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House of the Rising Sun




See: for a history of this very old song.

The "rising sun" has been a symbol for brothels in British and American ballads. In the traditional folk version of the song, the main character is either a prostitute or a prisoner. The Animals changed it to a gambler to make their version more radio-friendly.

It is not known whether or not the house described in the lyrics was an actual or a fictitious place. There is a B&B in New Orleans called the House of the Rising Sun, decorated in brothel style. The owners are fans of the song, but there is no connection with the original place.




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Chords  (Alternate Version)
Sheet Music

(Original Woody Guthrie version)

1) There is a house in New Orleans
You call the Rising Sun
It's been the ruin of many a poor soul
And me, oh God, I'm one

2) If I'd listened to what mama said
I'd be at home today
Being so young and foolish, poor girl
I let a gambler lead me astray

3) My mother she's a tailor
Sews those new blue jeans
My sweetheart, he's a drunkard, Lord God
He drinks down in New Orleans

4) He fills his glasses to the brim
Passes them around
The only pleasure that he gets out of life
Is a hoboin' from town to town

5) The only thing a drunkard needs
Is a suitcase and a trunk
The only time that he's half satisfied
Is when he's on a drunk

6) Go and tell my baby sister
Never do like I have done
Shun that house down in New Orleans
That they call that Rising Sun.

7) It's one foot on the platform,
One foot on the train.
I'm going back down to New Orleans
To wear my ball and my chain

8) My life is almost over
My race is almost run
Going back down to New Orleans
To that house of the Rising Sun

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