The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals

The House of the Rising Sun was an extremely popular song by The Animals in 1964. However, the song does not start and end with The Animals.  It’s a traditional folk ballad believed to be sung as early as 1904 by coal miners. The earliest found writing of the lyrics was in 1925 in a column by Robert Gordon titled ‘Old songs Men have Sung.’ The first recording made popular was by Georgia Turner, a 16 year old daughter of a coal miner. However, the song talked about a woman who led a life of prostitution at the house of the rising sun rather than a gambler in The Animal’s edition. The real house of the rising sun is believed to be at 826-830 St. Louis St. between 1862 and 1874. Where it was named for it’s madam, Marianne Lesoleil Levant, who’s name translates to Rising Sun, it was reportedly the hub for all vice and cons of the time. It’s an old song embedded with legends changed throughout time. The house of the rising sun is a timeless folk sing centered around those living a life of vice and telling others not to follow their path.

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