as the narrative of the lyrics has been continually whipped back and forth from a female to a male cautionary tale. The earliest known printed version from Gordon’s column is about a woman’s warning. The earliest known recording of the song by Ashley is about a rounder, a male character. The lyrics of that version begin:

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
Where many poor boys to destruction has gone
And me, oh God, are one.

This song has been recorded by Woody Guthrie, Glenn Yarbrough, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan, to name a few, but the most famous version remains that of The Animals.  According to The Animals’ drummer John Steel …

“We Played Liverpool on May 17, 1964 and then drove to London where Mickie 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)’.”

House Of The Rising Sun
The Animals

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
Dear God, I know I was one

My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new blue jeans
And my father was a gamblin’ man
Way down in New Orleans

And the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase in the trunk
And the only time he’s satisfied
Is when he’s on a drunk

Oh mother, tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Don’t spend your life in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun

I got one foot on the platform
And another on the train
And I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
Dear God, I know I was one
Dear God, I know I was the one

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Alan Price
House Of The Rising Sun lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

59 thoughts on “♫ The House Of The Rising Sun ♫

  1. Pingback: ♫ The House Of The Rising Sun ♫ — Filosofa’s Word | Once upon a time a fairy fell head over high heels for Eric Burdon in "Even Rock and Roll has Fairy Tales"" by best selling new Author Sherry Carroll

  2. Funny, but as famous as this one was and is, and despite that it made me fall in worship of Eric, this is my least favorite song of his. I’m not saying it wasn’t great, but he was basically inexperienced despite his great voice. Every song was better than the previous one. There was a depth of emotion in his voice that made his music unmatchable. He will leave an incredible music legacy when he dies, and really should be honored for his endurance in the business.
    No. 1, all time.

    Liked by 1 person

      • 0ne you’ve never heard of, unless you heard it from me. New York, 1963, America 1968. It is a song about touring New York, then touring America. But its ending, most people hate it, is the tale of a very special acid trip he had, and which very closely duplicated one I had. It is the closest I have ever heard to putting a real LSD experience on vinyl. Portraying a battle between ego and spirit, it ends in a sort of freak-out, but not really. After that experience for me, all in my head of course, I slept for over 24 hours without awakening. Spiritual exhaustion. You cannot tell me it was just an hallucination.
        I doubt you would like it, but if you want to try look on Side 2 of Every One of Us (the album Serenade to a Sweet Lady was on, which you already played for me, thank uou).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great choice Jill! i always thought it was an American blues song, but obviously it is way older. I loved it as a teenager as its raw, bluesy sound was so different to any thing else around. The video made me smile….there was such a disconnect between the clean cut image of the boys, all moving in unison, wearing the same suits etc and the raw power and energy of the song. That clean cut image changed pretty quickly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Anne! I’m glad you liked it! I always thought The Animals were the first to record it, but I was way off base on that one! Oh yes, a definite disconnect between who they were and the image they projected! Same is true for a number of other groups, though. Glad you liked the song! So, it’s spring there now … flowers blooming? We had our first snow last week, and I’ve been bundled up ever since! I find that the older I get, the more the cold bothers me. Enjoy your spring!


  4. One of the songs I grew up with, and a true rock/pop classic. It was #1 here in the first year of Top Of The Pops, our weekly pop music chart show on the BBD. I knew there was a back story but didn’t know the detail – thanks for the history lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to know you liked this one! Yes, I grew up with it, too … never quite understood it as a teenager, but I always liked it! My pleasure … I learned the history lesson only last night when I was researching the song … I always thought it belonged to The Animals!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Heh heh … I didn’t understand it when it first came out, either, just liked the music! And … an added bonus … Eric Burdon was not too hard on the eyes back then. Same here … that’s what I love most about my music posts — learning the story behind the song and the artists.

          Liked by 1 person

            • I’m not surprised! Yes, some songs and artists have fascinating backgrounds and it makes me so glad I started these music posts! It started, really, as a whim … just a way to take a break from the political fare … but it caught on and both me and my readers enjoyed it, so it became a regular feature. Did you hear that Charley Pride died today of COVID? The first Black man to make it big in the country genre.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I started with mental health as my theme, and still cover it, but it’s very easy to let music take over, isn’t it! I hadn’t seen that about Charley Pride. Sad news, but I haven’t seen any coverage here.

                Liked by 1 person

                • My blog actually started out around 2011 as a venue for my book revues and social justice issues, such as racism, homophobia, etc. But then, in mid-2015 … enter Donald Trump and life would never be the same again! Nor will it ever be, methinks. No matter, though, for I enjoy what I do with my blog … it has evolved, as things tend to do.

                  Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad, Michael!!! Well, the weather has definitely cooled down … had our first snow last week, and the temps were hovering around freezing until yesterday, when it got up to around 14° C. But, as for me cooling down … every time I get another ‘breaking news’ alert on my phone, my blood pressure shoots through the ceiling and I am once again steaming! This, too, shall pass!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When we lived in Chiswick, our next-door neighbour’s sister was married to Alan Price whom we met on numerous occasions. We used to give him a chord and a theme and within 20 minutes he’d come up with a new song! I seem to recall he earned a sizable amount of royalties on this particular song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As Eric tells the story, when they were recording House most of the guys in the band knew nothing about the music business, except Price and producer/manager Mickey Most. Most asked who to put as arranger (writer) for the song, and Price piped up, “Put my name on it.” Most, understanding how things worked, added his name with Price’s. When the royalties started rolling in, all the money went to them. Burdon, Steele, Valentine and Chandler got not one cent. After that all their names went on as writers/arrangers.
      But the rift had been created, and resentment was high. After a few more records, the guys got together and kicked Price out. It was around the very same time Most disappeared to places unknown and took the Animals’ bank account with him. Luckily they still had a recording contract to get them going again, but the original group broke up shortly after.
      Price has hated Burdon ever since for being kicked out. He did not leave on good terms. Even so, they got together for two albums in the 80s as the Original Animals. Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted was a masterpiece, but Animal’s Ark was a disappointment as old wounds arose during the recording sessions.
      How things stand between the surviving members today I do not know. According to an interview with Eric about ten years ago, he endured a lot of things from bad managers, but he didn’t care who got the main part of the money, as long as he could be the frontman on stage. His time with War was indicative of that, as he helped War become world famous, and then left that group because he thought he was holding them back.
      He now lives in the California desert, and plays with various groups as health allows.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha … yes, it IS funny how that happens! I remember when I was in my 20s, and a neighbor celebrated her 50th birthday. I said to her, “Well, you’re really well-preserved for your age”. I really meant it as a compliment, for at that time I thought 50 was quite old! Ancient, even! And now that I’m nearly 70, somehow 50 is as a spring chicken!

      Liked by 1 person

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