The Animals: “The House of the Rising Sun”

ALBUM: The Animals

YEAR: 1964

WRITER: Traditional (arrangement credited to Animals organist Alan Price, though the entire band claims to have been involved)

Topped the Billboard Hot 100.

The great Chuck Berry inspired pretty much every band that came out of the U.K. during the British Invasion era. But although The Animals covered many of his songs, singer Eric Burdon explains that Berry was really responsible for them having a number-one hit with a song that wasn’t written by Berry and wasn’t even vaguely in his style. “We were touring on the Chuck Berry tour and everybody on the Chuck Berry tour wanted to out-rock Chuck Berry. I thought, why bang our heads against a brick wall? I got this idea in then: put a red spotlight on me, man, we’ll finish the first part of the show — y’know, because we were sub-headliners to Chuck — and it was a great spot for us every night. So instead of going out with [sings Chuck Berry riff], which everybody else was doing, we ended with a red spotlight, y’know, on the lead singer and the organ playing this haunting thing and it worked. It was magic, and we recorded it the next week.”

The legendary Chuck Berry, who was indirectly responsible for The Animals recording “The House of the Rising Sun,” turns 90 years old today (October 18th).


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