“House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals tops the U.S. pop charts - HISTORY
Year
1964

“House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals tops the U.S. pop charts

To chart-topping American acts like Steve Lawrence (“Go Away Little Girl”) and Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs (“Sugar Shack”), 1963 had been a year filled with promise. And then came the Beatles, whose dramatic arrival in January 1964 clearly posed a commercial threat. By the middle of 1964, with Louis Armstrong (“Hello Dolly”) and Dean Martin (“Everybody Loves Somebody”) both having earned #1 pop hits, it may have seemed that the worst was over. But then came another blow in the form of the Animals, whose signature hit, “House of The Rising Sun,” reached #1 on the U.S. pop charts on this day in 1964. Steeped in a musical idiom very different from “She Loves You” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” “House of The Rising Sun” hinted at an entirely new line of attack from the forces of the British Invasion.

While some have claimed that the Animals’ rendition of “House of The Rising Sun” was lifted fairly directly from the version Bob Dylan recorded for his 1962 debut album, Dylan himself appears to have lifted his from fellow Greenwich Village folkie Dave Van Ronk. In any event, it was the Animals’ version that topped the pop charts on this day in 1964 and made Dylan himself “jump out of his car seat” with enthusiasm when he first heard it on the radio.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Sam Houston elected as president of Texas

On this day in 1836, Sam Houston is elected as president of the Republic of Texas, which earned its independence from Mexico in a successful military rebellion.Born in Virginia in 1793, Houston moved with his family to rural Tennessee after his father’s death; as a teenager, he ...read more

Russo-Japanese peace treaty signed

The Russo-Japanese War comes to an end as representatives of the two nations sign the Treaty of Portsmouth in New Hampshire. Russia, defeated in the war, agreed to cede to Japan the island of Sakhalin and Russian port and rail rights in Manchuria.On February 8, 1904, following ...read more

Ford assassination attempt thwarted

In Sacramento, California, an assassination attempt against President Gerald Ford is foiled when a Secret Service agent wrests a semi-automatic .45-caliber pistol from Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a follower of incarcerated cult leader Charles Manson. Fromme was pointing the loaded ...read more

First Continental Congress convenes

In response to the British Parliament’s enactment of the Coercive Acts in the American colonies, the first session of the Continental Congress convenes at Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia. Fifty-six delegates from all the colonies except Georgia drafted a declaration of rights ...read more

Crazy Horse killed

Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse is fatally bayoneted by a U.S. soldier after resisting confinement in a guardhouse at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. A year earlier, Crazy Horse was among the Sioux leaders who defeated George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of Little ...read more

Battle of the Marne begins

Thirty miles northeast of Paris, the French 6th Army under General Michel-Joseph Maunoury begins attacking the right flank of German forces advancing on the French capital. By the next day, the counterattack was total. More than two million soldiers fought in the Battle of the ...read more

U.S. forces seize more of New Guinea

On this day in 1943, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s 503rd Parachute Regiment land and occupy Nazdab, just east of Lae, a port city in northeastern Papua New Guinea, situating them perfectly for future operations on the islands.New Guinea had been occupied by the Japanese since March ...read more

Joffre gives order to attack at the Marne

On the evening of September 5, 1914, General Joseph Joffre, commander in chief of the French army during World War I, readies his troops for a renewed offensive against the advancing Germans at the Marne River in northeastern France, set to begin the following morning.With the ...read more

Calley charged for My Lai massacre

Lt. William Calley is charged with six specifications of premeditated murder in the death of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in March 1968. Calley, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade (Light) of the 23rd (Americal) Division ...read more

Massacre begins at Munich Olympics

During the 1972 Summer Olympics at Munich, in the early morning of September 5, a group of Palestinian terrorists storms the Olympic Village apartment of the Israeli athletes, killing two and taking nine others hostage. The terrorists were part of a group known as Black ...read more

Outlaw Jesse James is born in Missouri

Seen by some as a vicious murderer and by others as a gallant Robin Hood, the famous outlaw Jesse Woodson James is born on this day in 1847, in Clay County, Missouri.Jesse and his older brother Franklin lost their father in 1849, when the Reverend Robert James abandoned his young ...read more

On the Road is published

One of the first novels of the Beat movement of the 1950s, On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, is published on this day in 1957. The novel chronicles the cross-country wanderings of a Kerouac-like hero, Sal Paradise, and his pal Dean Moriarty, and their ...read more

Katie Couric makes network anchor debut

On this day in 2005, Katie Couric makes headlines–and TV history–with her highly publicized debut as the first female solo anchor of a weekday network evening news broadcast, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Couric, who served as co-anchor of The Today Show from 1991 to 2006, ...read more

Londoners desperately attempt to halt fire

Firefighters in London begin blowing up homes in a desperate attempt to halt the spread of a great fire through the city on this day in 1666. All other attempts to stop the progress of the flames over the previous three days had failed. By the time the fire was finally snuffed ...read more