Oct 06

CHRISTIE – “Yellow River”

FT + Popular42 comments • 11,164 views

#287, 6th June 1970

Ugh!“Yellow River” has a story if you’re looking – man coming home after a war – but content is supremely irrelevant next to the song’s urgent march-time bounce. What I like most about it, beyond its more-than-serviceable hook, is the rapid-fire fingerpicked guitar threading through the second verse and the coda, a trace memory of the folk or country song it might have been in some parallel world. It’s rare that a slow acoustic cover version might suit a song (not improve it, mind), but “Yellow River” might be one such case.



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  1. 31
    AndyPandy on 10 Jan 2010 #

    The melody before the chorus of this is very similar/the same(?) to the bits where the orchestra sing in Albert Ketelbey’s light classical standard of mid-20th century radio “In A Persian Market”. Possibly a subconscious influence? Some of his stuff is well worth checking out if you can get into nostagia for a time for an England before you were born – going by the entries in You Tube it seems a few of people can.

  2. 32
    Billy Fulton on 23 Feb 2010 #

    Hi, I lived in the same village as Tommy Waugh and there was a story going round that he was playing as a session guitarist with Christie around the time Yellow River was a hit. The village was Drongan in Ayrshire, which produced many good players and lots of strummers like me!

  3. 33
    Scratchy on 20 Aug 2010 #

    I believe the song was wrote to say about an American Soldier in Vietnam war and the war was won and he was going home to a place called Yellow River, if there is a place in the USA? But that’s how I see this song as it was made about the time I believe about the Vietnam War that finished.

  4. 34
    Doctor Casino on 5 Jun 2012 #


    Marcello, you’ve left me stuck with that one forever…

  5. 35
    wichita lineman on 5 Jun 2012 #

    “Let your fingers do the walking
    Yellow PA-GES, yellow PA-GES”

    The ad took over the song as completely as the Nimble ad took over the Honeybus’s lovely I Can’t Let Maggie Go.

  6. 36
    Patrick Mexico on 1 Dec 2013 #

    Nobody’s mentioned how much this cribs from Waterloo Sunset? If it is cribbing, it’s still using the finest ingredients. 7.

  7. 37
    Mark G on 2 Dec 2013 #

    mmm, as per #2, I’d have cited Creedence as being the primary source. “Proud Mary” specifically.

  8. 38
    Patrick Mexico on 1 Oct 2014 #

    May I call this record “the Mumford and Sons it’s OK to like?”

  9. 39
    Alan on 20 Mar 2017 #

    I love this song takes me right back to the 70ies
    Easy to play on accostic but not so easy to sing ha ha

  10. 40
    lonepilgrim on 30 Oct 2017 #

    There’s a fascinating doc about this song on youtube which serves as a lens on the change and continuity in UK Pop/Rock as the 60s rolled into the 70s. Jeff Christie comes across a little bit like the guy from League of Gentlemen’s ‘Creme Brûlée’. You can see the doc here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyza1A00AxA
    It’s a pleasant song – very much in a CCR style if less compelling

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    janeksp6 on 30 Nov 2020 #

    Mineło 5 dekad 1970-2020 utwór zawsze na czasie gdziekolwiek jestem

  12. 42
    Gareth Parker on 18 May 2021 #

    Enjoyable pop song in my view. I like this single, so 7/10 for me.

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