This Old House

The home of sin and misery?

The Nest is putting the bump in humpday, as it’s time for us to smash our new laptop over the head of another of music’s sacred cows in my Top 30 Iconic Songs I Can’t Stand countdown!  If you thought it was rude of us last week to strike John Lennon while he was wearing his glasses, well, we’re going to get a little braver this week and take on a pack of wild animals!  And no, I don’t mean DJ Scratchy’s misfit friends from the shelf, though I could use Snuggle bear’s machete to cut a bitch this week….

#29. “House of the Rising Sun” – The Animals

Earworms have existed long before radio was ever invented to allow the catchiest pop tunes to emanate from our car speakers.  Folk songs are nearly as old as civilization itself, and back in the days when there were no lawyers around to file copyright suits, sometimes the older songs would lend themselves to create newer ones.  This is how America wound up with a National Anthem that was just a re-write of an old English drinking song, or how the Alphabet Song totally ripped off Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…

That’s OK, Vanilla Ice probably did that as well and got away with it…

And so over the course of centuries, a popular American folk song eventually came in to being about a mysterious “House of the Rising Sun” located somewhere in New Orleans.  Dating back to at least the early 1900’s, this ditty was sung by people to pass the time of day in an era without Facebook or memes.  Eventually, when recording technology began to turn certain singers into stars, many of these budding artists turned to the Rising Sun when they weren’t in the mood to actually write something new.  The song was just a novelty, though, as even the greats like Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan were unable to actually capitalize on their version of it.  At least until 1964….

Something tells me we need to get out of this place…

An up and coming British band by the name of The Animals recorded their version of “House of the Rising Sun” that year, which they had previously used to close live performances with.  It turned a tired old piece of Americana into an instant classic…

“House of the Rising Sun” is considered one of the seminal songs of the first British Invasion, and a beloved classic rock treasure that Rolling Stone ranked at #122 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of the Rock and Roll era.  It is also an extremely loud and annoying piece of pre-psychadelic dogshit that I wish would run afoul of the voodoo queen of New Orleans…

Looks like someone needs their new blue jeans sewn… with the end of this stick!

Even worse, this is a song that apparently can’t even be salvaged by cover versions… and God, I know it’s spawned a whole fucking bordello of them.  The artists who chose to renovate this House all proceed to shout like there’s a raging fire in the studio and everyone needs to evacuate immediately, just like Eric Burdon does throughout most of his four minutes of eardrum shattering garbage.  So much for that warning you yelled about the children not to do what you had done…

Great, now even the squirrels have been corrupted!

If this entry doesn’t mark the ruin of this poor boy, I’ll return next Wednesday with another crappy classic that needs to be shot at sunrise…


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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40 Responses to This Old House

  1. I hate that song too… I sang it with a friend to become members of her daddy’s band… while we howled about the gamblingman and the house in New Orleans her father removed tears from his eyes… I thought he is so touched because we were so darn good… but it were tears from laughing and the audition ended with the short comment: girls, forget it!

    • It was definitely the wrong song for you…. or anyone else for that matter.

      • I mean is was her father… how can a father be so cruelty to his daughter? they played anyway in clubs were all people were plastered, so no one would notice that we are completely talentfree… butt you are right… it was the song… yes… I’m sure now ;o)

  2. Yay! I hate this one, too!! Always have. I can’t stand Five Finger Death Punch’s remake of it either. You’re right. None of the remakes made it any better. It still sucks.

  3. draliman says:

    How dare you. How very dare you! This song is a classic in every way. Harrumph.

  4. Yup. Hideous sound/song in all its iterations. But the Animals’ version of this droning-on song with its hideous organ makes me want to simultaneously barf and crawl into a hole. I couldn’t even listen to it because the organ notes are already reverberating in my ear. Awk!!!!!!

  5. Ally Bean says:

    Kind of indifferent to this song. I learned to play the opening chords on guitar during the brief time I took guitar lessons. So there’s that.

