Lyrics for Hazard by Richard Marx - Songfacts (2023)

  • Don from AmericaThere is no river in hazard. The nearest one is 49 miles away.
  • Timma from KansasWhat caught my attention was how he said Mary went out walking all alone and never came home. Then he says I left her by the river, I left her safe and sound. Why are you changing your story? Makes you look guilty.
  • Matt from WashingtonI saw the comment about the ring finger, and I had to go back and look. To me, it looks more like a piece of tape than a ring. Rough edges and too thick to be a standard ring. The song was released in 1991. Marx was married to Cynthia Rhodes at the time, so I wonder if it was there to cover up his actual wedding ring. Maybe he didn't want to take it off for the video out of respect for his real life wife. I think they hoped they could just pass it off as a bandage.
  • Ele ElbowI can't find any copies of version two of the video. All the links in the other comments have been deleted (one at YT says it was taken down for a copyright conflict with UMG, and Marx's YT only lists version 1).

    I went through the video very closely, and I noticed a couple of details that deserve attention. When Marx first mentions Mary, we see her, in her black-with-flowers dress, standing in the river. She's either standing on a rock, or literally on top of the water. This is the dress she was wearing when she was killed, so the implication is that this is her ghost.

    A bit later in the video, when Marx mentions his mother coming to Hazard when he was seven, we see her standing in the river -- again, as if she is standing on the water. Again, the implication is that she's a ghost. She looks very much like Mary, but her hair has more curl to it, and is not quite as long.

    Near the end of the video, when we see his mother with her lover, and being left by the army man (presumably her husband), she has shoulder-length hair with almost no curl in it at all.

    There are two scenes in the video that are ambiguous. A young woman, with long, very curly hair, wearing a white-with-flowers dress is being followed by the police chief, and then she is running. I always assumed this was Mary, but the more I look at her, the more I think she might be Marx's *mother*. The hair and features match the woman hovering over the river when he mentions his mother, but the hair is very different from his mother on her porch, or in her bedroom with her lover.

    If it is his mother, then perhaps the sheriff stalked her, just as he obviously stalks Mary. Perhaps Marx's mother didn't die in the house fire, but later, at the hands of the sheriff *in* Hazard. (It's never clear whether the house fire is in Hazard or if it was in their lives before they came to Hazard). Marx never gives us any clear lyrics about his mother's death.

    Another alternative is that the woman in the white-with-flowers dress is neither Mary nor Marx's mother, but some other similar looking woman, who was stalked (and murdered?) by the sheriff.

    (Video) Hazard - Richard Marx Lyrics

    Finally, in a scene around 1:25, when Marx and Mary are hanging out by the river, we see that he is wearing the white scarf, and she puts her hand on top of his. On his left ring finger is a simple gold band. She has no rings. Is he married? If so, to whom? There's no mention of any other woman who might be a romantic figure in his life. He's not married to Mary, right? Is there some tiny sliver of a chance that he is? When he tells the sheriff that he didn't "date" Mary, it would still be true if he *married* her. This clip is too sharp, and too explicit to be meaningless, but I confess the meaning escapes me.

    In the end, it certainly seems that Marx did not commit the murder. He was framed by the sheriff, who killed Mary himself. Or, there is some slim chance that her lover killed her with Marx's scarf (which he left behind when he saw them together).

