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Song of the Week: House of the Rising Sun

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At 54 years old, “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals has become a staple in many people’s playlists as one of the top covers of all time. Between the balladic manner of the song and the solos throughout, the song possesses a vintage rock tone that has been loved for years on end. The song went on to earn its place in the Grammy™ Hall of Fame in 1999, cementing its place as a rock anthem to be sung throughout the following half-century.

While The Animals’ cover of the song got the most traction, the origin of it has been heavily debated. The song was covered twice beforehand by Bob Dylan in 1961 and first drafted by Woody Guthrie in 1941. However, the song is rumored to have ties to other events in history. These included a hostel run in the 1800’s by one Madame LeSoleil Levant (which translates to The Rising Sun), and/or old miners’ ballads from coal miners who were working away inside their respective caves.

Stories streamlined together into one soulful song, depicting the toils and regrets of a gambler who is on the road. The tone of Eric Burdon reflects the events laid out in the song, and teleports the listener directly into the emotionally burdened mind of a broke gambler, who is looking for a way to find his way back onto the road and repair his life. His ebbing and flowing surges within each line really calls to the audience, and drew me to his struggles. Listening to “House of the Rising Sun”, you feel the emotions of someone in shambles and trying to repair their own life. In general, the song has become a classic that has captivated rock fans for over half a century.

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Decatur High School, GA
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