Babooshka

Album: Never for Ever (1980)
Charted: 5
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This is about futile situations and how we often ruin things for ourselves. In the song, a man is tested by his wife when she starts sending anonymous scented letters. Seeing his reaction, she takes it further by arranging a meeting with her in disguise. Not knowing it is his own wife, he is reminded of his wife when she was younger and more amorous.
  • The word "Babooshka" is Russian for grandmother. It's also the name of a type of headdress. The title was chosen through a series of coincidences: Kate turned on the TV and someone was singing about Babooshka; looking through a magazine she came across an opera titled Babooshka, and a friend had a cat named Babooshka. Kate has always been fascinated by the concept of synchronicity, which inspired her earlier track "Strange Phenomena."
  • Peter Gabriel was the first UK owner of a Fairlight Series I digital synthesizer, the Rolls-Royce of early samplers. He introduced Kate Bush to the newly available instrument when she sang backing vocals for him on "No Self Control" and "Games Without Frontiers".

    Among other things, Gabriel used the sampler to capture the sound of breaking glass – a trick Bush repeated on this song. By the time of Bush's albums The Dreaming and Hounds Of Love, the Fairlight CMI synthesizer had become her primary writing tool.
  • This reached #1 in Australia, #3 in France, and cracked the Top 10 in Canada and Ireland. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lee - Ottawa, Canada, for all above

Comments: 4

  • Nickb from Brum@Jason from Ibiza - I'm sure that's what the article meant I read how they made a mess in Abbey Road Studio 2 breaking glasses and things recording the best ones on the Fairlight to use for that track.
  • Garry from Darlington, EnglandThere is actually a grammatical error in the lyrics. "She couldn't have made a worst move" should be "she couldn't have made a worse move"! Fantastic song though!
  • Dylan from Port Orange, FlMy dad was an exchange student in Finland in 1986, and he says that Kate Bush is very popular there for some reason.
  • Jason from Ibiza, SpainThat's a cute thought about the crockery, but the sound is actually sampled and comes from the Fairlight CMI synthesiser used exhaustively by Kate on this and, especially, The Dreaming albums. This album, Never For Ever, made Kate the first british female solo artist to reach Number One, and remains, to date, her only LP without a title track.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Director Paul Rachman on "Hunger Strike," "Man in the Box," Kiss

Director Paul Rachman on "Hunger Strike," "Man in the Box," KissSong Writing

After cutting his teeth on hardcore punk videos, Paul defined the grunge look with his work on "Hunger Strike" and "Man in the Box."

Taylor Dayne

Taylor DayneSongwriter Interviews

Taylor talks about "The Machine" - the hits, the videos and Clive Davis.

Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles

Timothy B. Schmit of the EaglesSongwriter Interviews

Did this Eagle come up with the term "Parrothead"? And what is it like playing "Hotel California" for the gazillionth time?

Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers

Bill Medley of The Righteous BrothersSongwriter Interviews

Medley looks back on "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - his huge hits from the '60s that were later revived in movies.

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he Inspired

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular Music

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular MusicSong Writing

Starting in Virginia City, Nevada and rippling out to the Haight-Ashbury, LSD reshaped popular music.