  • Anonymous from New Zealand I think the cop did it he looks like a typical bully type, I think he fancied Mary himself and watched their love grow and he was jealous. I also believe it's the cop she is speaking to at the end when she says she's not afraid cause she thought he was just a bully and I think that comment might have just sent him over the edge to commit her murder.
  • Cherry from AustraliaRichard loved to read mystery/Murder Novels he said that himself, clearly indicating that he has an investigative side, which I understand as a writer, and as a,Poet, Author, who always loved Nancy Drew mysteries.
    As a Writer, you convolute many things youve read! Somehow that, as well as little things of your own inner self marry together, and a Tale is formed. Theres layers to the tale, to make it mysterious as is the mind of an investigative person, and sometimes a little of our inner self!
    In this Ballad, The boy is different, my thoughts go to Autism, or Just Mentally challenged, hence the attitude of the town Bigots, who always Zero in on those that they consider worthless in society, yet underneath the inability to communicate, this young boy in the Song, quite possibly had a very intelligent mind in areas only the very perceptive could bring out in him.
    His Father, being Militia clearly showed disdain for him and his Mother, for giving him a useless Son, as is so common, and cleared off with another woman!
    The Lad, of course was traumatized by this, sheesh what Child wouldn't be!!
    Mother left to rear him, and having needs herself finds a Man, who likely was a @#$%# to the Lad! Not many Men are nice to other Men's Sons, theyre in the way, Normal or otherwise. In my mind, the Boyfriend is more likely to of committed the crime of burning down the house, because the Mother, well she was protective and didnt like the way her Son was being treated, so she dissed the bloke off.
    The kid had to run for his life, scared out of his wits, but the Mother bought it!
    Thats the early years.. He's lived in foster care or whomever took him in, till he could afford a trailer to live in. Kicked from pillar to post all his life basically.
    Enter Mary in his life, A beautiful Woman who somehow got to talking to him and discovered the " Man Inside"!
    At the same time he took keen interest in the things she liked, and also discovered things about her that were a little different. For example in the Movie, she puts the scarfe around his neck and pulls it so tight it clearly takes his breath away, one could speculate about her own preferences sexually at this point!
    Perhaps she liked it rough, and was getting it rough, from her Boyfriend.
    The Character played By Marx has no Name, so we'll call him David. Hes become besotted with her, they dont date because oft times, Young women like to keep company with a young bloke, but they never dated, though clearly he means a great deal to her and vice Versa!
    David goes to to park up place this night, by the river, see's her making out in the car, and takes off, in fight in flight manner, as he's probably always done, goes back to his trailer, losing the scarfe on a tree as he races off! Clearly a very emotional Man.
    Local Sheriff is just a Bully whose been on his case for years, with his own agenda where Mary is Concerned, oh yes he'd love a piece of her himself, you see that in his sinister look at one point. Mary goes missing, she's found in the River With Scarfe around her neck, why did she have the scarfe about her neck? She was sorry David had seen her in the Car, she must of grabbed it out of the branches and possibly scratched her face getting it. This deduction I've made because when fished out of the river, her face is scratched..she really did want David close to her, the smell of his body about her, so sad to be torn between having feelings for him, yet in a town like Hazzard, expected to be with someone considered respectable, not the town weirdo!
    Of course what interesting is that her body hadnt floated off, nor had it surfaced, indicating clearly she had been weighted down with something heavy. Who knew where to look, the killer of course, who sounded the alarm..
    Sometime after she had not returned home!!
    Who Dunnit indeed?
    My Mind favours someone she didnt trust obviously, as she was distressed by a character..
    A Random, or unknown Serial Perp, with the stuff in his vehicle to weight her body down? Been watching for a while?The Boyfriend realizing Her heart wasnt with him, threw a Tanty, crime of passion!
    They try and pin it on David, but its obvious he didn't, unless of course he pulled himself together, caught up with her, and took back the scarfe n did the deed, maybe the townsfolk were right from the get go, he wasnt right!
    Not enough evidence, to pin it on anyone, leaves a Very Cold case, David Cuts his hair in ethnic remorse, and heads out of town after his Trailer is torched.

    No one knows who did it, no one cares!
    " No one understood what I felt for Mary, no one cared untill she went walking all alone, and never came home"

    No one cared!

    At the end of the day, No one cared about Mary, and these two had become close because neither of them were particularly of interest except for other peoples fun & games!!
    Tragic Tale, leaving everyone wondering who did the deed forever! Just as Richard Marx Intended. ;)
    He said it was Dumb, but it's proved far from Dumb, because he has a very intricate mind, and artists leave impressions always, for us to go figure.
    David msy of contemplated suicide, though he didn't, but he needed to make it to the river, say goodbye, and leadfoot it outa that miserable place once for all!
    I hope you liked my " Go Figure"

    Ch'erie de Perrot

    (Video) Richard Marx - Hazard (Official Video)

  • Gilda from HawaiiThere is a novel that is loosely based on these events. It's called Riddle by Elizabeth Newton.
  • Graeme from Nice What I love about the song is that it is ambiguous. It is suggested that he was framed as the outsider, but was also the most likely suspect. So we never know if he was guilty or scapegoated. It’s up to us to decide.
  • Tina from Atlanta, GeorgiaThere is also a town called Hazard, in Kentucky. The plot of this song could fit in that town as well.
  • Brad from Gosford, AustraliaAdding to my comment below.. Later in the songs he says "No escape for me this time".. This time? He has done this before.
  • Brad from Gosford, AustraliaI think it is clear, HE did it...

