Meaning of The Riverboat Song by Ocean Colour Scene

the riverboat song meaning

"The Riverboat Song" by Ocean Colour Scene is a song that delves into themes of deception, dissatisfaction, and the struggle to find true happiness. The lyrics use vivid metaphors and imagery to convey the emotional turmoil experienced by the protagonist.

In the verses, the riverboat symbolizes a pathway or journey in life. The river running red represents a state of turmoil and conflict, while the king's actions of shooting a dove and setting an eagle free represent making choices that seem paradoxical or contradictory. This can be seen as a metaphor for the protagonist's struggle to find balance and make the right decisions in their own life.

The pre-chorus line, "It's more or less the same as the things that you said," suggests a sense of repetition and stagnation in the protagonist's experiences and relationships. They may feel stuck in a cycle of disappointment, not finding the fulfillment they seek.

The chorus poses questions about the river's color and lack of flow, using it as a metaphor for the protagonist's confusion and longing. It reflects their desire for change, resolution, and understanding. The repetition of these questions emphasizes the frustration and inner turmoil they feel.

In the third verse, the lyrics again touch on the protagonist's struggle to express themselves fully. The phrase "the things you fail to say" suggests a fear of revealing their true thoughts and emotions, which further contributes to their troubles and dissatisfaction.

Overall, "The Riverboat Song" explores the inner struggles we face in navigating relationships, making choices, and seeking fulfillment. It urges listeners to question and reflect upon the choices they make in their own lives and the impact these choices have on their overall happiness.

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OCS at T in the Park in 1997

Ocean Colour Scene: the band whose chief crime was being too normal

Nostalgia aside, 20 years since the release of Moseley Shoals seems an apt time to undo years of undeserved flak and celebrate this hardy indie rock group

A few important things happened in Britain in the summer of 1996. Dolly the Sheep was born, leading to global debate about the ethics of cloning. The Spice Girls released Wannabe , leading to global debate about who wanted to be Baby Spice. England got to the semi-finals of the European Championships , still their best performance in half a century. And a band from the Birmingham suburb of Moseley reached the top 10 with an album that combined cord-clad 60s nostalgia and northern soul influences with robust, melodic Britpop songcraft.

Today marks 20 years since Ocean Colour Scene’s Moseley Shoals entered the British charts. It was the band’s second stab at success: their self-titled 1992 debut had sunk without trace and they’d been honing the follow-up for four penniless years. “We knew it was good,” said guitarist Steve Cradock. “We spent a lot of time working on it.” Championed by Radio 1’s Chris Evans – who loved The Riverboat Song so much he made it the theme tune to TFI Friday – it screamed into the charts at No 2 and stayed in the top 10 all summer, buoyed by support from Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher . The real reason for its success, though, was simpler: it was an absolute gem of a record, by a brilliant group of musicians.

Admiration for OCS is not so common in contemporary media; in fact, it’s hard to think of a serious band who have inspired more contempt over the years. They have been called “painfully mundane”, “workmanlike” and laddish, accused of playing dad-rock at gigs “more akin to a beery football match than a rave”. There was a nickname: Ocean Duller Scene. The NME, after initial enthusiasm, went on the attack, branding them “out-of-time 60s freaks” and disparaging release after release. “Ten albums in and they’ve never stopped living in the past,” it croaked in 2013 .

As a teenager in the 90s, listening to the band on repeat, I couldn’t have cared less. Moseley Shoals was one of the albums I knew best, back in the days when you really got to know albums. My mates and I could replicate every line, every drum fill, every guitar lick. We made the requisite fashion decisions. Chances are, if you were an OCS fan, you’ve got a train-driver hat stashed at the bottom of a cupboard somewhere and you once really wanted a Lambretta . Chances are you find yourself, from time to time, drifting into certain boutiques, hesitating over the leather satchel with the Ministry of Defence target on, leafing through the Ben Shermans on the rack. It’s OK – there are more of us than you think. The boutiques wouldn’t exist if there weren’t.

