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House of the Rising Sun

House of the Rising Sun


by The Animals


While the guitar riff at the beginning of "House of the Rising Sun" may come first to mind when you think of the 1964 classic, the musical high point is really when Alan Price's organ takes the stage, first in the solo between the third and fourth verses, and then toward the end when it meets Burdon's powerful vocals head on.

Price's organ playing did as much for the Vox Continental Organ as it did for Price. The "Connie" was introduced in 1962 and rapidly became a favorite among touring musicians. It approached the sound of a superior Hammond or Wurlitzer, but it was half the size. The 1960s musicians dedicated to their Vox Continental included Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five, Paul Revere of Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Doug Ingle of Iron Butterfly. This is a formidable pedigree, but it was Price's organ work in "House of the Rising Sun" that sent every would-be keyboard player to the Vox showroom.

Not everything about this track worked out so well, though. A self-taught musician, Price arranged most of The Animals' music. When the time came to choose a credit to put on their "House" record for the arrangement, the band was told that there was only room for one name, so they put Price's (Anthony 148-149). This was the beginning of the end for The Animals. Price got all the royalties, and the other members were mad about it. (In retrospect, Burdon realizes that just crediting the arrangement to "The Animals" would have avoided this issue). Price left the band in 1965 and went on to other projects, including the Alan Price Set and a long solo career.

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