    First, she went walking ALL ALONE, and never came home... Alone, as in, he was not with her.

    Next he says he "Left her by the river". But she was alone, wasn't she?

    Finally, he needs to 'get back to the river'. To hide the body perhaps?

    Pretty clear really.

  • Victoria Semenenko George Michael's Baby from UkraineNick Cave & Kylie Minogue "Where wild roses grow" (1995) obviously referencing to this song.
  • Olivia from Cape Town, South AfricaI think the cop guy killed her. He was jealous of the relationship she had with Richard and she had with this other guy in the car. The cop wanted her, but could not have her, and I think he killed her for it, and framed Richard instead. I love this song, it's beautiful
  • Phillippa from Harare, ZimbabweEnter your comment here...well I love this song very much,and I also love happy ending,I think apart 4rm seeing the video, I don't think he killed Mary coz he said,"3 years ago when I came 2 know Mary,first time someone looked beyond those rumors and the lies,meaning tt he was innocent,it was all a lie what pple said abt him,since they used 2 dream leaving the town I think Mary was not killed instead she left the town 1st without Richard,I mean u heard him saying,I think of my life gone by how it done me wrong,all of my rescues are gone...4rm tt line I can tell he is harmless,anyway I hoped one day Mary would come back for Richard and prove them all wrong.
  • Dave from Stapleford, United KingdomTo Dave in Toronto & Frank in Cambridge - lighten up!!!! It's just a song - I'm betting neither of you get out too much
  • Teena from Johannesburg, South AfricaIndeed a stunning song and if Marx wanted to leave the listener to create his or her own interpretation of the song, here is mine;
    The boy came to Hazard with a deep secret that even today still meets with bigotry by narrow minded people who just cannot accept that nothing in nature is perfect. At 7 he already showed signs of being transgendered and lived a double life, making people think he was at times by the river with a lady called Mary.
    On a given day, he decided to let go the secret and "murder" his other side, Mary and try to live as the "man" he was born to be??

    Could make for a good movie :) - Brillant song otherwise !!!!

