Song #3: “House of the Rising Sun”

I think everybody who ever learned how to play guitar before 1990 practised playing “House of the Rising Sun” at some point. I know I did. This version by the Animals is the most popular, but once you forget about it and play it like a half drunk hobo in a boxcar, the bluesy roots of the song will take it to another level so that every time you play it, it’s a different song.

My father had The Animals album with this song on it, but I only listened to “House of the Rising Sun” from it. I was recently at a friend’s house who had The Complete Animals best-of collection playing the whole time. It was like the first Rolling Stones record, a bunch of white kids ripping off the blues, but not bad. Just close your eyes and try to not to imagine their silly matching outfits. Think of cigarette smoke and the smell of whiskey instead. Yeah.

About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John's, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at

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