Bow River

Album: Circus Animals (1982)

Songfacts®:

  • Like most of Cold Chisel's songs, this is about the working class ("I've been working hard, twelve hours a day..."). It describes the needs and wants of the working class man - the song has a very Aussie feel to it. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    hayley - vic, Australia
  • The members of Cold Chisel were: Jimmy Barnes (lead vocals), Ian Moss (vocals and lead guitar), Steve Prestwich (drums), Phil Small (bass) and Don Walker (keyboards). All members have gone on to have strong solo careers, with Barnes doing the strongest. He has a long list of albums, and toured globally supporting artists such as Bon Jovi. Barnes is the brother of John Swan (Swanee) who recorded as a solo artist, then went on to do the lead vocals for the "Party Boys." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bart - Cairns, Australia
  • This appears on Cold Chisel's live albums Last Stand (1983) and Ringside (2003). The song was also recorded in 1991 by Ian Moss on his second solo album Worlds Away. His 2006 release Six Strings features a 7-minute solo acoustic rendition of the song. Jimmy Barnes included a version on his 2001 live release Raw with a guest appearance from Ian Moss as well. Towards the end of Barnes' live rendition where the song goes into, "I don't need the score, I'm going out the door..." he stumbles for a second and forgets the words. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Daniel - Brisbane, Australia

Comments: 12

  • Ian from AustraliaIt is a song about someone stuck in the city of Adelaide in South Australia working in the auto industry ("I don't want to see another engine line") and wanting to escape to the hot, wet and relatively empty north end of Australia ("the great top end") where Bow River is. Ian Moss was from the Northern Territory.
  • Jim Kinney from PhiladelphiaPlain and simple, this is one of the best songs I've ever heard. This band is a prime example of an artist that didn't go anywhere in America because of lack of record company support. It's a cryin' shame. Here's to you Cold Chisel. I apologize for Elektra Records and whatever other company has too much wax in their ears.
  • Jr from SwedenIt’s not as romantic as some people think. The guy is a working class person slaving in a factory. He dreams of a better life and wants out of there - somewhere a long way away without having to pretend he likes the boss. Even if that life means less money he imagines it will be more free and he can make decisions for himself. It’s an angry song about someone feeling desperate. If you are from the working class you will know how he feels.
  • James from Minneapolis, MnIn 2014 Olivia Newton-John released a cover version on her "Hotel Sessions" EP, a collection of demos she recorded for her producer nephew, Brett Goldsmith. Incidentally, Olivia has also recorded with Jimmy Barnes in the past.
  • Laurent from Manama, BahrainSuperb song again by CC. There are some great live versions of it on youtube. I love Jimmy Barnes, have all his solo albums. He's a very emotional singer. He really lives the songs. Had the chance to see him live in 1993 in Zurich and he was brilliant. CC is a great band.
  • Katie from Perth, AustraliaBow River is located up near the Kimberley Region of Western Australia, where i am from. It is a very hot and humid part of the world, where outdoor work is hard yakka. The area has been mined for for Diamonds for some time in the last 20 or so years. The song is probaly in reference to working on this mine. Some say the song is in reference to the Bow River Station, located nearby, back in the days gone by. The past managers of the station hold this song a tribute to their station. This song has made the river and area famous and is a classic Chisel song which defines what a hard working man likes - freedom in the hard outback of Australia.
  • Apaulo Hughes from Calgary, Abwhich bow river? 2 in oz and 1 in canada, 'eh!
  • Ian from Taranaki, NorwayDon Walker is one the best song writer ever.I love his intelegent insight and frank or to the point style or the truth told as it is.Cold Chisel is so sucesfull because Don wrote the briliant words and Jimmy expressed the emotion so well and Ian Guitar skills could never be questioned. My favourite song is Wild Colonial boy.I kind of get the meaning of the song and love it for its very strong lyrics. If anybody could explain a bit about it. Ian New Zeland
  • Duane from Adelaide, AustraliaBow River came off Chisel's third studio album "Circus Animals" (1981). The band's promotional tour of the U.S had a stong influence on this album. Ian Moss and Don Walker were impressed with the style of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. "Bow River' was written in response to seeing the Thunderbirds perform. Conversely, Jimmy Barnes wrote "You Got Nothing I Want" in reaction to the American recording industry in general, and (reportedly) one record executive in particular.
  • Bart from Cairns, AustraliaMossy went on to record the "matchbox" album after his time with chisel. Barnes' first solo album was Bodyswerve, and Walkers was "catfish".
    I think chisel's best song was "Four Walls", bow river was good, but not their best.
  • Rs from Tsv, AustraliaIan Moss was guitarist for cold chisel not eric moss
  • Traff from Adelaide, AustraliaThis song was written and performed by Eric Moss, the lead guitarist of Chisel. IMHO the best songs by Chisel (with the exception of Khe Sanh) were done by Mossy.
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