House of the Rising Sun by The Animals

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House of the Rising Sun by The Animals

The Animals House of the Rising Sun

Folk Rock

One of the most commercially successful versions of this traditional folk song of misdirected life in New Orleans was by the British invasion group The Animals. In 1964, their folk rock version of “House of the Rising Sun” went to #1 in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, Sweden, and Finland.

Eric Burdon, who was with The Animals at the time, claims to have first heard it at a club in Newcastle, England, sung by Johnny Handle, a Northumbrian folksinger. The Animals were touring with Chuck Berry at the time and wanted something different to stand out. (Chuck Berry is a hard act to follow, as were The Beatles, who were a powerful force at the time.) Well, it was different, and it became their signature song. Another reason “House of the Rising Sun” became so popular, is that many kids took up playing the guitar, and it was an easy riff to imitate.

The Animals formed in Newcastle and then moved to London. The group had many changes over time, but on this track were Eric Burdon (vocals), Alan Price (organ and keyboards, Hilton Valentine (guitar), John Steel (drums), and Bryan “Chas” Chandler (bass). The name for the group, they said, had nothing to do with a wild stage act — or their manners. It was named after one of their friends “Animal” Hogg. (Poetic license and all that.)

Here are the lyrics to this cautionary tale in “House of the Rising Sun” by 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
And God, I know I’m one

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

Now the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and a 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
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the house of the rising sun

Well, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain

Well, there is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God, I know I’m one”

For another song by The Animals: “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.”

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to chill out and listen to the featured song on the stereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ songs there. There will probably be more sixties British invasion music. The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals.

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Jane Minogue


  1. […] If you are interested in reading about and listening to another song by The Animals, please click here for “House of the Rising Sun.” […]

  2. Elle aka "Cat" says:

    So welcoming, like an well-worn flannel shirt.❤️ Much appreciation 🐆

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