Boat on the River

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"Boat on the River"
Boat on the River cover.jpg
Single by Styx
from the album Cornerstone
B-side "Borrowed Time"
Released March 16, 1980
Recorded 1979
Genre Folk
Length 3:10
Label A&M
Songwriter(s) Tommy Shaw
Producer(s) Styx
Styx singles chronology
"Why Me"
"Boat on the River"
"Borrowed Time"
"Why Me"
"Boat on the River"
"Borrowed Time"

"Boat on the River" is a 1979 song by Styx, from their album Cornerstone. It was released as a single in 1980, but did not chart in the band's native United States. However, it was popular in several German-speaking countries, becoming a top-five hit on the German, Austrian and Swiss charts (reaching number one on the latter.)[1][2][3][4][5]

The song features Tommy Shaw on lead vocals and mandolin, with Dennis DeYoung accompanying on accordion and backing vocals. In the video for the song, Chuck Panozzo, John Panozzo, and James Young play bowed double bass, tambourine/bass drum and acoustic guitar respectively.[6][7]

Allmusic reviewer Mike DeGagne praised both "Boat on the River" and fellow Cornerstone single "Lights" retrospectively for their "silky harmonies and welcoming choruses." While not as big of a hit as "Babe" (which hit #1 in the US), the song was Styx's biggest European hit.[8]

The song has been covered by Cat Stevens, Seventh Avenue, Guano Apes, and Riki Sorsa in Finland. The song has also been covered by Turkish artist Metin Özülkü there are several movies on YouTube where Metin Özülkü cover is being portrayed as Cat Stevens!The song has also been covered by the german folk rock band Fiedler's Green.

Track listings[edit]

7" Single

  1. Boat on the River – 3:10
  2. Borrowed Time – 4:58


Chart (1980) Peak
German Singles Chart 5
Austrian Singles Chart 2
Swiss Singles Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 29
Preceded by
"Weekend" by Earth and Fire
Swiss number-one single
April 27, 1980 – June 8, 1980
Succeeded by
"Funkytown" by Lipps Inc


  1. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community". 
  2. ^ "Styx - Boat On The River". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Boat On The River (3:09)". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Cornerstone". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "NEW (and CLASSIC) VIDEOCORNER#18 - (GASLIGHT ANTHEM ..." Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Styx: Caught in the Act, 2007 edition
  7. ^ "MUSICMEMORIES | THE BEST MUSIC OF 80'S AND 90'S". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  8. ^ DeGagne, Mike. "Styx: Cornerstone: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved September 1, 2011.