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GUEST,John Garst Origin or title of House of the Rising Sun? (184* d) RE: Origin or title of House of the Rising Sun? 23 Aug 05


I think its interesting to compare the "boy" and "girl" versions of the song. In the "girl" versions, the atmosphere is always tragic. The "girl" is a prostitute and she reflects on her terrible life and warns her "baby sister" "not to do as I have done."

The "boy" versions aren't that dark. While they warn that the House of the Rising Sun has been the "ruin of many a poor boy / And me, O Lord, for one," it isn't clear just what this ruination consists of. It seems to be the development of a whoring habit and the attendant loss of money. In fact, the song extols the glories and attractions of the Rising Sun while giving warnings.

Finally, the verse

I'm going back to New Orleans
My race is almost run.
Gonna spend the rest of my (weekly pay)/(life)
Beneath that Rising Sun.

says, in effect, "I can't stay away. I'm going back to have a really good time before I die."

The"boy" versions are macho, the "girl" versions are tragic.


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