Moments Of Pleasure

Album: The Red Shoes (1993)
Charted: 26

Songfacts®:

  • On this bittersweet track from her seventh studio album, Kate Bush pays tribute to the loved ones she's lost by recalling the moments of pleasure they shared. She explained in a fan club letter: "I feel my dearest memories have been spent with people I love, those things that still make me laugh, the people that have touched me. The song is saying thanks to those friends of mine who were fun to be with, some of whom aren't alive any more - though they are still alive in my memories."
  • Her mother, Hannah, died a year before the album's release but was still alive when Kate recorded the song. "I think a lot of people presume that particularly that song was written after my mother had died for instance, which wasn't so at all," she explained in a 2011 interview with BBC Radio 2. "There's a line in there that mentions a phrase that she used to say, 'every old sock meets an old shoe,' and when I recorded it and played it to her she just thought it was hilarious! She couldn't stop laughing, she just thought it was so funny that I'd put it into this song. So I don't see it as a sad song. I think there's a sort of reflective quality, but I guess I think of it more as a celebration of life."
  • Some of the departed friends mentioned in the lyrics are Alan Murphy, one of Kate's frequent guitarists who died in 1989; Michael Powell, the co-creator of the film The Red Shoes, which inspired the album; John Barrett (nicknamed "Teddy"), a sound engineer at Abbey Road studios where she recorded Never For Ever; Gary "Bubba" Hurst, a dancer on her 1979 tour; and Bill Duffield, her lighting engineer who died in an accident on the '79 tour (her song "Blow Away" was dedicated to him).
  • Kate likens Michael Powell, whom she met on a snowy day in New York City shortly before his death from cancer in 1990, to "Douglas Fairbanks, waving his walking stick." Fairbanks was a silent film star known for his swashbuckling roles in Robin Hood and The Mark of Zorro. A powerful figure in Hollywood, he also co-founded the studio United Artists.
  • Soft Cell singer Marc Almond calls this his favorite song of all time. He even credits it for helping him get sober.
  • This was the album's third single. She re-recorded it in 2011 for her Director's Cut and chose to omit all instruments except the piano and replace the chorus lyrics with the hums of a choir. She told Pitchfork: "I wasn't really quite sure how 'Moments of Pleasure' was going to come together, so I just sat down and tried to play it again - I hadn't played it for about 20 years. I immediately wanted to get a sense of the fact that it was more of a narrative now than the original version; getting rid of the chorus sections somehow made it more of a narrative than a straightforward song."

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