Oct 06

CHRISTIE – “Yellow River”

FT + Popular40 comments • 9,335 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. 26
    Neil Rice on 15 Nov 2006 #

    A timeless classic. i remember listening to it when i was a senior in high school. I bought the 45 single. The lyrics about finding a place of contentment after the war are great.
    I think we are all searching for a YELLOW RIVER.

  2. 27
    Jan W on 1 Jun 2007 #

    What were the names of the group members?

  3. 28
    legionnaire on 10 Jul 2007 #

    Check out the Christie videos at:


  4. 29
    Anne Murdoch on 4 May 2009 #

    Regardin comment 25 I know the guitarist who played on the yellow river song and he told me that yellow pages bought the rights to the tune and therefore don`t recieve any royalties. Incidentally the gutarist name is Tommy Waugh. He is the father of Martin Waugh who has played with the likes of Sopie Ellis Bextor, Mika and Lily Allen. Talented family indeed.

  5. 30
    legionnaire on 7 Jul 2009 #

    Never heard of Tommy Waugh and he NEVER played on Yellow River.

    I am the webmaster of the Christie website: http://www.yellowriver.0catch.com

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 34
    Doctor Casino on 5 Jun 2012 #


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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 37
    Mark G on 2 Dec 2013 #

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

  13. 38
    Patrick Mexico on 1 Oct 2014 #

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

  14. 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

  15. 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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