Few folk songs rank higher in the pantheon of traditional music than "House of the Rising Sun." The song's origins are believed to date back to the 17th century, and folk song collector Alan Lomax noted that part of the song's melody may have been borrowed from "Lord Barnard and Little Musgrove." "House of the Rising Sun" was widely known in the South, but spread more rapidly following recordings by singers like Alger "Texas" Alexander (1928) and Roy Acuff (1938). Leadbelly included the song in his repertoire, and a number of singers -- Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott -- recorded it during the early to mid-'60s. For most people at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, however, "House of the Rising Sun" was a big hit for the Animals in 1964 (and an early version of folk-rock). The meaning of the "rising sun" differed from version to version, from a house of prostitution to a prison. In either case, the singer warns that a miserable life awaits anyone who follows his or her example. Given its lurid story -- a drunken gambling father or husband, a misspent youth, and a train ride to the "rising sun" -- combined with an evocative chord pattern, "House of the Rising Sun" remains popular on oldies radio stations.