Nostalgia aside, though, how does Moseley Shoals stand up in 2016? Playing it again, I found the answer was: actually surprisingly well. There are a few obvious flaws. Some tracks, such as bangy piano rocker 40 Past Midnight, feel like filler, and I’ve never liked the droney You’ve Got It Bad . Then there are the lyrics, which – thanks to frontman Simon Fowler’s writing method of improvising into a cassette player – can be cryptic, to say the least. “Like a king who stalks the wings and shoots a dove and frees an eagle instead,” he sings on Riverboat. Quite. When the lines do make sense, they tend to reach for the regulation Britpop imagery of suns, shadows, shoes and roads. (Just thankfully no keys to any doors.)

Musically, the album still prompts an all-out assault on nearby drummable surfaces. The Riverboat Song’s scalding riff – “It came from me being really pissed off one day,” says Cradock – still makes me lip-bite embarrassingly and reach for my air Gibson. The Circle is a flat-out masterpiece, all the way from its feedback fade-in to its lovely, shredding outro, and nothing anyone says will convince me otherwise. There’s depth, too: beyond encore favourite The Day We Caught the Train there’s the sorrowing One for the Road , the sweetly complex It’s My Shadow and the drifting, dreamlike The Downstream. Fowler’s aching, tuneful croon is light years ahead of anything his contemporaries offered: less laddy than Liam, less hammy than Damon, more genuine than Jarvis. This is still, I realise, an album I’d sooner put on than many of the others I loved in that era, including Different Class , Expecting to Fly , All Change , and even possibly Definitely Maybe maybe.

Frontman Simon Fowler performing in 1996

In July this year, the band’s now middle-aged members will head out at Birmingham’s Moseley Park to play the album for a crowd of 2,000. The dad-rockers are quite literally dads, and the cords are finally age-appropriate. It’s hardly Knebworth, where 125,000 once shouted back the choruses, but for a group who called their greatest hits collection Songs for the Front Row, it fits. “Someone thought it would be nice for us to play the kinds of venue we were playing when Moseley Shoals came out,” Fowler said . Meanwhile, the fans continue to make their appreciation felt: in 2014, OCS came fourth in a poll of Birmingham’s best ever bands .

On the 20th anniversary of this excellent album, it seems a perfect time to pay tribute to a group who took more flak than they really deserved, and whose chief crime was probably that they were a bit too normal. “There is an edge missing from the band’s material that could perhaps be provided if these four unassuming guys hated each other more, or were suffering a bit more,” wrote one Telegraph journalist in 1998. Mmm-hm. By way of contrast, I’ll leave you with a comment from a YouTube user, Andy, who wrote under the video for The Circle: “Brilliant song. Nothing fancy. Nothing pretentious. Nothing over the top. Just simple, beautiful music with lyrics that conjure up a thousand thoughts and situations. Love it. Had forgotten how much I liked it.”

  • Ocean Colour Scene
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The Riverboat Song

Ocean Colour Scene - The Riverboat Song Lyrics

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The Riverboat Song Lyrics

I see double up ahead Where the riverboat swayed beneath the sun Is where the river runs red Like a King who stalks the wings and shoots a dove And frees an eagle instead It's more or less the same as the things that you said I see trouble up the road Like the things you found in love are by the way And like to cheat on your soul Like the best and worst of thoughts that lose control Before you lie on your bed It's more or less the same as the things that you said Anyway for all the things you know tell me why does the river not flow Anyway for all the things you said tell me why does the river run red Anyway for all the things you've seen tell me when will the river run green And anyway for all the things you know tell me why does the river not flow

It's more or less the things you fail to say in your way that's your trouble Like a King who stalks the wings and shoots the moon and the stars And his double It's more or less the same as the things that you said Anyway for all the things you know tell me why does the river not flow Anyway for all the things you said tell me why does the river run red Anyway for all the things you've seen tell me when will the river run green And anyway for all the things you know tell me why does the river not flow I see trouble up ahead Where the river boat swayed beneath the sun Is where the river runs red I see double, that's my trouble

Writer(s): DAMON MINCHELLA, OSCAR LLOYD HARRISON, SIMON FOWLER, STEPHEN CRADOCK Copyright(s): Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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  • Bruce Springsteen


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the riverboat song meaning

There's a layer of meaning to this song that Springsteen may or may not have been intended - but it's there. MusicLover-MRM points out that the River is figuratively meant as "belief in how good things would always be". The river offers a baptismal soul-cleansing. When the narrator was young it never mattered how bad things in life got because he (and Mary) could go down to the river and somehow that would make everything alright - at least for a little while.

