Yellow River (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Yellow River"
Single by Christie
from the album Christie
B-side Down the Mississippi Line
Released 23 April 1970 (1970-04-23)
Format 7"
Genre Rock, pop rock
Length 2:44
Label CBS (UK) Epic (US)
Writer(s) Jeff Christie
Producer(s) Mike Smith
Christie singles chronology
"Yellow River"
"San Bernadino"

"Yellow River" is a popular song recorded by the British band Christie. Written by band leader Jeff Christie, the song was offered to The Tremeloes, who recorded it with the intention of releasing it as a single early in 1970. However, after the success of their then most recent single, "Call Me Number One", and after considering it too pop-orientated for their future direction, they decided to follow it up with another of their own compositions, "By The Way", which was only a minor Top 40 success.

Producer Mike Smith therefore took their vocals off the recording and added those of Jeff Christie. Released on 23 April 1970, it became an international hit, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart for one week in June 1970. In the US, it reached number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[1]

The actual location of Yellow River in this song is not specified, although the author, Jeff Christie, is on record as saying that it was inspired by the idea of a soldier going home at the end of the American Civil War.[2] As the song was released during the Viet Nam War, it has been interpreted as being about a soldier leaving the US Military at the end of his period of conscription.

Chart performance[edit]

Country Peak
Finland 1
Germany 2
Ireland 1
Netherlands[3] 4
Norway 1
Switzerland 4
United Kingdom 1
USA 23

Other versions[edit]

"Yellow River" has spawned a host of cover versions by artists as diverse as R.E.M., Leapy Lee, Elton John, The Compton Brothers, Middle of the Road, Chris Rea and Joe Dassin (who achieved a major hit with this French cover named L'Amérique).[citation needed]

In Australia, Christie's version of Yellow River gained only limited airplay due to the 1970 radio ban. Local bands Jigsaw from Melbourne and Autumn from Sydney both had success with cover versions.[4]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 126. 
  2. ^ Youtube recording of interview, copyright to Nederlandse Programma Stichting, 2003, uploaded to Jeff Christie's Youtube channel, 4 February 2011 |
  3. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 26, 1970". Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  4. ^ "Yellow River - Autumn". Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
Preceded by
"Back Home" by England national football team
UK Singles Chart number one single
6 June 1970 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry