Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | May 18, 2013

“House of the Rising Sun” recorded 49 years ago today

Hi Everyone,

On this day in 1964, the Animals recorded “House of the Rising Sun” in just one take!

The Animals’ rendition of the song, which starts with the famous Electric Guitar A minor chord arpeggio, is recognized as one of the classics of the 1960’s British Invasion. Music Writer Lester Bangs labelled it “a brilliant rearrangement” and “a new standard rendition of an old standard composition.”

It ranked number 122 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. It is also one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and was placed at number 240 on their Songs of the Century list.

In 1999 it received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award and besides critical acclaim, it has long since become a staple of oldies and classic rock radio formats. A 2005  poll ranked it as Briton’s fourth favourite number one song of all time.

Actually the song was not new, just the way that the Animals played it. Bob Dylan had recorded it 3 years earlier in 1961 and the oldest known existing recording is by Appalachian artists Clarence “Tom” Ashley and Gwen Foster, who recorded it for Vocalion Records in 1934.  Ashley said he had learned it from his grandfather, Enoch Ashley. More information on the origins are here.

I play a somewhat different version, also recorded in one take, so if you like it please share it around and/or leave a comment.

If you want to learn either version let me know next time we get together.



  1. G’day Leigh,

    Many thanks for your latest email. Always look forward to receiving them.

    And, see you again on Sunday, 21st. July at 9.00 a.m. for “Basic Guitar,” at W.E.A.

    Cheers, Hugh (the 82 year old codger & student of your “Classical Guitar for Beginners.)

  2. Thanks. Leigh I enjoyed reading the history. It has inspired me to learn the song and seek my fame and fortune with my guitar.

  3. G’day Leigh,

    Thanks for your latest email of Saturday about the history of the “House of the Rising Sun,” as I have only just downloaded your email, as I often forget to check my emails on a daily basis.

    Regarding practice of Classical Guitar, the “Spanish Study” is coming along slowly, but “Greensleeves” still needs lots of practice.

    Also, I opened some old guitar notes, and, began playing musical notes and chords of Am & G for “Shady Grove” (8 bars,) and, “Aura Lee/Love Me Tender,” (11 Bars & 2 Repeats,) using musical notes and chords C & D7 & G7 & E7 & Am & A7, which needs lots of persistent practice, as I haven’t used chords for a very long time: and, got a moral boose, watching Michael Parkinson’s “MasterClass,” the people who got where they are in their various professions, got there by practice, practice, practice – no short cuts.

    Looking forward to your future emails, whilst also realizing that you are a man with a busy schedule.

    Wishing you every Good Wish.

    The 82 year old codger, Hugh

    On Sat, May 18, 2013 at 9:41 AM, Glenelg Guitar Studio wrote:

    > ** > glenelgguitarstudio posted: “Hi Everyone, On this day in 1964, > the Animals recorded “House of the Rising Sun” in just one take! The > Animals’ rendition of the song, which starts with the famous Electric > Guitar A minor chord arpeggio, is recognized as one of the classics of the > 1″

    • You really are an inspiration Hugh.
      Great to hear from you.

  4. Thank you Leigh for your newsletter and wonderful inspirational Video clips and your amazing versatility. I am starting to achieve the playing of “Greensleeves”. and I still practice everyday . Thank you from the old lady beginner from your April WEA Class for allowing me to have that experience

    Yvonne Batistich

  5. An Excellent Acoustic Rendition, of a classic song… Well done Mr Fopp, and thanks for posting..

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