Saturday, March 13, 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your #1 All-time Favorite Song

Some questions are harder to answer than they first seem.  And so it is with tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun question from Randy Seaver.

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along; cue the Mission:  Impossible! music!):

What is your all-time favorite song?  Yep, number 1.  It's hard to choose sometimes.  If you made your favorite all-time Top 40 music selections, what would be #1?

2.  Tell us about it.  Why is it a favorite?  Do you have special memories attached to this song? 

Put it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook post.   Please leave a link in a comment to this post.

I spent several hours thinking about this.  I'm a musican and a singer, and there are just so many songs I love!  Almost anything someone says can make me think of song lyrics.  I almost started to make a list of #1 song by category (favorite by recording artist, favorite in a movie, favorite performed in recital, favorite practiced for performance, favorite performed with the USC Marching Band, . . .).

Then I thought about it from the perspective of "what songs do I drop everything to listen to when they come up?"

And one clearly rose to the top:  "The House of the Rising Sun."

I'm familiar with the version recorded by The Animals in 1964, and that's what I hear in my head when I think about the song.  But it apparently has a much longer history, at least according to Wikipedia.  It's said to be a classic folk ballad, with the earliest published version of the lyrics dating to 1925 but references to the song going back at least to 1905.

Musicologists have studied "The House of the Rising Sun" for several decades, and most information about it is still conjectural.  No definitive origin has been found.  Researchers still can't agree on whether the "House" in question is a brothel, bar, or jail or whether there was an actual "House" in New Orleans that the song was written about.

Now, why is this my favorite song?  The lyrics speak to me somehow.  No, I have not spent time in a brothel or jail, thank-you-very-much, so that's not the reason.  I think something about the hopelessness and sorrow in the song.  They strike a chord with me, down deep.


  1. Congratulations on picking one song. I'm with you, I have favorite songs by artist, by genre, etc. I didn't even list my favorite musical song.

    1. Oh, heavens, favorites from musicals would be a whole new category!

  2. I always liked that song, too. Even my Nana, who was by no means a fan of the 1960s music, loved this song. I asked her why and she said it reminded her of an old song from home, which would likely be a Rusyn ballad from Slovakia.

    1. Even though this song doesn't appear to have any continental routes, it makes sense to me that it could remind someone of folk songs from a different area.


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