Songs I Could Listen To Over and Over Again…The Animals, “House of the Rising Sun”


I’ve decided to make 2013 the year of musical transparency for me. As I alluded to in my last post, I have gotten to the point where I am downright embarrassed of my own musical tastes. Everybody else is just SO MUCH COOLER than me. How have I tricked so many editors into thinking I’m a worthy music reporter? Just last week at work I went from the UHF soundtrack to some MC5 selections and on to Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks. Don’t tell me sane people find that a perfectly normal range of music to work to.

But, nonetheless, music is my job. And the more I establish myself, the more people want to know what I “like.” It’s time for me to get over my stupid, stupid embarrassment about it. And there’s no better way to do that than to just lay it all out there. Thus, I give you what I hope will be a recurring column  in this little blog: Songs I Could (And Probably Will) Listen to Over and Over Again For The Rest Of My Life And Never Get Tired Of. SICAPWLTOAOAFTROMLANGTO for short.

I’m starting with a long-established favorite of mine: The Animals, “The House of the Rising Sun.” Just a few short years ago, as it played on the PA in a restaurant (Blue on Market in SF — which Google is now telling me CLOSED SIX MONTHS AGO. OMG RIOT), I decided to officially proclaim it a favorite song.

Well, a favorite song of the pop realm. I have other favorite songs, but they’re entirely different: “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins, “Rhapsody in Blue” by Gershwin. It just doesn’t seem fair to call it a favorite in comparison to those, because they’re not equal.

Anyway, “House of the Rising Sun” has always been a song I am really drawn to. An old American hill song that’s been covered by freakin’ anyone and everyone, I’m pretty partial to the most famous version: The Animals’ 1964 recording; the one that’s all over classic-rock radio. I grew up on the British Invasion, so anything that sounds even remotely like it could have been produced across the pond between ’64 and ’68 I am sort of innately drawn to. But above all, it’s that damned creepy mood that I love about it. It’s a lot like what I love about “Feed the Birds,” actually. Six notes in and you get that little rumble in your gut, this innate sense of dread. And yet…you want to get closer to it.

Or maybe that’s just me.

(Also, OMG, accidental Google discovery: did you know there’s like a bunch of GIFs created for this song? Not that many, but still. Even four is a lot more than I ever expected.  Just seems like a really strange use of the GIF format to me.)

It’s also a song that I’ve been wanting to learn on the accordion. I’ve been trying: it’s actually not as hard as it looks. It will still take me a while to get as good as this guy, though:

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