20 Songs About Rivers

A river is a body of fresh water that runs freely and provides a habitat for life. It is a very nice natural force that caters to wildlife and may also be used for recreational purposes.

In stories, people like to use rivers as a way to talk about feelings and situations. Songs about rivers are also really popular because they can mean different things. Here are a few songs inspired by rivers that you might enjoy.

1. “Green River” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Nature lovers will love this guitar-dominated tune. This melody talks about the natural beauty of rivers and the wildlife it shelters. It’s a fun song for everyone to learn from and enjoy.

2. “Watching The River Flow” by Bob Dylan

Are you looking for some good old blues? This number by Bob Dylan is a must-listen. The song talks about self-reflection while everything is in chaos. Bob Dylan is advising listeners to be like the river and keep their thoughts steady and their minds focused.

3. “River Deep, Mountain High” by Harry Nilsson

This folk-pop song is all about young love. The narrative starts with a young boy expressing his interest in a girl. He compares the magnitude of his feelings to be “River Deep, Mountain High”. This track proves that being young and in love is a great thing.

4. “River So Wide” by Phil Collins

This tune by the iconic Phil Collins has a lot of symbolism but the most significant of all themes is the yearning for unity. The song encourages people to look past their differences and make ways to meet everyone halfway.

5. “Down By The River” by Neil Young

This grungy acid rock tune tells a sad story. This song is described as a cry for help by a man who has done wrong. The narrative states that the man lost his senses and committed a crime out of blind rage. He regretted his actions but unfortunately, it is too late.

6. “Many Rivers To Cross” by Harry Nilsson

This reggae tune focuses on how to face challenges. Harry Nilsson wrote this song when he faced the reality of how hard it is to get your break in the entertainment industry.

The title of the song “Many Rivers to Cross” shows his acceptance of the situation. It also shows his willingness to move forward.

7. “Yes, The River Knows” by The Doors

A person in deep thought is featured in this quiet song. During the protagonist’s meditation, he believes the nearby river is a trusted companion. He also talks about missing an ex-partner and wanting another chance to be together.

8. “The River Sings” by Enya

This lovely song gives a very mystic vibe. The enchanting voice of Enya and the musical instruments takes you to a different dimension.

The tune wonders about where things start and finish. It’s like a river without clear beginnings or ends.

9. “Ol’ Man River” by Frank Sinatra

This song rendition by Frank Sinatra is an ode to every hardworking African-American. It depicts their struggles and how much effort they exert to be able to go against the flow. This melody also showcases Sinatra’s impeccable vocal control as he sustains his resonance and vibrato throughout the whole performance.

10. “River” by Joni Mitchell

This Christmas-themed folk song talks about a lady trying to recover from a failed relationship. She contemplates what to do to forget emotional turmoil and tries to focus on the festivities instead to distract her mind.

11. “Down In The River To Pray” by Alison Krauss

We don’t know where this Southern Gospel song came from, but lots of people have recorded it. Alison Krauss’ version is one of the favorites. Her enchanting voice added a touch of enchantment to this upbeat song.

This Christian folk song is about persevering in the face of adversity. Those who have strong faith will be rewarded in the end and emerge victoriously.

12. “Following The River” by The Rolling Stones

This mellow ballad is known for its exquisite piano accompaniment. It talks about loving someone deeply, admiring them, and wanting them. The emotions are real and unselfish.

The protagonist really likes the other person but doesn’t say it. Instead, they thank the person for making them better.

13. “Moon River” by Andy Williams

This iconic pop tune made an appearance in the classic film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. It has received praise and even won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

The most popular version of “Moon River” is the rendition by Andy Williams. This short and sweet song talks about moving forward with a special person by your side because when you are together, crossing the Moon River is easier. 

14. “Cry Me A River” by Justin Timberlake

Heartbreaks are really tough, but you need to find ways to handle them. Artists often turn their pain into great music. This rhythmic and contemporary melody talks about the controversial breakup of Justin and Britney.

People have different views on how Justin handled his breakup, but music experts find “Cry Me A River” to be a new and exciting sound. The fusion of R&B, electronic sounds, and vocal harmony invested in this track made it memorable and earned it a lot of airplay.

15. “The River” by Bruce Springsteen

This rock and roll song talks about married life. It was inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s younger sister and her relationship struggles. As the lyrics suggest, things were not easy for the young couple but for the relationship to succeed, they sought to make the most of it. 

If this song teaches us anything, it’s to make sure you’re emotionally, psychologically, and financially prepared before walking down the aisle. Harmonica tones have been integrated into the music to add flair to the track.

16. “Like A River” by Kate Wolf

This country-folk tune tells a story about the wonders of nature. It concentrates on a mountaintop with a river flowing through it, tall trees standing tall, and the aroma of delicious pines filling the air.

The tune’s descriptions make it easy for the listener to picture a peaceful place so hit play when you need to clear your mind and meditate.

17. “Whiskey River” by Willie Nelson

This 1970s country tune is a crowd favorite due to its fun nature. Imagine how would life be if a “Whiskey River” did exist? Maybe parties would last longer, and more people can indulge. In the song, whiskey comforts the person telling the story, but honestly, it’s a drink to enjoy in moderation!

18. “River Of Dreams” by Billy Joel

This pop-rock tune has a mix of choir background vocals which elevated the beauty of this track. The river in the song represents the path people take through life.

It mentions that even if a river can stand on its own, it ends up as part of the ocean. In a spiritual sense, it could mean that people may be individuals but they are designed to be with others.

19. “River” by Leon Bridges

This lovely rhythm and blues song is about self-reflection and progress. The song’s lyrics suggest that the protagonist is going through a difficult moment.

In the midst of a quarrel, he follows his mother’s advice to come clean and seek spiritual help and direction. To find serenity for himself, he decides to follow the advice. Several religious references to forgiveness and spirituality can be found in this song.

20. “Big River” by Grateful Dead

Have you ever met someone you fell deeply in love with? Like, really strong feelings? That’s what the song “Big River” is about. It tells the story of a man looking for his true love.

In this song, the protagonist goes to a new location to find the girl who owns his heart but the journey is a failure, and by the time the song finishes, he gives up on his efforts. The music also showed his strong sadness. It knows that sometimes, things won’t work out no matter how hard you try.

Final Thoughts

Rivers are natural forces that stand for many things. Artists often used them to show feelings and ideas. They can represent people, emotions, or situations.

Whether you’re exploring yourself or searching for love, there are songs inspired by rivers that match your mood perfectly.