Friday, September 6, 2013

If you are not having fun here, you're doing something wrong

As a musician I love music.  There are so many kinds, and so many different things to say in music, it amazes me.  Sometimes, I think my brain is a human jukebox.  I really liked it when I was trucking and could listen to Sirius radio.  There was endless music of all kinds and from many different decades. 

I had always liked 60's music, whether it be a lot of the standards or the deep cuts.  However, I was listening to a song that I had heard a zillion times before, and something hit me.  I was listening to "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals.

(Note:  There are many versions, but The Animals version was the one I was listening to.)  I know all the lyrics.  I've always sung along to the radio.  However, something struck me funny this time.

In the end, he says not to come down to New Orleans, and spend his life in sheer misery.  I got to thinking....  So (in the song) you are in a brothel and you are having a bad time?  Seriously?  You are in a brothel, and in sheer misery?  I got to thinking, if you are not having fun here, you're doing something wrong.

But, I decided to do a little fact checking.  And for that I would like to post a reference.

It seems the song has gone through hundreds of changes over the years.  It was originally supposed to be from the prostitute's point of view.  And she's not having a good time.  Here are the lyrics before they were changed to the man's point of view.

There is a house in New Orleans,
They call the Rising Sun.
It's been the ruin of many a poor girl,
And me, oh God are one.
If I had listened like momma said
I would not be here today.
But being so young, and foolish too,
That a gambler lead me astray.
Come tell my baby sisters,
Don't do what I have done.
Please shun that house in New Orleans,
They call the Rising Sun.
I'm going back to New Orleans,
My race is almost run.
I'm going back to New Orleans,
Beneath the Rising Sun

So now it starts to make a little more sense.  I guess being a prostitute in a depression era New Orleans' brothel could be thought of as "sheer misery." 

I guess I'm glad I had my weird thought.  And I am also glad I did a little fact checking.  Now I know a little something I didn't know before.

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