“Down by the River” is a song composed by Neil Young. It was first released on his 1969 album with Crazy Horse, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Young explained the context of story when introducing it in New Orleans on September 27, 1984. It depicts a man who catches his woman cheating on him, then meets her down by the river and shoots her. A few hours later the sheriff comes to his house and arrests him. In the liner notes of his 1977 anthology album Decade, Young states that he wrote “Down by the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” while delirious in bed in Topanga Canyon with a 103 °F (39 °C) fever.
Read Guy Garvey’s notes about the song here.