The Red Shoes

Album: The Red Shoes (1993)
Charted: 21


  • This song is about a dancer who tries on a cursed pair of red shoes, which make her dance "Until her legs fall off." The song was inspired by a character in the Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger film of the same title, which itself was inspired by the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen.
  • In the video, actress Miranda Richardson plays the mysterious woman who gives Kate the shoes. The clip was included in Bush's short musical film The Line, The Cross, & The Curve, which featured other visuals inspired by tracks on the album. The short debuted at the London Film Festival in 1993 and yielded a direct-to-video release shortly after. Due to late promotion, it took awhile to reach the US and in 1996 the film earned a Grammy nomination for Best Long Form Music Video. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Simon - Southampton, England
  • The Red Shoes is Bush's seventh studio album and her last release before a 12-year hiatus. The singer was going through many personal struggles, including the death of her mother and the end of her romantic relationship with her longtime bassist/sound engineer Del Palmer. She also regretted her decision to record the album digitally and said the process gave the songs a colder "hard-edged sound" she didn't like. She remedied the mistake on her 2011 Director's Cut album, where she re-recorded several of the tunes using analog equipment.

Comments: 3

  • Anna from Ny, NyYes, it is a fragment of a fairy tale. Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about the story at length in _The Red Shoes: On Torment and the Recovery of Soul Life_. This may be more than Kate Bush was thinking of when she wrote it, but the analysis is really cool and worth checking out. It tells the whole story and what the red shoes symbolize.
  • Philip from Akron, OhKate's inspiration this song was a movie (which is not unusual for her), Michael Powell's 1948 "The Red Shoes". Later, she met the director, and she wrote about THAT (among other things) in a song, too ("Moments of Pleasure").
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaIsn't this a Hans Christian Anderson fable?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Christmas SongsFact or Fiction

Rudolf, Bob Dylan and the Singing Dogs all show up in this Fact or Fiction for seasonal favorites.

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)Songwriter Interviews

Mike Rutherford talks about the "Silent Running" storyline and "Land Of Confusion" in the age of Trump.

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in SongsSong Writing

Elvis, Little Richard and Cheryl Cole have all sung about Teddy Bears, but there is also a terrifying Teddy song from 1932 and a touching trucker Teddy tune from 1976.

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman JackSong Writing

The story of the legendary lupine DJ through the songs he inspired.

Incongruent Opening ActsSong Writing

Here's what happens when an opening act is really out of place with the headliner, like when Beastie Boys opened for Madonna.

Real or Spinal TapMusic Quiz

They sang about pink torpedoes and rocking you tonight tonight, but some real lyrics are just as ridiculous. See if you can tell which lyrics are real and which are Spinal Tap in this lyrics quiz.