  6. Trisha says:

    This is one that I’ve just tuned out over the years. When I read House of the Rising Sun, all I could think of was The Devil Went Down to Georgia, which uses that line somewhere in it, I think.

    While I agree with you on the screaming and I hate the weird, 60’s sounding background music, this one has never annoyed me enough to leave an impression. I’m never going to listen to it on purpose again though!

    • You are correct on the title appearing in Devil! That is an iconic and overplayed song itself, but whether it will make my countdown or not, we shall see!

      This was one that didn’t occur to me right away when I first started writing up my list of songs for this countdown, though there have been a few late additions I had to work onto the list… including one I can’t believe I didn’t think of until a certain popular artist died the other night!

      • Trisha says:

        When I think of that certain popular artist that died the other night, I think of I Won’t Back Down but I’m guessing that’s not the song that has fallin on your reluctant ears upwards of 20 thousand times too often. It will be interesting to see!

        I’ve been trying to think of which songs I like that might make your list but it’s hard for me to judge which songs might be considered iconic. I grew up in a parallel culture and I’ve lived in my own little world most of my life. It’s probably very telling that the words “house of the rising sun” make me think of a song that has “chicken in a bread pan pickin’ out dough” in it. 🙂

  7. fanrosa says:

    It pains me to have to completely agree on this one with you, but I have reasons! This was a standard in every band my dad played in when I was a kid…. which means I was roped into playing it incessantly whenever they needed a bass for practice. (Practice? Practice????) And, of course, since I was a child and couldn’t leave the house, if I was actually playing I was forced to listen to it. Such slow and draggy bullshit. I think they did Waylon’s version which didn’t even have the advantage of a wah wah or a fuzz box…..ha!

  8. JackieP says:

    I’ve always been kind of ….eh…..about this song. I can take it or leave it….usually leave it. 😉

  9. I can’t believe that voice is coming out of that baby-faced bachelor! lol

  10. Thom says:

    Don’t hate it, but it ranks pretty low on my list of Animals singles. Actually, my favorite of theirs is “Boom Boom”, which just missed the Top 40. You get a pass on this one. LAST week’s entry, however…..

  11. ody N biskit ………faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…tell yur dad ta take thiz song OFF thiz list N ree place it with sum thin else………. this izza classic 🙂 ♥♥♥

  12. noelleg44 says:

    So sorry, I love this song – but only the original version!

    • Perfectly OK with me. If so many people didn’t love this song, it wouldn’t be on my list. I’m glad to see more people disagreeing with me this time around than with Imagine…

      • Thom says:

        Oh I disagreed on “Imagine”…I just couldn’t think of a response that didn’t include the words #%^^#@, *&R$$@##%, and #%^*(^%$$^$##@@%&*!!!!

        So I just fumed silently lol

  13. When I was a little bitty kid we sang this in school. I was in second grade I think. I thought it was really weird but I never asked any adults about it. I wondered why the guy complained so much and why WE had to sing about it. Seriously, all of our moms sewed so what was the big deal? This is the real me, not the vampire me speaking. No wonder I write about vampires and dark shit. We also had to sing a song about a guy who got bit by a snake and died while singing to his girlfriend about it. There were two versions of the snake song. One was some awful south of the border type of thing with a lot of vibrato yodeling going on. The other was a sappy sweet soprano version. What the hell were my teachers thinking?

    • I remember those days of grade school music class and all of the silly songs we had to sing every day. Every once in a while, my brain will dredge one up and I’ll end up getting earwormed by a goofy kids song I hadn’t thought of in decades.

      Here’s one that pops in my head all the time… “Never Argue With a Bee” The only video I could find of it on YouTube is of a grade school chorus. The vinyl version my music teacher used to play had kazoo music to imitate the buzzing sound…

  14. I am SO glad I’m not alone in loathing that song. It’s awful!

  15. Piglove says:

    Now this song I have heard. Kill me now. Snorts with piggy laughter. I can’t get it out of my head! XOXO – Bacon

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