This is why the symbolism towards the end of the song is so damn heartbreaking. In the end even the river isn't there anymore. It dried up. Now there's no escape, no source of redeption for the narrator. You grow up and there's nothing that can make things right anymore. Springsteen is a pretty switched-on writer - and I think he's hip to the multiple layers of meaning that can be contained in a rich powerful song like this.

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@juancircled , is this a springsteen written song? the writers as mentioned above the song are listed as "The River" as written by Martin Terefe and Katie Victoria Tunstall.

@robert1160 Unless Martin Terefe and Katie Victoria Tunstall were, like, preposterously talented -- being 11 and 5 years old, respectively, when "The River" was released -- I think we can assume that Springsteen penned this one himself (as any other source anywhere would corroborate).

@juancircled Thinking about it, it so bloody heartbreaking actually

Damn, just writing and thinking about it drove the tears into my eyes.

"Is a dream a lie if it don't come true Or is it something worse"


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I think you'll find the line is: is a dream a lie if it don't come true or is it something worse that sends me down to the river....<br /> <br /> because, i think, the way you wrote it, it wouldn't have much sense.<br /> it would make sense if it was "is a dream a lie if it DOES come true, or is it something worse?"

That quote just about says it all. I pity anyone who has never heard one of his first 6 studio albums, they are all great, not to say most of his later albums weren't great too.

I really love the double meaning of "the river" as a physcal place they went when they were young, and also figuratively as belief in how good things would always be, as compared to the earth (reality) where all the things they thought were so important disappeared.

Then when he tries to go back, the river is dry, reality has over taken them.

They try to act like they don't care or remember, but they do, and they can never go back. Echos of Thoreau "most men lead lives of quiet desperation".

Wonderful deep meaning-good lesson for young folks today to be careful with thier youth.

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This song is so beautifully sad. It's about the narrator's amazing love for Mary, and how their early marriage ruined everything. Over time, they've basically become strangers, but he still thinks about how things used to be and still remembers "her body down by the resorvoir" and how they felt when they were young and they were everything to each other. I can't explain why it's so sad. It's almost like they thought they had something amazing and they had so much faith in it; even right after getting married, they went back to the river like they always had. They were so optimistic about their future, and now the narrator is trapped because he loved someone so much so many years ago and now he has to deal with that sadness and regret every day. It's a really powerful song.

One of the most amazing songs, by rock's most amazing songwriter.

It's not just the words he sings here, but the way he sings them. The line about pulling Mary close just to feel each breathe she takes brings in such powerful feelings of young and new exciting love, but then Bruce wails "these memories come back to haunt me" and then spits "they haunt me like a curse." Wow.

The line about "no wedding day smiles, no walks down the aisles, no flowers, no wedding dress." Is one of the saddest I have ever heard.

Bruce did say this song was dedicated to the man that married his sister, but it could be anyone (and everyone out there knows someone) who married young as a result of an unplanned pregnancy and had the dreams of a different life destroyed in the process.

Powerful, powerful stuff.

I can't be sure that Springsteen is using "the river" as analogous for life in general, OR a vagina as the source of the beginning of life - youth, optimism, hope etc. I tend to the former, as he says repeatedly "we" go down to the river, rather than "I" go down to the river.

As others have said, a river is a lot like life in that it rolls on relentlessly, carrying with it all sorts of positives - irrigation, transport, a food source, and obviously the very basis of life - water.

But... it can flood, or dry up, with devastating consequences - just like life. I'm guessing that Springsteen is just expressing the loss of hope for the future of the boy and Mary's life together, as they've been beset with disaster; he's broke and unemployed, and she's (possibly?) terminated an unwanted and unsupportable teenaged pregnancy.

From an optimistic future, they've fallen permanently on hard times - the river has dried up.

I prefer to take the lyrics literally rather than treat "the river" as a metaphor for anything. The song is thus pretty self-explanatory. The narrator grew up in a very conservative rural village. His teenage romance with Mary resulted in her getting pregnant, so they had to have a shotgun wedding, otherwise they would have ended up as outcasts. Some years later, they are now returning to the river - the place where they used to play and romance together during the best days of their lives.

