If you’re in the mood for a straightforward and blunt song, I can’t recommend anything better than this – “The House Of The Rising Sun” by “The Animals“. Hailing from the sixties, this song just oozes class, with exceptional lyrics; and a dead easy (But really powerful) melody and rhythm. My grandfather told me this was the first lead guitar rift he ever learnt. The tone and the pitch of the vocals may not please you, but if you check out the lyrics; you’ll surely be stunned. The most famous part of the song is “..And God I know, I’m One.” It’s so simply put, but it makes SO much meaning! They just don’t make songs like these anymore, do they? Let’s get reviewing, then!History: “The House Of The Rising Sun” (Also known as “House Of The Rising Sun” or “Rising Sun Blues” is a folk song from the United States, which tells us a story of life gone wrong in New Orleans. There were many cover versions produced (For the complete list, click here), but the most prominent among them was produced by the English Rock band “The Animals”. It hit the Number 1 position in U.S., U.K., Canada, Sweden and Finland. The most prominent thing about the song is the fact that it’s played with a continuous C Minor (Or Chromatic Minor). It’s a really easy rift to play. Surprisingly, The Animals chose to release the song at two different dates in the U.S. and the U.K. It was released on June 19, 1964 (U.K.) and August 1964 (U.S.). There are two versions of the song, one being the 4 Minute 29 Seconds U.K. Full Song Edit Version and the other being the 2 Minute 58 Seconds U.S. Edited Version. [Source: Wikipedia]
What it tries to convey to us: It tells us about a boy who has experienced life as hell, and he lives to tell about it; long story short – It’s about life gone bad in New Orleans. Ironically, the title of the song has a completely different meaning, wherein in reality the song is actually a depressing account of a boy’s life (Talk about oxymoron usage!)
Review: The song starts with the famous electric A Minor chord (Hilton Valentine), and a minor hint of bass. Eric Burdon starts the vocals at 00:12, in an ever so ferocious tone. After all, it has been described as a “Howling” and “Soulful” tone by the critics. The song starts with the chorus itself (A very rare spectacle). The first stanza starts after a brief interlude (00:46), and indeed, he does ‘howls’. Now here’s the awesome part. What do expect after a stanza? A chorus, right? Nope. Not here. The second stanza starts as soon as the first one ends (Of course, after a brief interlude). The lyrics are downright amazing. There are simply no words to describe them. Simple, but very elegant. Even though the song is fast paced, it seeps every minute detail of what the boy is trying to tell us into our brain. The tune is, of course, really catchy (Just as all the simple tunes are). Then there’s the interlude starting at 01:42, all the way through till 02:26. It’s fast paced, but engraves every detail of the the horrible situation in your head. That’s what real guitar solo’s were; not the ones played by the ‘Oh-So-Cool’ Linkin Park. Please! If you want to get a taste of genuine Rock music, listen to the songs from the 60’s to the 90’s. The best 30 years of English music, I would say. Getting back to the point, the third stanza is a bit slower compared to the previous two, and the pitch is also a little slow, but it regains the tempo slowly, and completely regenerates itself from 03:00. That’s when Eric Burdon starts with the lines which made the song what it is today – “I’ve Got One Foot On The Platform, The Other Foot On The Train; I’m Going Back To New Orleans, To Wear That Ball & Chain”. Just amazing, isn’t it? The chorus starts after the stanza (Finally!), but just as an aid for assisting the song to it’s end. The vocals end at 03:55, so do the vocals (04:05), and the the song ends with the long piano Minor key (04:29).
Rating: This song officially changed the face of Rock music, if not Folk Rock music. We have Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, The Who, etc. etc. because of these geniuses. A straight-from-the-heart 10/10 for this song! Awesome vocals and lyrics, and a haunting tune. Go for it guys! A must listen-to!!
Lyrics of “The House Of Rising Sun” : http://artists.letssingit.com/the-animals-lyrics-the-house-of-the-rising-sun-xk5r54w
Download link for “The House Of Rising Sun” : http://migratingtaste.oldeenglish.org/music/animals-houserisingsun.mp3 (Right Click on link, click “Save Link/Target As”)