House Of The Rising Sun
Release Date: June 19th, 1964
Words by: Roland Ellis
March 13th, 2015
Name a better cover in the history of music.
Hendrix's "All Along The Watch Tower" is a winner, sure; and Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help From My Friends" arguably puts the original to shame also; but really, has there ever been a cover like The Animals' "House of the Rising Sun" in terms of galvanising the idea of the perfect reinterpretation?
Bob Dylan certainly felt that The Animals' version was beyond compare. Dylan had himself recorded "House" for his debut album 1962, but upon first hearing The Animals' cover in '65 he "nearly fell out of [his] car seat" because he loved it so much. In fact, Dylan has only ever performed "House" once since the early 60s, and that was in Newcastle in 2007 (home town of The Animals). Many have interpreted this as a nod of respect to The Animals' influence on Dylan's revolutionary change of sound in the mid 60's: within six months of "House", Dylan released 'Bringing It All Back home' and 'Highway 61 Revisited', two of his most highly regarded records; and two records that are, without question, sonically akin to The Animals' "House".
It's one of those rare 'draw a line under it' moments whereby you can look at a thing that has endured so many incarnations and say, 'Yep, there's absolutely nothing else to be done here'. Well…nothing else to be done except to slide the track underneath one of the greatest montages in film history (See the finale of Scorsese's 'Casino'), and from there, rely on it to perfectly summarise the horrific fall that awaits men without a moral compass.