Somewhere Down the Crazy River

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"Somewhere Down the Crazy River"
Somewhere Down the Crazy River by Robbie Robertson Canadian vinyl.jpg
Canadian vinyl single
Single by Robbie Robertson
from the album Robbie Robertson
Songwriter(s)Robbie Robertson[2]

"Somewhere Down the Crazy River" is a 1987 song by Robbie Robertson, initially released on Robertson's debut solo album Robbie Robertson, with Sam Llanas on backing vocals.[2]


When one of the producers, Daniel Lanois, was asked about the inspiration for "Somewhere Down the Crazy River", he said that the song was "kind of like a guy with a deep voice telling you about steaming nights in Arkansas". He went on to say that Robertson was describing his experiences of hanging out in his old neighbourhood of Arkansas with Levon Helm (fellow The Band member) during hot nights in which they were "fishing with dynamite" and had asked a local for directions to "somewhere down the crazy river".[3]

In terms of composition, the song features a "sweet and wonderful" chord sequence on the Suzuki Omnichord, which had been introduced to Lanois by Brian Eno. As Robertson developed the chord sequence, Lanois surreptitiously recorded him and superimposed his storytelling on top.[3]

Music video[edit]

Martin Scorsese directed a music video for the song, his second after directing the Michael Jackson Video for Bad[4] featuring Maria McKee and Sam Llanas (credited as Sammy BoDean).[5] Steve Spears of Tampa Bay Times notes in his review for it that "things get pretty steamy near the end of the video for Robertson and McKee as the two seem to take method acting seriously".[6]


The song was subject to mixed reviews by critics. Steve Spears of Tampa Bay Times called the song "sexy",[6] whereas Mark Deming of AllMusic wrote that Robertson was "exploring the same iconography of the Band's best work, but without the same grace or subtle wit".[1]

Chart performance[edit]

It reached No. 15 on the UK Singles Chart,[7] No. 24 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks[8] and won Robertson and Daniel Lanois the Canadian Producer of the Year Award for 1989.[9] In Robertson's home country Canada, it debuted at No. 95 on the week ending 2 April 1988[10] and then peaked at No. 91 for two weeks until the week ending 16 April 1988.[11][12]

Chart (1988) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[13] 91
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[14] 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[15] 9
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[16] 12
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 40
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[18] 15
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[19] 24


Additional personnel

Use in media[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Robbie Robertson – Robbie Robertson". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Robbie Robertson (booklet). Robbie Robertson. Geffen Records. 1987.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ a b Tong, Allan (September 2007). "Daniel Lanois Web Exclusive Interview". Archived from the original on 16 May 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Somewhere Down the Crazy River (1988)". The films of Martin Scorsese. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Somewhere Down The Crazy River video". YouTube. 2 February 1988. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Wednesday lost and found: Robbie Robertson 'Somewhere Down the Crazy River'". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  7. ^ "HOWIE B FEATURING ROBBIE ROBERTSON". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  8. ^ "allmusic (((Robbie Robertson > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles)))". Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  9. ^ "Yearly Summary | The JUNO Awards". Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  10. ^ "RPM 100 Singles: Canada's Only National 100 Single Survey". RPM Weekly. 2 April 1988. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  11. ^ "RPM 100 Singles: Canada's Only National 100 Single Survey". 9 April 1988. Retrieved 28 November 2018. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  12. ^ "RPM 100 Singles: Canada's Only National 100 Single Survey". 16 April 1988. Retrieved 28 November 2018. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0962." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  14. ^ " – Robbie Robertson – Somewhere Down the Crazy River" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Robbie Robertson" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  16. ^ " – Robbie Robertson – Somewhere Down the Crazy River" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  17. ^ " – Robbie Robertson – Somewhere Down the Crazy River". Top 40 Singles.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  19. ^ "Robbie Robertson Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  20. ^ The Hits Album 9 (booklet). Various Artists. BMG, CBS and WEA. 1988.CS1 maint: others (link)