  • Frank from Cambridge, United KingdomI think her boyfriend in the car killed her.......It seems like a typical story of any small town anywhere, but I feel that the prejudices involved place this story back in time when divorce, single mothers, and promiscuity were very very taboo (Maybe the 60's when the nuclear family was the only socially acceptable form of family life with strong emphasis on gender roles). I agree that clearly the boy moved to this small town after the separation of his mother and father, I think for the time period probably she left the previous town because of shame of marriage breakdown, and her husband, a military officer clearly had high status within the community and little shame would have fallen on him. She has left with the boy to live in a new town where she is relatively unknown, but clearly the tight community see's a child of divorce and a child struggling with the social pressure of living with just one parent - he is definitely emotionally fragile. Also the boy is struggling with loss of his father, and he feels very rejected when his father takes a new younger girlfriend or wife. I think at this point the boy realises he has been shut out of his fathers life. His mother however seems to either have another boyfriend or at least is engaging in a love affair. This deeply traumatises the boy as he can see now his family has broken up and in his mind it is infidelity, lying and cheating that have bought this upon him - ie the deepest most traumatic thing he has ever felt has come from sexual betrayal - this defines his value system I think. Weather he killed his mother and her lover in the house fire isn't clear but clearly his anger towards his mother is repeated later by the towns people towards his small trailer. I think as he has grown up he is is completely outcast, know-one likes him, wants to be his friend, and because of the house-fire incident he is assumed to have a violent way about him (Mary makes the comment "people say I should be afraid of you") So he has a bad reputation - but probably undeserved. As in small communities its almost impossible to climb the social ladder from the bottom. For whatever reason Mary and he do develop a friendship. I think for her, she is very beautiful, so probably popular in the town does not think it as a romantic relationship, but he, being an outsider, never getting any love of affection previously falls romantically in love. As he says to the police "we weren't dating" - I think this is a hard realisation for him. I think she knows that he is in love with her and that is why she is so upset when she realises she was seen by him with her boyfriend in her boyfriend's car by the river. I think that they clearly had a deep emotional connection, or at least he did with her, I am sure he told her of his feelings about his mothers betrayal of his father and vica-cersa and I am sure she understood the deep emotional impact infidelity had on him, hence again her strong concern about what he saw. I think however this is the last time they see each other. As he runs away his scarf is caught in the bushes, this places him at the scene of the crime but does not mean he did it. She takes his scarf and puts it around her neck and is crying for him, she clearly does value their friendship and feels upset for him. He goes home and cries for what he feels is her betrayal but that is all. At the scene by the river, the police officer shows up, he had clearly been investigating the relationship between the two. I am sure he couldn't understand what the lovely Mary was doing with the town outcast. He had pictures and I am sure he confronted her (and her boyfriend in the car) about her liaisons with the boy. Probably Mary was dating a young man with high status in the town (on the fact she is very beautiful and in small towns that means status) and after the officer left he felt that Mary had betrayed him, he then became insanely jealous and strangled her with the scarf, he must have known was the boys and dumped the body in the river. How could he tolerate his girl spending what appeared to be romantic times with the town freak?? That completely dishonoured his status in the town and is honour as a man. As for the officer, I don't think he did it or was related to Mary in any way - just an arrogant small town police officer. Can you imagine if you were that officer and he had killed your wife/daughter/sister - he was interrogating him for confession but if I was that officer and I thought I was looking at the killer of my daughter I probably would have beat him to within an inch of his life or even turned my weapon on him out of rage. I think the officer while harsh does not display the behaviours of a grieving father/brother/uncle or any family member. The fact he is released points that there was not enough evidence despite his scarf around her neck. Perhaps a cover-up now to protect the high profile boyfriend. Still the townspeople are disatisfied and they torch his trailer. He is finally driven out of town, again a victim of love and betrayal.
  • Pj from Dublin, IrelandI remember summer 92 when this song was released I was so in love with a girl who was a """friend""" but never told her ...usual story.....still good times though ,,,and life goes on,,,,,,"hope you are well d".........As for the song its a fantasy mystery ballad that has a powerful riddle. A facination for many, but can never be solved because its simply too vague........A true classic that takes me back the way music should ......
  • Thompho from Makhado, South Africaguys lets not forget that this is just a song, not a true life story
  • Jennifer from San Diego, CaThere were in fact 3 videos. The 3rd one did not reveal the killer, but it implicated the sheriff. I'm disappointed I can't find it on the web now. Guess I'll have to look through old VHS tapes to see if I ever recorded it!
  • Erin from Fargo, NdSomeone posted on YouTube that the 3rd version of the Hazard video was not actually a part 3 but an edit of cuts from versions 1 and 2, plus added shots of Richard, that aired in Europe. It was a response to this video:

    This information makes me feel doubtful that an actual part 3 (as in, a version that gives more clues/information about the case) ever actually aired. As far as my take on this song, I don't think that the lead character killed Mary, and I think "I swear I left her by the river" means the last time he saw/was with Mary before the incident was by the river at an earlier time. More and more I realize that I hold this theory because I don't want to believe that he killed her.

    (Video) Richard Marx on the Songwriting Process and Creation of His Song, Hazard

  • Jon from Newtown, United KingdomI like the comment from Dave, Cardiff, Wales. This, for me, sounds very plausible. After watching both videos (Wish I could find the third) I think that it is very likely that the boy killed his mother, blaming her for driving his Dad away. One of the things puzzling though is the Sheriffs involvement in all of this. Was he just keeping an eye on the boy because of the suspicious surroundings to his mothers death or did he have an interest in Mary? Whose was the married mans hand that Mary attempted to hold in the video. There are so many questions left to answer with this whodunnit video. We have to watch the third video I'm sure. Does anyone know of it's whereabouts?
  • John from Oklahoma City, OkP.s. cf. "China Doll" by the Grateful Dead; Slingblade (movie) for you video lovers.
  • John from Oklahoma City, OkI have been listening to this song a few times lately (2010) due to the pretty music. When I listened when it was first released I thought the kid was innocent (btw, I don't call him "Richard"- he's a character created by Richard, the songWRITER). This I now consider naïveté in believing the story of someone speaking to you. Sadly, having been around the block a few times by now, now know that some people can lie very sympathetically.

    Very interesting comments: I didn't know there was a controversy. But if it's fun, why not? I have never heard the term "came to hazard" outside of this song, and googling showed no ready literary references. It sounds kind of Old English; "came to peril" produces results. I think when the song was written, "came to Hazard" was simply geographical. Videos I will ignore- they seem to support different story, as movies may change endings of books. But that's cool.