The most notable thing about the lyrics is that the song sounds pretty innocent up until the start of the second verse. Then it takes a rather sudden turn. ("Then I got Mary pregnant...") The second chorus has the same lyrics as the first chorus but this time, their visit to the river has a different purpose - they're going there to escape their wordly troubles.

The third verse describes how they are some years later. Their situation isn't dire. He's got a job and they're not the outcasts they could have been. But he struggles to find work and money (the song was written at a time of industrial decline). Worse than that, there's a feeling of emptiness. Their love has faded, they have no dreams for the future and have a past they try to ignore. But he can't ignore it, because his memories of their romance by the river, as he describes in the final section, were actually the best moments of the life and that's why they "haunt" him. He has a melancholy life and marriage which is haunted by nostalgia for the time when they used to have fun.

So in the end, they both go down to the river ("My baby and I") to revisit the place of their favourite memories and see if they can find some of their old love again. But it's not going to be the same. The fact that the river is dry represents this. There's going to be a certain emptiness about it no matter how hard they try.

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Sorry, when I wrote "I prefer to take the lyrics literally rather than treat "the river" as a metaphor for anything." as the opening sentence, this wasn't in direct response to the previous comment posted by GuyNemeth. I agree the river represents hope and dreams, just to clarify I also believe that the song also refers to a literal river as well.

God...this song is so incredible. I can't believe no one else has posted on it. I can't even explain it. I have a thing for melancholy songs, but even if I didn't...Jesus. It's just so real.

A wonderful song that has probably moved me to tears more than any song that has ever been written. 'The river' itself is fairly clearly a reference to sex and the desperation of the end of a relationship. But the song seems to be about the futility of life in general, and how we keep on doing things even when we know there is no point to them anymore.

One of my favorite Springsteen songs... along with Youngstown I think it really encapsulates the death of the American Dream. I just wanted to mention that whenever I hear this song, the last verse makes me think of suicide. The lines:

"That sends me down to the river Though I know the river is dry"

makes me think that he is going to jump into the dry river bed from a bridge.... The lyrics above are incorrect because the line is:

"And into the river we'd dive", not drive.

Which is why at the end of the song it makes me think he's going to dive into the dry river bed.

Also another much darker interpretation of "My baby and I" is that he's thinking about killing himself and perhaps his wife or his child... anyways, my two cents.

<br /> that's exactly how I read it.<br /> <br /> <br /> the man tells the stiry about his youth, an unwanted pregnancy that changed everything, and when they're old they live besides each other, well remembering their past and passion. But that's over now.<br /> <br /> And as the narrator remember those beautifull hard moments of his life, they haunt him. cause they're past<br /> <br /> And that's driving him to the river (to jump in)<br /> He is so desperate about his loss in life and love, that he takes the way to the river, to jump, even he know it's dry.<br /> <br /> in fact I think he's hoping for the chance that het is eventually not dry, so he can end it all.<br /> <br />

@geb666 I went to read the last line, because I have always interpreted as his maybe becoming suicidal at the end.

@geb666 I have always felt that they were going down to the river for the last time and I felt it was suicide as well. I am surprised that weren’t more of us interpreting it this way.

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  • Bishop Briggs

Bishop Briggs’ “River” Lyrics Meaning

by Amanda London · Published January 29, 2022 · Updated May 21, 2023

Have you ever had one of those situations where you’re addressing a romantic interest that you’re in a tumultuous relationship with, and the more the person says, the worst the situation gets? That appears to be the scenario Bishop Briggs is most pointedly speaking on “River”, where she’s telling the person she’s singing to “shut your mouth and run me like a river”.

To run somebody, as far as slang terminology goes, is basically another way of saying that you control them. And based on the first verse and pre-chorus especially, it can not only be deemed that the association between the two parties involved, who appear to be lovers, is a troubled one. 

But moreover, the vocalist is wise enough to recognize that just as quickly as one can fall in love, a romance can also “fall apart”. 

So reading in between the lines, she is telling her partner that at this point, the less he says the better. It would be more beneficial if he actually stepped to the plate and more, shall we say valiantly display his love for her – or “stand and deliver”, as she puts it.

