House of the Rising Sun

House of the Rising Sun was a new arrangement of a song that most people associate with the Animals from their number one in the sixties. I had the idea of making it harder with more rhythm and punch. I think I was originally inspired by Queen and  that “We will rock you” kind of beat, you know “boom boom crack, boom boom crack” etc. It worked well in my head but we never had the opportunity to rehearse it so we were running through it in the studio to see if it would work in real life. The people I had pulled in to work on it were enthusiastic and of course extremely talented as I guess you would expect but you can never be sure when you start out with these things if they are going to work or not.
I had asked Phil Spalding to play bass and Preston Heyman to do drums and percussion. The studio was in Henley on Thames,or,to be more precise, tucked away in a country lane a few miles from Henley. I had worked with Phil on the Mike Oldfield tour and knew what he was all about. I knew Preston but we had never worked together although I knew his reputation and he and Phil had been friends for a long time so I was content that we had the right foundation.
I had asked Phil and Preston to recommend a guitarist and they both suggested Alan Murphy. I had heard the name before and knew he had played with “Go West” so Preston asked him if he could do it and he said “yes”.
The first day we sorted out the tempo and the drum parts and just kind of went over and over it with me singing along for a guide. We all got quite into the feel of it and the arrangement got more and more stretched as the day went on. Phil was concerned that it would be way too long for a single but I liked it so much I just told him not to worry and we could edit it down later when everything was done.
Alan was clearly a very gifted guitarist who seemed to meld into his instrument. He was quiet while the three of us were loud and laughing. He was enjoying himself for sure but he was there for the music, the clowning around was for the rest of us.
He played a solo based on a little melody I sang to him but he moved way beyond my first idea and turned into something so beautiful and hypnotic that I went home that night and wrote some new lyrics to sing on top of his solo. I liked it so much that when we mixed it I kept the vocal at a much lower level so the guitar remained prominent. I was very saddened to hear about his death not long after we made this record and I regret not getting to know him better.
I took the track to several studio’s trying to finish it and mix it and ended up in Manchester at “Yellow 2” where I brought in my good friend Nik Green to do some keyboard and some “plinky plonky” sounds I had been hearing in my head.We spent most of a day doing Nik’s bits then did the final mix the following day. I loved it then and I still do. A hit? No chance-a good record? For me? Oh yes!
Listen to House Of The Rising Sun

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