    I think most all people will not say a seven-year-old boy is "not right" unless he is "off". That their eyes are "prejudiced" is just narcissism, perhaps. That he made no real friends until Mary indicates an unusual isolation.

    I think he's a psychopath.

  • Jim from Pleasant Hill, CaHow about a citation for the claim that Marx's sister drowned in real life? RE the no-river comments, a creek meandering SW of Hazard seems close enough to the truth, considering the other fictional stuff in the song.
  • Randa from Palm Springs, CaIf you people sent as much time trying to solve unsolved crimes with REAL detectives, as you do trying to solve the riddle of Hazard, this world would be cold case free.
    It is just a song for christ's sake!
    Some songs that are written are not meant to be solved, HELLO!
    Please stop searching for things that are not there, its ridiculous.
    Get a hobby!
    For real, I love Richard Marx's music just as much as the next
    Person, but this is absurd.
    Richard even stated many times there is no riddle.
    There is no crime to solve here.
    Its just a hauntingly beautiful song, that will leave you wondering "What if"*
  • James from Cedartown, GaMarx had wrote the line "this old Nebraska town" before he got the town name Hazard. It was after this line that he started looking for Nebraska town names to match the line. What a perfect match, Huh!
  • Teresa from Wales, United Kingdomp.s there is no third part, Richard said the song doesn't reveal what really happened to her so the video wouldn't, hence part 3 never made.
  • Teresa from Wales, United KingdomYou can watch the second part here: took me ages to find that, best version there is so far... I think the bloke in the car killed her because he was jealous she ran after Richard and found her with his scarf, don't think Richard killed her or his mother but was blamed for both.
  • David from Portland, OrYes, it is a play on words or double meaning.

    I found both the first and second versions here:

    Part 1:

    (Video) Richard Marx - Hazard (With Lyrics)

    Part 2:

    But have been unable to locate the third one.

  • Yvonne from Oppegård, NorwayI read on Wikipedia that it was aired 3 videoes of Hazard: "Richard Marx appeared on VH-1 several times during the spring of 1992, and challenged the viewers to watch all versions of the Hazard video(three were shot and aired), ending his intro with "and see if you can figure out who killed Mary." - Someone must have seen the third video. I Sure would like to see it. But what clues does the third video give? Hmmm...
  • Anina from Belgrade, YugoslaviaThe second version of the video STRONGLY suggests suicide throughout! Towards the beginning we actually see Mary distraught, wearing the white scarf after Marx lost it. This could suggest that she found it and tied it around her neck before killing herself. Towards the end of the video around three and a half minutes in, (it's very bad quality so I'm not 100% sure on this) Mary seems to be taking something off over her head or something then about 5 to 10 seconds later it almost looks like she is walking into the river and lowering herself, as in killing herself!!!
    If someone can watch the video and confirm this I would really appreciate it! Or even set me straight! :)
  • Hanny from Roden, NetherlandsI think he was framed . The girl was murdered by the sheriff and Richard was already an outcast of the town.It was very convenient for the law enforcers to put the blame on Richard.If you put the lyrics of the song and the images of the video together I think it"s a clear picture.
    Either way this is one of the best songs Richard Marx has ever written and one of the most beautiful videos.
  • Hawkie from Berlin, did the sheriff know where to find the body?
  • Hawkie from Berlin, GermanyOk, that's what it looks like to me after the facts: 1.about the haircut: that is what people do often after losing somebody/something very important, like a mom, a girlfriend or just after a certain trauma. Like watching a murder...
    2.first thing you see in the videos: water with the shadow from a guy with a hat (to me the sheriff)... that already tells me everything
    3.story - to me: mom (looking a lot alike Mary) meets a guy in a uniform (the sheriff?-age would fit...), they come together and it ends with a big fire and probably the dead of (at least) the mom. I any case a witness: the boy. Boy never "talks" to somebody beside Mary. Maybe he tells her about that night? And that's maybe why Mary runs away from the car with the sheriff? And that might have been the reason, why the sheriff has stalked not just after Mary, but maybe after "the boy" first? So, sheriff might have scared Mary to "get" her, he might have forced/raped her, that's why she cries, and "the boy" sees them, remembers his mother and that (same?) guy in uniform, gets hurt...runs away....loses his scarf...cuts his hair, thinking that Mary betrayed him. Now sheriff has problem...Mary might follow the boy to explain and sheriff is in danger (Hazard) to get caught with the witness/victim Mary and the witness boy. So, get rid of both with just murdering Mary with te scarf and blame the boy for it.
    I just put the shown facts into a story, does it sound kinda possible to you also?

