Revisiting "House of the Rising Sun"

The Animals performing House of the Rising Sun

Many years later, Eric Burdon of The Animals performing the song


Wandering aimlessly in the world of YouTube, and chanced upon this oldies, "The House of The Rising Sun". The lyric is deceivingly simple & (not truly) straight to the point, but enchanting (Now the only thing a gambler needs | Is a suitcase and trunk | And the only time he's satisfied | Is when he's on a drunk) Real nice. Heh.

According to Wikipedia on the song:
The phrase "House of the Rising Sun" is often understood as a euphemism for a brothel, but it is not known whether or not the house described in the lyrics was an actual or fictitious place.

One theory speculated the song is about a daughter who killed her father, an alcoholic gambler who had beaten his wife. Therefore, the House of the Rising Sun may be a jail-house, from which one would be the first person to see the sun rise (an idea supported by the lyric mentioning "a ball and chain," though that phrase has been used as slang to describe marital relationships for at least as long as the song has been in print).

Because the song was often sung by women, another theory is that the House of the Rising Sun was where prostitutes were detained while they were treated for syphilis. Since cures with mercury were ineffective, going back was very likely.

Intriguing.

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