Small Nebraska Town Enjoying Benefits of Richard Marx Song
Hazard, Nebraska is a small community with a population of 78.
It lies just 10 miles west of Ravenna on Highway 2. The people there are
ordinary, hardworking people who go about their business and try to lead
productive, yet quiet lives. But lately there has been a little stir in the area
that has put Hazard, Nebraska in the minds of people all over the United States.
The stir... Hazard, a song written and sung by Richard Marx.
The song which is on Marx's latest album Rush Street was listed on the top chart
from the Gaven Report at number nine throughout the country last week, and
according to area radio stations, the song will hit the number one spot sometime
soon. Billboard Magazine also lists the tune in the top 40.
According to Janet Fletcher who works at Duke's Bar and Grill in
Hazard, DJ's from KQKY radio in Kearney have been calling the bar almost
everyday to find out what is going on in Hazard. Others have been calling just
to find out what the community consists of and what the people are like there.
"People around here really don't know what to think about all the attention
that we're getting," she said. She continued to say that a lot of the
residents hadn't even heard of the song until recently when people started to
stop along the highway to take pictures of the town's population signs,
old creek beds and ditches and other parts of the town.
Mark Reid, who is a radio personality at KQKY, went to Hazard last
Thursday afternoon with members of the "Zoo Crew" (Vicky Miller and
Mitch Cooley) to see Hazard and to visit with some of the people there. When
they arrived they stopped at Duke's and talked with some of the people there.
Then they left to take pictures of the town, and of course... the population
sign. The "Crew" also did a live remote broadcast while situated on
Highway 2 near Joe's Motor. The remote was going fine until a Burlington
Northern train came rolling by.
When looking at the jukebox situated in a corner of the bar, there
was a song by Richard Marx on the Machine, but it wasn't Hazard. "We
asked the jukebox company to get the song on there, but they haven't got it yet,
" stated Fletcher. The new owner of the Duke's was also on hand to see what
was going on. Steve Kucera who will take over the establishment on March 23rd
didn't know if he would take advantage of the Marx' song to promote his new
Arnold Nilson who runs Hazard Hay Co. told The News that he
received a phone call last Wednesday morning from radio station KZ93 in Peoria,
Illinois. The DJ told Nilson that he was on the air "live"
and that he wanted Nilson to tell his listeners all about Hazard. "I
thought it was a joke at first," Nilson said, "but I later realized he
wasn't kidding". He said that he talked with the DJ for about 15 minutes.
Nilson is sending the radio station some memorabilia (hats, maps, and anything
else with the name of Hazard on it).
The News contacted Marx's public relations manager, Paul Freundlich
of Dan Klores and Associates in New York City, last Friday morning to see if
they knew exactly what kind of attention that the song was creating in
Nebraska... especially in Hazard. Freundlich was surprised to hear about the
people stopping in the small community just because they had heard the song.
When asked if Marx would consider making himself available to the Hazard
community for their annual "Hazard Daze" (held in mid-August),
Freundlich stated that "Marx hasn't been asked, but if they would send us a
letter of request, Marx possibly may be there." It isn't known at this
time if the committee in charge of the event has sent out their request, but The
News will keep you updated if something comes up.
article originally printed in the March 9, 1992 article of USA
Today, a nationwide newspaper, reported by Karen
Makes Hazard, NE a Hit
residents of Hazard, NE are buzzing. All 100 of 'em. When Richard Marx's
song, Hazard, hit local radio waves, there was "massive response. All
of a sudden there's a hip town in Nebraska" says Mark Reid, music
director at KQKY in nearby Kearney.
The song tells of the mysterious death of a woman named Mary,
a departure for the ballad-crooning pop star. It's completely fictional,
Marx says, based on "a conglomerate of short stories, movies, and
The settings "just felt like it should be in Nebraska. I
wanted to put the name of the town in the first line, and (because of the
melody) it had to be a two syllable name". He asked the Chamber of
Commerce to "fax me every town, village, and city in the state".
Who could resist the name Hazard?
MTV and VH-1 are playing the video, shot in black and white
and featuring Jennifer O'Neill and Robert Conrad and Marx as a
But who killed Mary? The video doesn't say. "All my
friends have it in their minds who did it, and it's always somebody
different," Marx says. "So we re-edited a version for chapter
two, which points in another direction."
MTV execs have taken a peek at the re-edited video, and hope
to play it if viewer interest rises. Meanwhile, Marx is working on Chapter
3, which will indicate whodunit.
And if the singer isn't booked up in August, a little burg in
Nebraska would love him to lead an annual parade.
an Interview by Lydia Carole DeFratos of East
a weekly music newspaper.
Hazard Songwriter/Signer Grew Up In Musical Family
When Marx first came in the public eye back in 1987, it wasn't long before
he was branded a pop idol, thanks in part to his boyish good looks.
Marx has been actively involved in music since he was 6 -
being born into a small musical household where his father was one of the
most successful jingle writer/producers of his time and his mother sang on
a variety of television commercials. Logically, little Richard soon became
a jingle singer. However, he made a smooth transition to being a song
writer by his late teens.
And, through a series of lucky breaks, his music came to the
attention of Lionel Richie, just one of the people who helped Marx on his
way up. Marx did some work with Richie, singing back-up on cuts, his
breakthrough as a writer came about when he collaborated with Kenny Rogers
on "What about Me" and "Crazy". From there, it was a natural
progression to step out on his own and see how far he could go.
But, for all the hits he's already had, and growing legions
of fans, Marx has yet to be taken seriously as a rock performer. All of
that is about to change once this album hits the stores. There still
enough of the trademark Marx of sound to be recognizable -but, it's bigger
and much louder. This is one of those records that forces you to raise the
volume on your stereo.