"Hazard" as written by and Richard Marx....
"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


Lyrics submitted by angel_scn

"Hazard" as written by Richard Marx

Lyrics © CHRYSALIS MUSIC (DIGITAL ONLY)

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Hazard song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentSong obviously about the death of Mary under tragic, but blatant circumstances. The narrator indicates the prejudice against him, and that it seems to play into the fact that he is whom everyone suspects as Mary's killer. However, if you look closely at the last two line of the chorus, he seems to indicate contemplating suicide. Possibly due to a guilty conscience.
    mambersoon January 18, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWow, I can't believe so many people here think that he killed her! It's extremely obvious from the lyrics that he didn't. He left her safe and sound by the river (he went home) and she went walking all alone (she stayed because she wanted to walk alone for a little while before heading home herself) and later on she was found dead. This guy is blamed by the townspeople because he has a bad past and/or the people just plain never liked him. I like the idea someone said of him being a bastard child, which explains why the town didn't like him even at age 7. As someone else also stated, what would be the point of the song if he had killed her?!? "People never trusted me, and then I met a nice girl and killed her. The end." e_e
    BalisongAbraxason May 22, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaningguys remember that there are two videos about this song. And obviously one complements the other.
    Video 1: we learn that Richard's mother "came to Hazard" when he was seven years old. As Dave in Wales pointed out this can be ambiguous. . . . or is it? [__this will come up again__] We see the sheriff standing atop a bridge spying on Richard and Mary and taking pictures; these photos come up again later when the sheriff drives by Mary while she's walking [__does the sheriff have something for Mary?__]. Cut to night and Richard is walking--perhaps by the river, though it's not shown--and discovers Mary making out with another man (this triggers the flashbacks to his mother cheating). The sheriff arrives and turns a searchlight on Richard who runs and leaves his scarf behind, caught on a shrub [__why was the sheriff there anyway? Was he checking up on "his" Mary?__]. Cut to Richard alone in his trailer watching TV, then to an approach on Mary from behind (still by the river), then back to Richard in obvious anguish [__why anguish? Is he upset that Mary was with another man, or because he did something bad?__], then back to Mary again as she turns around--she's been crying and seems surprised to see *someone* [__her killer, but who is it?__]. We see a close-up of Richard's scarf in the water, then him at home being arrested. Scenes of police investigating led to a pull-back on the scarf--it's underwater and around Mary's neck [__did Richard do it? His scarf, but the sheriff saw him leave it behind as he ran. . . . __]. As Richard "thinks about his life gone by and how it's done me wrong" we see his father leaving with another woman due to Richard's mother's affaire. Young Richard saw his mother cheating and burns down the house [__presumably with his mother and her lover still inside. So, is this how his mother "came to hazard"?__] (this also indicates that Richard has issues with people cheating [__his reaction to Mary with another man seems to indicate he had feelings for her and considered her to be cheating__]). He runs away as the house burns and we cut to the police interrogation--"I didn't date her" he tells them. "Didn't date her? She made you jealous didn't she?" replies the sheriff, who gets cut off by another official: "all righty sheriff, what's the point?" "This is the point!" the sheriff pulls out the scarf in an evidence bag. Cut to the townspeople burning down Richard's trailer, and a quick scene of Mary [__the same scene from earlier where the sheriff was following her, only this time she's running from him__]. The sheriff drops Richard off at his burnt-out trailer [__apparently there wasn't enough evidence to hold him__], a mother walking with her son quickly pulls him in close and covers his eyes [__it's obvious they still think he's "not right" and that he killed Mary__]. We're left with Richard leaving town and a voice-over from Mary: "y'know, everyone thinks I should be afraid of you.... [__at this point we cut to the sheriff, another cut from the "stalking Mary" scene__] But I'm not." The lines "No one understood what I felt for Mary/No one cared until the night she went out walking alone/And never came home" & "I swear I left her by the river/I swear I left her safe and sound" are the subject of much debate: if she was walking alone, how did Richard leave her by the river? My take is that he's referring to when he saw her in the car, or possibly "the last time I saw her was by the river". In the end, my thoughts on this video are that the sheriff is stalking her and doesn't like that she's friendly with Richard. It seems that maybe the sheriff did kill her and used Richard--with his prior history--as the patsy.
    that´s one theory of course


    she killed herself. Ashamed of what she had done and that she lost her only true friend. She cheated on him. Second theory -Just my thoughts.


    When I recently heard that song again, I noticed that in the lyrics he first sings "no one cared until the night she went out walking alone", which - to me - means, that he wasn´t with her at all. In the following refrain then he sings "I swear, I left her by the river". So he actually HAS been with her, right? Personally I think, that he´s lying and did murder the girl.

    don´t forget the phrase "come to hazard"
    The song opens with an interesting lyric - "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". Hazard is the name of a town in Nebraska, but the term "to come to hazard" also means to meet with danger. Could this perhaps have been a deliberate play on words on Richard Marx's part? You don't hear anything else about the narrator's mother in the song, and there's no mention of the residents taking a dislike toi her, only her son. Could that line mean that she migrated to the town of Hazard when the boy was seven? Or perhaps that when the boy was seven something happened to his mother, and the other residents of the town suspected that the boy was in some way involved?

    mithos5000on May 18, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis song by itself is a simple tale of a man falsely accused of murder (unless you believe he's an unreliable narrator). But the two videos, I think, create a story that points to the sheriff as the killer.

