THE OLD SCHOOL HOUSE of the RISING SUN
Gibsonton Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
June 12th, 2008 – by: oldschoolbill
The melody is a traditional Old School ballad, but the song became popular as an African-American Folk song. It was recorded by Texas Alexander in the 1920s, then by a number of other artists including Leadbelly, Middle School Bill, Woody Guthrie, Josh White and later Nina Simone. It was her version The Animals first heard.
Bob Dylan recorded this on his first album. The Animals version was one of the first songs to put a Rock rhythm to a Folk song, something Dylan did a lot soon after. In the traditional Folk version, the main character is a prostitute. The Animals changed it to a gambler to make their version more radio-friendly.
The Animals performed this while touring England with Chuck Berry. It went over so well that they recorded it between stops on the tour.
This was the first song since 1962 by a British band to hit #1 in America that was not written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
The Animals recorded this in 1 take, as they had perfected the song from years of performing it on the road. The Animals' drummer John Steel recalls "We Played Liverpool on May 17 1964 and then drove to London where Mickie (Most) had booked a studio for ITV's Ready Steady Go! Because of the reaction we were getting to 'Rising Sun,' we asked to record it and he said, 'Okay we'll do it at the same session.' We set up for balance, played a few bars for the engineer - it was mono with no overdubs - and we only did one take. We listened to it and Mickie said, 'That's it, it's a single.' The engineer said it was too long, but instead of chopping out a bit, Mickie had the courage to say, 'We're in a microgroove world now, we will release it.' A few weeks later it was #1 all over the world.
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