That said, Bishop has offered various explanations of this piece, even, it would seem,  outside of the realm of  romance. And her most consistent interpretation  is that this song is fundamentally premised on the idea of challenging someone to step up. And again, that notion does in fact come through in the lyrics. But it is also more or less obvious as presented that she is speaking to romance, considering for example that Briggs refers to “fall(ing) in love” and all.

But this phenomena is something we have noted in the past, how a song which may, upon conceptualization, be based on a more universal idea, by the time all is said and done, it is presented within the context of romance. 

So with that in mind, it can be said that the challenge the vocalist is placing on the addressee is to focus more energy on being a proper lover and less on, so to speak, analyzing their relationship.

“Shut your mouth, baby, stand and deliver Holy hands, will it make me a sinner? Like a river, like a river Shut your mouth and run me like a river Choke this love ’til the veins start to shiver One last breath ’til the tears start to wither Like a river, like a river Shut your mouth and run me like a river”

Bishop Briggs explains "River"

Facts about “River”

With Island Records and Teleport Records releasing this track on 19 January 2016, “River” marks the second single in Bishop Briggs’ discography. 

The song was written by Briggs alongside the track’s producers, Mark Jackson and Ian Scott. And the songstress has noted that such was the first time she worked with Jackson and Scott, and overall it was a very emotional experience for her, as it was the realization of Bishop’s music dream. (She is actually from the UK but migrated to Los Angeles, as a teenager, in pursuit of her music career.)

“River” also stands as the most-successful song in Bishop Briggs’ catalog to date. For instance, by the looks of things, this is the only track she has ever dropped to date that has been certified. In that regard the tune most notably went double-platinum in the United States, where it also peaked at number five on Billboard’s  Rock Airplay  chart.

This song was featured on both Bishop Briggs’ eponymous EP and her debut LP, “Church of Scars”. 

Briggs performed this track the first time she appeared on TV, via an episode of  The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon  dated 1 August 2016.

The music video to “River” was directed by an artist named Jungle George.

American songstress Pink is known to be fond of this song, i.e. covering it a few times in the late 2010s.

Bishop Briggs has verified that the sound of this piece was influenced by a few other music acts, i.e. Hozier, Alabama Shakes and Jack Garratt.


Let’s Hear Your Stories (:

How i stumbled upon bishop briggs’ “river”.

“Until a few days before the grand finale of season 9 of the music reality show, Mask Singer, I had no idea who Bishop Briggs was. Being a devoted fan of the show, I have always supported team Medusa since her first performance. Determined to uncover Medusa’s true identity, I tirelessly speculated and sought clues. Eventually, someone mentioned that Medusa was none other than Bishop Briggs.

Intrigued, I promptly researched her and stumbled upon this remarkable song, ‘River’, which has now become my new favorite. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to her for such a triumph in the reality show’s season finale and for claiming the coveted golden mask.”

– Monika Asare

“River” reminds my that I’m not alone in this struggle

It’s truly remarkable how certain songs can intertwine themselves into the very fabric of our lives, forever imprinted in our memories. Let me paint the scene for you: it was the first day of July in 2016, a day that will forever hold a special place within the depths of my heart.

On that remarkable day, my daughter graced this world with her presence, filling it with an undeniable sense of purity and innocence. Coincidentally, it was also the day the music video for one of my all-time favorite songs, ‘River’, was released. I vividly remember sitting on my hospital bed, watching the video for the very first time.

Little did I know that this song would soon become an anchor of solace and strength during the trying months that followed my daughter’s birth. After my daughter came into the world, the days that followed were filled with a myriad of obstacles. Instead of the anticipated excitement that typically accompanies motherhood, I found myself entangled in the clutches of depression.

The responsibilities of nurturing a child as a single mother dawned on me. The path ahead appeared even more daunting. But, ‘River’ emerged as a guiding light amidst the darkness. It wasn’t necessarily the lyrics that drew me in, but rather the captivating melody of the song itself. Its harmonies became a comforting salve for my weary soul. Each note resonated within me, delicately dissipating the haze of confusion and self-doubt. It reminded me that I was not alone in my struggles.”

