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House Of The Rising Sun?


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I've just listened to Nina Simone's live version (from At The Village Gate album) of this song, and it gotv e thinking (as most great songs do)! Does anyone know what the song is actually about? I heard it's about a prostitutes den? Beautiful, anyhow.

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old folks tail of some sort bout, ruining your life in a broffel, drinking to much, and ending your life cause you ballsed up from what i take from it hahaha.

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I think it's about a gambling den. When the narrator says "I'm going back to New Orleans, to wear that ball and chain", he's talking about the gamling addiction that's destroyed him ("Oh momma, tell your children, not to do what I have done") and his father (who was, of course, "A gambling man, down in New Orleans"). The House of the Rising Sun may peddle other vices (drugs, prostitution, etc...) but the song never makes explicit mention of them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I met Chas Chandler many years ago at Polydor, and the mention of the song came up because Eric was doing a single 'War'...its origin is unknown and classified as 'An American Folk Song' Chas said it was to do with the early railroad track layers, most of them Asian, Japanese and Chinese. He recalls discussions on the lyrics being to do with the Chinese opium dens where addicts went to indulge, hence the house of the rising sun--so Nellington is almost on the mark as the ranchers copied this with saloons for booze and gambling along with prostitution...which would tie in with New Orleans vice district which had opium dens, gambling etc to entice weak men who would return every week.

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It was a womans song. Dylan sang it with the womans lyric in his early days. Yes it was about prostitution.

When the animals covered it, Eric Burden sang a different lyric.(from a man's perspective). I assumed it was he that changed it, but I could be wrong.

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