    Video 2: Shows much of what video 1 did, but some scenes are a little longer, and there a few differences. (I'm not going into such detail with this one, just the major points.) The opening is basically the same, but we soon get a glimpse of Richard's mother cheating as the line "my mother came to hazard when I was just seven" plays [__this further supports the theory that she died at the hands of Richard__]. We also see young Richard cutting his hair [__just as elder Richard does after Mary dies__]. The line about "the boy's not right" plays over the scene where he's running from the house he set on fire [__maybe the boy really isn't right__] We see the sheriff "stalking" her again, but this time she smiles and waves at him. When Richard finds Mary "cheating" on him it appears that Mary sees him when the police light hits him [__it seems as if she feels guilty; more on that later__]. After Richard runs Mary gets out of the car [__presumably on the sheriff's order__]. Arrest and investigation scenes, father leaving, and house fire basically the same. Interrogation picks up from the scarf--the "other official" says "sheriff you're going to need a lot more evidence than that if you wanna hold this young man" [__so the only evidence they have is the scarf--no wonder they let him go in video 1 and later in #2__]. He explains the lack of evidence and that the cause of death will be declared suicide [__why would she kill herself? Did she strangle herself with the scarf?__] Cut to Mary and Richard by the river, she tells him that she often feels confused and that he is the only person who understands her. It ends almost exactly the same as #1, but this time Mary's voice-over is different--and more revealing--"I know this sounds weird.... but.... I don't know what I'd do if I lost you as a friend" [__so, they really aren't dating, but Richard seems to think of her as "his girl" and at this point we again cut to the sheriff, another cut from the "stalking Mary" scene__]. My take on this video is that they're trying to show us that Mary might have killed herself. She knew Richard had feelings for her and was ashamed when he saw her making out with another man. As he ran away she knew that she had, indeed, lost him as a friend and so took her life. This is what they're *trying* to show; I still think the sheriff did it--how would she strangle and drown herself? And the sheriff still seems to stalk her.

  • Dave from Toronto, OnIf anyone's looking for the videos the first can be seen here: and the second here: (bad quality) or here:

    For a good write-up of the story see the Wiki entry:


    (Video) Hazard (Rare Extended Version) Richard Marx +Lyrics HQ

    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.