– Patricia Spencer

The Brilliance of Briggs

“I remember first encountering ‘River’ back in January of 2017 and instantly falling in love with Briggs’ captivating voice as well as her unique style. Subsequently, I delved into the singer’s entire discography and discovered that she was scheduled to perform at Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Chicago later that summer, a performance I wasn’t going to miss. Despite being assigned to a smaller stage as one of the daytime acts, she delivered an unforgettable performance within the limited timeframe assigned to her. Since that moment, she has held a permanent place among my favorite artists. It baffles me that she hasn’t garnered widespread recognition in the mainstream music scene, which, in my opinion, should be considered a grave injustice.”

– Mark Carter

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Is the meaning really lost on people? Breaking it down, she’s talking about making her a “sinner” This really sounds like she’s requesting/demanding digital & oral . She wants to 💦 like a river. The shaking of an “O” 👄. Perhaps there was an arguement (she’s in tears) & she wants him to stop talking & just skip to the pleasure of making up. Even if it’s over at the end, she wants it to end in pleasure not in an exchange of fighting words. Essentially saying “take all that energy & deliver one last pleasurable gasp (last breath) before the relationship ends (withers)

Lol you sound so fucking stupid

My thoughts exactly

The song is awesome

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Tags: Bishop Briggs Church of Scars Ian Scott Mark Jackson River

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Across The River by Bruce Hornsby & the Range

the riverboat song meaning


  • Bruce Hornsby struck gold again with this hit, again telling a story from his perspective. This time, it's about a beautiful, strong-willed southern girl who determines to leave her boring, small-town life behind, to the disapproval of her uptight family and neighbors. However, everyone expects that she will be unable to cope in the cosmopolitan outside world and return. This continues even after she leaves. >> Suggestion credit : Mike - Santa Barbara, CA
  • This was the last of Hornsby's 6 US Top-40 hits.
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Comments: 2

  • Al from Hollister, Ca My favorite song from Bruce and that says a lot because he has so many great ones. I put Bruce Hornsby and Neil Young as my favorite song writers. Now if he would only tour the west coast once in a while, it would make his fans here very happy.
  • Justin from Rochester, Ny Jerry Garcia played lead guitar on the original recording. In the liner notes for his 2004 greatest hits album, Bruce Hornsby said it may have been the second time Garcia ever hit the Top 40 chart (the first being the Grateful Dead's 1987 hit "Touch of Grey").

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The Meaning Behind the 1971 Holiday Classic “River” by Joni Mitchell

by Tina Benitez-Eves November 7, 2022, 2:04 pm

If there’s one song synonymous with Joni Mitchell , it’s “River.” Though never released as a single, the song, off Mitchell’s fourth album Blue, is one of her most well-known and has become a standard during the holidays.

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“River” reveals one of Mitchell’s most vulnerable moments in songwriting, opening up about a breakup and the deep bond that’s difficult to shake. The lyrics of “River” are thought to have been inspired by the end of Mitchell’s relationship with musician Graham Nash; the two dated from 1968 through 1970.

By 1970, Mitchell was struggling with her own musical contributions and success and took a trip to Europe and ended their relationship by sending a telegram to Nash from Crete, Greece.

She then began piecing together Blue , and what has become her most memorable holiday song: “River.”

Christmas Time Meaning

Though the song wasn’t intentionally meant as a Christmas song, it is set around the holiday season.

“‘River’ expresses regret at the end of a relationship, but it’s also about being lonely at Christmastime,” said Mitchell about the meaning of the song, and the release of the official video for the “song “River” to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2021. “A Christmas song for people who are lonely at Christmas,” added Mitchell. “We need a song like that.”

the riverboat song meaning

It’s coming on Christmas  They’re cutting down trees  They’re putting up reindeer  And singing songs of joy and peace  Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on 

But it don’t snow here  It stays pretty green  I’m going to make a lot of money  Then I’m going to quit this crazy scene  Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on 

I wish I had a river so long  I would teach my feet to fly  I wish I had a river I could skate away on  I made my baby cry

Mitchell’s Most Covered Song

Now a holiday standard,” “River” is the most covered composition by Mitchell with 888 cover versions recorded.