    The videos introduce four theories about Mary's death: Either she killed herself or was killed by Richard Marx's character, the sheriff, or her unknown lover.

    We can rule out suicide. Mary didn't drown; she was strangled and dumped in the river. It would be easy to determine this on autopsy, which is why the scarf is presumed to be the murder weapon. (The sheriff brandishes the scarf and asks Richard, "How did you tie this around Miss Mary's neck?") It would be virtually impossible for someone to strangle herself with her own scarf! More importantly, we see Mary on the riverbank through the eyes of the killer as he approaches and she turns to scream. If she committed suicide, what's going on in these shots? Though the police department eventually rules the death a suicide, this seems like an easy out so they can close the case, not an evidence-based conclusion.

    We can also rule out Mary's lover because if he murdered her, then the sheriff must've really been an innocent man just looking out for Mary. But if that was so, he should've arrested her lover as a prime suspect. After all, he saw her lover with her on the night of the murder. Instead, Richard seems to be the only one he's interested in, which is consistent with the idea that he's trying to frame him.

    There's a second reason we can rule out Mary's lover, and it's the same reason we can ultimately rule out Richard: We see three shots of Mary through the killer's eyes as he bears down on her. Notice her expression when she turns to see who's there. She's startled, confused, and then terrified, opening her mouth to scream. If it was Richard or her lover who approached her, she would've looked relieved at first, maybe even glad. Her reaction indicates that the person she sees is someone she didn't expect and doesn't trust.

    So who do we know Mary doesn't trust? The sheriff. We know he's been following her, and though you could argue that he's just suspicious of Richard and trying to protect her, a good cop doesn't keep people under surveillance with no plausible reason. When he drives by, Mary looks wary of him and even breaks into a run. That's not a normal way for a girl to react to a police officer unless he said or did something that made her uncomfortable.

    When Mary is murdered, her body is found quickly ("next morning") and in an obvious place, a shallow river that she frequented, as if the killer wanted it to be found. Yet Richard makes no attempt to hide or flee and is surprised by the cops in his bed the next morning. The sheriff then tries his hardest to incriminate Richard until the other officers have to tell him to back off because there's no good evidence against him.

    All of this suggests that the sheriff killed Mary and framed Richard. But what should we make of Richard's violent past then?

    Clearly Young Richard was a troubled boy. The townsfolk said he was "not right," and the videos imply that he deliberately set fire to his house, killing his mother and her lover. But did Young Richard *intend* for them to die? It's extremely rare for a child under twelve to kill anyone, much less his own mom. But it's common for kids to act out aggressively to express frustration and get attention. It looks like this is the story in "Hazard." Young Richard acts out in anger, not thinking of the consequences, which prove fatal in this case. He cuts his hair in guilt and remorse as a way to shame himself and literally "cut ties" to his past.

    If we assume Young Richard didn't want his mother dead and felt horrible about the fire he caused, it becomes much less likely that he'd want to kill Mary. After Mary dies, he cuts his hair again not because he's guilty of her murder but because he *feels* guilty. The circumstances are all too similar. Mary looks uncannily like his mother, her long-haired partner looks like his mother's lover, and he felt hurt and betrayed that Mary "replaced" him, just as he felt hurt and betrayed that his mother "replaced" his father. In his anger, he ran away and left Mary alone and vulnerable, and even though he knows he wasn't responsible for her death this time, he *feels like* his uncontrolled emotional response has once again killed the woman he loves.

    There's no conflict in Richard's statements that Mary "went walking all alone" and that he "left her by that river…safe and sound." When he sees her for the last time, she and her lover are probably parked near the river. That's why Richard was walking there in the first place–he was hoping to run into her. And that's why the sheriff was hanging around–he was hoping to run into them. When Richard takes off, Mary apparently runs after him, picking up the scarf he tore off in his anger, which she's wearing when the killer finds her. The river must be close by because she walks down there to have a good cry. Richard, meanwhile, goes home to sulk in his trailer.

    And so I rest my case: Mary was murdered but not by Richard or her lover. The sheriff done it! But the fact that this song and its music videos are still the subject of so much debate almost twenty years later is a testament to how masterful they are. Truly among the all-time great music videos!
    LyricallyInclinedon July 22, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe is a town called Hazard in Nebraska
    gsleithon July 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe mother of the boy came to hazard when he was 7, this indicates that the boy was not bought up with her, as it never stated he came to hazard at 7. He was possibly mixed up emotionally by his lack of stability within the family. There is nothing in this song which sugests the boy was retarded in anyway, he was probably just a mischievous child who needed a guiding hand to teach him right from wrong, the local opinion of him was very low due to his behavioural problems throughout his youth, this led to people mistrusting him. then when his girlfriend goes missing, people started to point the finger at him, accusing him of murdering her. The night she vanished, they were by the river together, then they went their separate ways and she was never seen alive again. I believe what someone sugested that he wanted to comit suicide in the river, probably to be with her as she was the only person he ever really felt close to and bonded with. Its a sad song really. But he never killed her.
    mattstfcon October 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti just recalled this song from ages ago :D

    it's good

    kinda haunted me when i was little....the lyrics and filmclip
    daddioon October 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy all time favourite ...
    avion December 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlove this song reminds me of my mate stevie who use to play it everyday.its a very sad song if u listen properly.
    forsakenangel25on July 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah , I concur on this fact .It is a sad song ...lyrics is good. Seems that he migt be hurted in the past .That line is my favourite one"no one understood ...pointed right at me ".Really good.
    avion January 15, 2006   Link

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