Friday, September 5, 2014

House of the Rising Sun

It was fifty years ago today that The Animals' version of "House of the Rising Sun" hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, "House of the Rising Sun" did not originate with The Animals. In fact, it is a classic American folk ballad whose authorship is essentially unknown. The earliest known recording of the song was by folk performers Tom Ashley and Gwen Foster in 1934. Mr. Ashley said that he had learned the song from his grandfather, Enoch Ashley.

Over the years several others would record "House of the Rising Sun", including Roy Acuff in 1938 (under the title "Rising Sun"), Woody Guthrie in 1941, Lead Belly in 1944 (under the title "In New Orleans") and 1948 (under the title "House of the Rising Sun"), Josh White in 1947, and Bob Dylan in 1961. According to Eric Burdon of The Animals, he learned the song from a Northumbrian folk singer Johnny Handle. The Animals' version has since become for many the definitive version.

Without further ado, here are The Animals with "House of the Rising Sun". 

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