My Sunday Song – “Hazard” by Richard Marx

For My Sunday Song #80, I chose the song “Hazard” by Richard Marx.  The song was off Marx’s third album ‘Rush Street’ and went on to become his third #1 song on the Adult Contemporary charts.

I love a song that tells an interesting story and this is one of those songs.  We all know Marx is an incredible songwriter and if you don’t you must live under a rock.  The song “Hazard” tells a great story.  It tells the story of a young man, who is an outcast in the town of Hazard, Nebraska.  No one seems to like him and they all feel he is a little strange.  He meets a girl, Mary, and falls in love, BUT…Mary ends up dead and he is the prime suspect.  What also is great about the story is you don’t find out if he did it or not.  It leaves you as the listener deciding on your interpretation and whether you feel he did it or not.  What do I think?  I might tell you later.

The song is at a ballad like pacing, but definitely not a love song.  The music and pacing give the song an eerie, dark tone to it which adds to the drama of the song and makes you feel the sadness the main character is feeling at the loss of his love and trying to convince everyone he is innocent.  I think it is beautiful.

Some interesting facts about the song…the song was written completely but there was no city or state yet for the song.  According to an interview with in 2012, Marx stated the following…

...And then the Nebraska line actually came because the syllables of it and the sound of it sang so well: ‘and leave this old Nebraska town.’ They sang so well to me that I was like, Okay, I’m sold on Nebraska. This is way before the Internet, so what I did was I called the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and got some very nice woman on the phone and I said, ‘here’s my fax number.’ I was in Los Angeles, and I said, ‘Can you fax me a list of every town and city and municipality in the state of Nebraska.’ So all of a sudden just page after page after page is coming through my fax machine. And I took the pages, I think there were 16, 17 pages worth of tons of names on each page. And I threw them up in the air and picked a random sheet and literally put my finger on the page, and it was Hazard.”

The video for the song helps tell the story in much greater detail.  It adds points to it that you don’t get in the song and also makes you wonder if the Sheriff might have done it as he had been following the girl and taking pictures of her.  It also shows what looks like Mary making out with another guy and Richard sees her and it makes him upset which would give him reason to kill her.  It is really a great companion piece to go with the song and makes the mystery that much greater.  It is like you are watching some TV crime drama.  The sheriff is played by actor Robert Conrad from most notably ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’.

Listen to the song and watch the video and let me know if you think he did it or not.  I personally will with the song and not the video and I think he is innocent and that he loved her as she was the only to see him for him and not some outcast.

Enjoy!  And Happy Sunday!!


My mother came to Hazard when I was just seven
Even then the folks in town said with prejudiced eyes
That boy’s not right
Three years ago when I came to know Mary
First time that someone looked beyond the rumors and the lies
And saw the man inside

We used to walk down by the river
She loved to watch the sun go down
We used to walk along the river
And dream our way out of this town

No one understood what I felt for Mary
No one cared until the night she went out walking alone
And never came home
Man with a badge came knocking next morning
Here was I surrounded by a thousand fingers suddenly
Pointed right at me

I swear I left her by the river
I swear I left her safe and sound
I need to make it to the river
And leave this old Nebraska town

I think about my life gone by
And how it’s done me wrong
There’s no escape for me this time
All of my rescues are gone, long gone

I swear I left her by the river
I swear I left her safe and sound
I need to make it to the river
And leave this old Nebraska town

Written by: Richard Marx

8 thoughts on “My Sunday Song – “Hazard” by Richard Marx

  1. Man, I love this tune. Truly. I recorded this (and a bunch of others, of course) off the radio way back when and I had that tape for many years. Don’t have the tape now, but I still love it when I hear this. Including now.

    Liked by 1 person

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