What does The House Of The Rising Sun mean?

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Animals: The House Of The Rising Sun Meaning

Song Released: 1964


The House Of The Rising Sun Lyrics

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one

My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new bluejeans
My father was a gamblin' man
Down in New Orleans

Now...

  1.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 26th, 2015 1:28am report


    My class studied this song while analyzing ballads and my take is that essentially, it is a brothel. Many brothels often will have the front of a casino or bar to hide the business of prostitution. The "house" causes the singer great misery and he even says it's a house of sin. Most people would automatically think of prostitution, especially since it's the place that's "been a ruin" to many boys, not men. One can infer that innocence is being taken since he refers to them as boys, rather than men. Interestingly enough, the House of the Rising Sun is also referred to in "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" as being the place where the devil resides. Great song nonetheless.



  2.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 7th, 2014 9:12pm report


    I think it could be about his home. His father being a gambler and a drunkard and his mother not making much money. It's a bout a bad home environment which drags him down and gets him mixed up in addictions and home problems. It is not a happy song, but it's a warning. And a hopeful song, the hope is that one day he will be a new man and not a drunken gambler.



  3.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 10th, 2013 11:32am report


    I agree with the rehab clinic. "Rising Sun" sounds like a place of hope and recovery. It's not a brothel or a casino. I think the confusion comes from taking the lyrics too literally. "And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy... and God I know I'm one" seems to refer to the House of the Rising Sun, but I think it actually refers to his addiction. It's poetic license to phrase something not in a logical way but in a way that fits the song and carries the most emotional punch.



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 9th, 2013 11:59am report


    Our interpretation of the song is that the protagonist is a gambling man and the "House Of The Rising Sun" a Casino in New Orleans. In the song he tells about his father being a gambling addict so maybe he adapted his father's behavior. Also the house "has been the ruin of many a poor boy" would rather speak for a Casino than a brothel. Furthermore, his father went to New Orleans for gambling he goes to New Orleans later on as well. Yet, he still tries to fight his bad habit and warns others not to become like him.



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 4th, 2013 11:19pm report


    it is a whore house...yes a house of whores.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 14th, 2013 1:57am report


    this song is about a negro man who builds his house with the hard earned money that he made working as a farm hand picking cotton in the fields down in new orleans. all his peers spend thier pay freely and drink and smoke and gamble the money away.
    when the negro man finaly sells the house that he built, the sheriff arrest him (for tax evasion) and he goes off to the state prison to where his ball and chain.
    "so mothers tell your children not to do as i have done, spend all your life in sin and misery in the house of the rising sun"



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 22nd, 2012 7:14pm report


    My take is that the House of the Rising Sun is something like a rehab clinic. I know this is a very old song, and I think that a rehab clinic (it wouldn't have been called that in the 30's say) would have been more like a prison or halfway house. It's a young person battling addiction. His family was disfunctional mainly because his father wasn't around (traveling, gambling and drinking instead of supporting his wife and kids). The most telling line is "one foot on the platform, the other foot on the train" which shows the struggle of addiction. Should he fight it or just give in to it? He's going back to N.O. (the House of the Rising Sun, the place of hope) to wear that ball and chain (to fight his/her inner demons and it won't be easy, it's like losing your freedom to try to get your life back).



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 18th, 2011 8:39pm report


    I think its about a prison in new orleans



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 1st, 2011 6:37am report


    It's a song about a whore house and how we SHOULDN't use em!!



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 26th, 2011 4:11pm report


    It is about a whorehouse



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 6th, 2011 2:53pm report


    It is a gambling house/bordello.



  12.  

    doodooboy89
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    Oct 4th, 2009 10:17pm report


    This song is reference to a whore house in New Orleans


    "There is.... A House...... Down in New Orleans..... They call.... They call The Rising Sun...."




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