  • Thompho Fulu from Louise Trichardt, South Africai believe Marx was 100% innocent of this murder. he never did any stupid to see her dead since he loved her so much. The sherrif as shown in the video was likely guilty and accountable for the murder."Folks" in Hazard believed he killed Mary simply becuase they never liked him since he was 7. they never knew he was framed by the sherrif who persecuted him. I'd advise Marx to do what Bob Marley did to the sheriff, in " i shot the sheriff" song
  • Mashavha from Durban, South Africai never knew that "Hazard" is the name of town. i thought it meant danger in this song. Is the song telling a true story or it's just a fiction suspense song? It creates an atmosphere of curiosity to know who murdered Mary. he should compose an answer song to this one.
  • Corey from Hazard, NeI still remember when his huge tour bus drove by our house and parked by muddy creek. My GrandMa was the postmaster at the time so after he made the song he stopped back out and gave her some signed tapes of singles to hand out. Still have one. Oh, and we don't have a river in Hazard. LOL. We even have a great website for our little town. Check it out, little piece of heaven. See ya there.
  • Diana from Vienna, AustriaHi! I have a question. I wonder who's the girl in the video. I'm not sure but I think it's the actress Kristin Minter ("Cool as Ice"). Any ideas?
  • Jess from St. Louis, MoI wanted to comment that I dont think Mary was murdered by anyone - she killed herself. Ashamed of what she had done and that she lost her only true friend. Just my thoughts. Go watch the second video, helps explain things more.
  • Jess from St. Louis, MoHere is the video to chapter two of Hazard
  • Craig from Falkirk, ScotlandThe real reason Richard Marx wrote the song was sadly about a failed rescue attempt for his young sister who very sadly drowned as she was unable to be saved.Richard Marx has every right to say "forget about it".sad but amazing song.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesMary - one of the videos is more disturbing than the other. But I won't say any more than that as I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet. BTW, Markus good point re: "Hazard" possibly being inspired by Bruce Springsteen's "The River", never thought about that before!
  • Gary from Geneseo, IlSorry, as per the map,there IS NO RIVER IN OR NEAR Hazard Nebraska
  • Mary from Phoenix, AzDianne, I was just on YouTube for the videos too. I'm at work, and the first one I clicked on was blocked (by my work) due to "Adult Content", but I was able to click on the second one. Did you watch both? Maybe one is more graphic than the other.
  • Dianne from Yankton, SdI'd like to know which video is featured on Youtube.
    Is it video number 1 or video number 2. I'm told there were two videos made of the song, Hazard.
    Does anyone know what the differences were between the two videos? That is what clues are given in one that are not given in the other? I want to present this video to my mystery group and I need as much information as possible. Is there an Internet site where both videos can be viewed? Thanks.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesProfessional Widow - that's a possibility. But then perhaps the reason why he settled on the name Hazard was because it enabled him to make a play on words in the opening line, and by doing so he (inadvertently) opened up an complex storyline behind what seems, on the surface, a very simple song? Unless you watch the video, then it's not until you actually look at the lyrics and think about them more in-depth that you notice there are a number of mysterious points. Richard himself may have not have planned the 'mystery' at all, and could have had no idea that in the the 15 years since the song came out people would still be debating about it...
  • Professional Widow from Greensboro, NcI wonder if Richard didn't take this idea from the headlines & maybe just chose a random city. He may not feel he can comment on the story as he would have to cite his sources. Y'think?
  • Markus from Stockholm, SwedenDoes anyone else think "Hazard" seems inspired by Bruce Springsteen's "The River"... Both the girls in the stories are called Mary and both the pairs go down to the river...
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesWhenever he is asked by fans what is the answer to the mystery behind "Hazard", Richard always gives the same ten word answer: "And the answer to the mystery is... FORGET ABOUT IT!" Perhaps he'll take the answer to the mystery to his grave - if he actually knows himself...
  • Markus from Stockholm, SwedenIt just doesn't seem right in everything he sings, that he should be the murderer... He says that he met her 3 years ago, and that it was the first time that anyone "looked beyond the rumors and lies, saw the man inside"... Why tha hell would he murder her?.. and after 3 years??!
  • Markus from Stockholm, SwedenI mean it mustn't have been the same walk if you get what I mean... Like I said, maybe they met for the last time the day before or somethin'..
  • Markus from Stockholm, SwedenIt's really cool that Marx composed this song that is a great mystery... However, maybe when Marx is singing about himself having left her by the river, he means that THAT is the last time he was with her... maybe the day before or whatever... that the last thing he saw of her was when he left her by the river...
  • Thomas from GrevesmühlenWhen 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.
    That would fit with Dave´s theory about his mother coming to hazard. Perhaps it was him who did something to his own mother. So the people in town where right, when they said, that he wasn´t "right".
    Just thoughts.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThe 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?
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesHit #3 in the UK in May 1992. The video has been the subject of much debate in the years that have gone by since, with many people feeling that it was actually the police officer who killed the girlfriend, and who then framed the narrator. As the song opens he states that he was only seven when he and his mother moved to Hazard, but that the people who resided in the village already were prejudiced from the start, took an instant dislike to him for no reason other than the fact that he was an outsider, and would not give him a chance to settle in. As soon as it was discovered that the girlfriend was missing, the other residents automatically accused him of her murder.
  • FAQs

    What is the story behind the Richard Marx song hazard? ›

    "Hazard" is a song written, produced, and performed by American singer-songwriter Richard Marx. The song is about a woman named Mary who mysteriously disappears and a social pariah who is accused of orchestrating Mary's disappearance, despite claiming to be innocent.

    Was hazard based on a true story? ›

    This purely fictional song is set in the small town of Hazard, Nebraska, which is a real place. It tells the story of a man who grows up there and is accused of murder when his girlfriend is found dead by the river.

    What songs did Richard Marx song? ›

    Richard Marx

    Who did Richard Marx wrote right here waiting for you for? ›

    Right Here Waiting

    How rich is Richard Marx? ›

    Richard Marx Net Worth: Richard Marx is an American singer, songwriter and producer who has a net worth of $25 million.

    What year was Richard Marx Hazard? ›

    How old is Richard Marx? ›


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