The Red Shoes

Album: The Red Shoes (1993)
Charted: 21

Songfacts®:

  • 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?
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