What does The House Of The Rising Sun mean?

Animals: The House Of The Rising Sun Meaning

Album cover for The House Of The Rising Sun album cover

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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    Jul 1st 2023 !⃝

    It is my understanding that there was a brothel in New Orleans named House of the Rising Sun named after a french woman, Soleil Levant which translates to rising sun. I believe open from 1862-1874.

  2. anonymous
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    May 22nd 2021 !⃝

    It’s the name of an old 1930s bar in Wallsend , a shipyard town near Newcastle upon Tyne which possibly influenced the Animals to record this song as this is where the band grew up, a lot of the words resonates with the public house and the area as well as the era , it’s a perfect match.

  3. JJJ
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    Jan 16th 2021 !⃝

    I heard the singer's problem was that he caught syphilis at the whore house and was dying. Not so much the gambling or excessive alcohol. In any case, it is such a powerful, emotional, and disturbing song.

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 9th 2020 !⃝

    For me, this song is all about sex addiction.
    In the first verse the singer describes the "house" known as a brothel - being the ruin of many a poor boy, himself being one.

    The second and third verses are of the singer describing his home life and the exploits of his father being a gambling man, whilst his mother tried to make good the family home.

    The fourth verse refers to a warning to all others out there not to follow this path and to live a life of misery.

    Verse five is the most prominent in all the song. It describes the singer as being torn, hence having one foot on the platform whilst the other is on the train - he knows he is helpless against this addiction and yet is trying not to go back there, but he knows he will end up doing that and "wearing the ball and chain" which is the weight of the addiction.

    The final verse is simply a repeat of the first verse and is important as it basically refers to the fact that his life is going round in constants loops - run entirely by the helpless sexual addiction.

    It is a great song, and one which is very close to my heart.

  5. anonymous
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    Jan 17th 2020 !⃝

    I am wondering about the meaning of that metaphor of one foot on the platform and the other one on the train...

  6. anonymous
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    Mar 29th 2019 !⃝

    It's about a poor bad boy going back to prison, The prison is the House of the Rising Sun.He had done some really bad things in life and he knows he is going back to that Ball & Chains in the House of the Rising Sun.

  7. anonymous
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    Jul 4th 2018 !⃝

    I heard it was a opium den (house)

  8. anonymous
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    Mar 30th 2018 !⃝

    Perhaps it is both. It could be a Casino and a brothel. Gambling in those days included everthing a person wanted. Saloons had dancing girls until they walked up the stairs to the girls room. There were only 2 rules pay me and do not even try to kiss me dude!!!!

  9. anonymous
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    Feb 13th 2018 !⃝

    My interpretation of this song is where heroin addicts would go shoot up. They would be there all night until the sunrise.

  10. anonymous
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    Mar 1st 2017 !⃝

    His father sold him into prostitution for gambling money. Men liked boys back then too. The ruin of many a poor boy.

  11. anonymous
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    Jan 26th 2015 !⃝

    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.

  12. anonymous
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    Sep 7th 2014 !⃝

    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.

  13. anonymous
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    Nov 10th 2013 !⃝

    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.

  14. anonymous
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    Nov 9th 2013 !⃝

    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.

  15. anonymous
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    Nov 4th 2013 !⃝

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

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