The piano-led song, which borrows heavily from the 19th-century holiday standard “Jingle Bells,” has become a popular cover by artists across genres, particularly around the holidays. Everyone from Mitchell’s former beau James Taylor to Barry Manilow, Sarah McLachlan, Judy Collins, Idina Menzel, Travis, Cee Lo Green, Ellie Goulding, and even Olivia Rodrigo and Harry Styles, have covered “River.”

He tried hard to help me You know, he put me at ease And he loved me so naughty Made me weak in the knees Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on I’m so hard to handle I’m selfish and I’m sad Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby That I ever had Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on I wish I had a river so long I would teach my feet to fly Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on I made my baby say goodbye

Photo by Jack Robinson/Getty Images

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the riverboat song meaning

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the riverboat song meaning


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  1. The Meaning Behind The Song: The Riverboat Song by Ocean Colour Scene

    Brendan Lynch. "The Riverboat Song" is the lead single and opening track of Ocean Colour Scene's second album, 1996's Moseley Shoals. The song helped launch OCS into the mainstream, having been popularised by Chris Evans who used it extensively on the hit TV show, TFI Friday. It eventually reached No. 15 in the UK singles chart.

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    Is where the river runs red. Like a King who stalks the wings and shoots a dove. And frees an eagle instead. It's more or less the same as the things that you said. I see trouble up the road. Like the things you found in love are by the way. And like to cheat on your soul.

  4. Ocean Colour Scene

    Tell me why does the river run red. And anyway for all the things you've seen. Tell me when will the river run green. And anyway for all the things you know. Tell me why does the river not flow ...

  5. Meaning of "The Riverboat Song" by Ocean Colour Scene

    August 14, 2023. "The Riverboat Song" by Ocean Colour Scene is a song that delves into themes of deception, dissatisfaction, and the struggle to find true happiness. The lyrics use vivid metaphors and imagery to convey the emotional turmoil experienced by the protagonist. In the verses, the riverboat symbolizes a pathway or journey in life.

  6. Ocean Colour Scene: the band whose chief crime was being too normal

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    The song talks about a river that runs red and the protagonist sees trouble and danger ahead, much like how his partner cheats on him and brings chaos into his life. They question why the river doesn't flow normally and why it remains red, like how their relationship is stuck in a dysfunctional loop.

  9. Ocean Colour Scene

    The Riverboat Song Lyrics. I see double up ahead. Where the riverboat swayed beneath the sun. Is where the river runs red. Like a King who stalks the wings and shoots a dove. And frees an eagle instead. It's more or less the same as the things that you said. I see trouble up the road.

  10. Proud Mary by Creedence Clearwater Revival

    River = river of life, the flow of the universe and everyday life, a river is constantly changing and every second its flow and format is different, thought sometimes it might seem slow and at other times fast. Like life. Now, i like other interpretations of the song too, and im not trying to put them down. Songs can have multiple meanings.

  11. Bruce Springsteen

    We'd go down to the river. And into the river we'd dive. Oh down to the river we'd ride. Then I got Mary pregnant. And man that was all she wrote. And for my nineteenth birthday. I got a union card and a wedding coat. We went down to the courthouse. And the judge put it all to rest.

  12. The Meaning of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary"

    I wrote the song about a mythical riverboat, cruising on a mythical river, in a mythical time. Perhaps, the setting was 'back in time' on the Mississippi River. It was obviously a metaphor about leaving painful, stressful things behind for a more tranquil and meaningful life. John Fogerty on the meaning of "Proud Mary", 2018.

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    The meaning of Bruce Springsteen's titular track, 'The River,' hit very close to home. ... His song "The River," the titular track from his fifth studio album, is a perfect example. Bruce ...

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    The meaning behind the song itself is centered on the idea of following your dreams no matter how turbulent life can be. Following its release in 1991, "The River" later hit No. 1 on the U.S ...

  17. Bishop Briggs' "River" Lyrics Meaning

    That appears to be the scenario Bishop Briggs is most pointedly speaking on "River", where she's telling the person she's singing to "shut your mouth and run me like a river". You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Bishop Briggs's River at To run somebody, as far as slang terminology goes ...

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  19. The Meaning Behind the 1971 Holiday Classic "River" by Joni Mitchell

    Christmas Time Meaning. Though the song wasn't intentionally meant as a Christmas song, it is set around the holiday season. "'River' expresses regret at the end of a relationship, but it ...