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The House of the Rising Sun

Updated on January 29, 2017

The House of the Rising Sun

The House of the rising sun must be amongst the most recorded of all songs. No-one know who wrote it and so there is no copywrite and it can be freely recorded without paying dues to anybody.

Although the various interpretations of The House of The Rising Sun vary considerably the lyrics do not. The only major change that takes place is determined by the sex of the singer.

If a female "And it's been the ruin of many a poor girl"

If a male "And it's been the ruin of many a poor boyl"

And just now and then the character.

House of The Rising Sun
House of The Rising Sun | Source

Where Was The House Of The Rising Sun?

There are numerous theories and suppositions as to the whereabouts of The House of the Rising Sun. As the song mentions New Orleans it is easy to assume that is where its history lies.

The song or versions of it were doing the rounds in England back in the 16th Century. The house was undoubtedly a brothel and the song itself a bawdy folk ballad. The brothel may well have been in Soho as some have suggested but 'Rising Sun' is not such an unusual name that it could literally have been anywhere.

The House of the Rising crossed the Atlantic with immigrants from England and was adapted and changed with the people who sung it and made it their own.


Oldest Recorded Version 1937 - certainly not the best

And in New Orleans

Some say the House of the Rising Sun was in New Orleans. There is even evidence to support the fact. This was not however the first house but another but, importantly actually in New Orleans.

The house was located on 826-830 St. Louis St. in New Orleans. It was occupied by one Madame Marianne LeSoleil  (The Sun) in 1862 and open for business.It was closed down in 1874 after complaints from people in the neighbourhood.

There was another Rising Sun, a hotel located on Conti Street which burnt down in 1822. The hotel, it has been suggested was a place where gentlemen went for a good time. An archaelogical dig in 2005 found huge numbers of liquor bottles as well as rouge pots. Make of it what you will.

The Animals were not the first to record the song but it was they who made it famous.

The Animals - 1964 - They made the song Famous

Different again is Frijid Pink. I love it at times.

Pink Floyd or perhaps not - Frijid Pink more like. Great version.

There is nobody who sings like Nina and here she makes the song her very own. A truly wonderful version.

Nina Simone - Brilliant!!!

 BTO, quite different again. Magical.




 How about a Japanese version?

Naomi Chiaki

Tracy....have I saved the best to last? Sometimes I think so.

Tracy Chapman

And me?

I love this song. I always have. I hear it most weeks at least once sung by different bands. Usually in a S.E. Asian accent and with several of the words wrong but it makes no difference and is all the more magical for the mistake.

Below the sign for the House of the Rising Sun in Pattaya, Thailand.

The House of The Rising Sun
The House of The Rising Sun


Submit a Comment
  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    Hello, hello,- Thank you. It was fun to pull this together. I daresay I could write a further two on the very same song.

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    Austinstar - I think the one listed as by Pink Floyd is actually Frijid I am told that Pink Floyd never recorded it. I am not 100% on that. Please check it out if you get the chance.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    This is a lovely written hub and a great tribute to a beautiful song. Thank you Peter.

  • Austinstar profile image


    8 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

    You missed the Frigid Pink version which is way rockin'. I never heard the BTO version, but it was superb. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    4hourmike - very sadly I have never been able to play any musical instrument. I envy your capability and the one you can play.

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    DREAM ON - I stirred a lot of my own memories pulling it together.

  • 4hourmike profile image


    8 years ago from Thailand

    Another nice hub, Peter. As a boy, I taught myself to play just one song on the guitar. You guessed it... House of The Rising Sun. I never progressed from there. It's still the only one I can play. Sure brings back memories.

  • DREAM ON profile image


    8 years ago

    Wow thanks for the trip down memory lane.


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