Posts Tagged ‘House of the Rising Sun’

Ranking Bob Dylan Songs, #70: House of the Rising Sun

We’re back, baby! After a near two-month vacation, the Bob Dylan Rankings have returned…with a vengeance! And we’re making some changes. It’s nothing drastic, but after much consultation with the Bob Dylan Brain Trust, I’ve decided that proceeding through Bob Dylan’s catalog with no real rhyme or reason, as I’ve been doing thus far, is not ideal. So we’re going to impose some order on this madness, and go forward in a vaguely chronological fashion. The Top Ten will still be withheld until the end, and I reserve the right to switch the order up for any reason I deem fit, but, for the most part, we will go through Dylan’s oeuvre album by album, starting with Bob Dylan and moving through Nashville Skyline (the songs from The Basement Tapes will be dated based on when they were recorded, that is, between Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding, since they weren’t released until after my arbitrary cut-off).

First, a confession: for a long time, I was under the impression that Bob Dylan actually wrote “House of the Rising Sun.” Forgive me for my ignorance, but I can defend myself. After all, the grim darkness of the chords, the loneliness and desperation of the lyrics, and the vivid portrait of the protagonist that emerges from the song are all things that Dylan would eventually master and come to be recognized for. And whether or not it was Dylan who put his own trademark on this song or the song that put its trademark on Dylan, “House of the Rising Sun” was a perfect choice for his first album. Continue reading

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