Nikita

Album: Ice On Fire (1985)
Charted: 3 7
Play Video
  • Hey Nikita, is it cold
    In your little corner of the world?
    You could roll around the globe
    And never find a warmer soul to know
    Oh, I saw you by the wall
    Ten of your tin soldiers in a row
    With eyes that looked like ice on fire
    The human heart, a captive in the snow

    Oh, Nikita, you will never know
    Anythin' about my home
    I'll never know how good it feels to hold you (hold you)
    Nikita, I need you so
    Oh, Nikita, is the other side
    Of any given line in time
    Countin' ten tin soldiers in a row
    Oh no, Nikita, you'll never know

    Do you ever dream of me?
    Do you ever see the letters that I write?
    When you look up through the wire
    Nikita, do you count the stars at night?
    And if there comes a time
    Guns and gates no longer hold you in
    And if you're free to make a choice
    Just look towards the west and find a friend

    Oh, Nikita, you will never know
    Anythin' about my home
    I'll never know how good it feels to hold you (hold you)
    Nikita, I need you so
    Oh, Nikita, is the other side
    Of any given line in time
    Countin' ten tin soldiers in a row
    Oh no, Nikita, you'll never know

    Oh, Nikita, you will never know
    Never know anythin' about my home
    I'll never know how good it feels to hold you
    Nikita, I need you so
    Oh, Nikita, is the other side
    Of any given line in time
    Countin' ten tin soldiers in a row
    Oh no, Nikita, you'll never know

    (Nikita)
    Countin' ten tin soldiers in a row
    (Nikita)
    Countin' ten tin soldiers in a row, woo-ooh-hoo-ooh
    (Nikita)
    Countin' ten tin soldiers in a row
    (Nikita) Writer/s: Bernard J.P. Taupin, Elton John
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 17

  • Richard from London, United Kingdom“Nikita” in the song's video does actually seem to be wearing a uniform of a Stabsgefreiter (corporal) in the NVA (Nationale Volksarmee) of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) - most likely border troops (Grenztruppen). Her cap badge cockade is the East German ‘Hammer and Compass' symbol rather than the Red Star of the Soviet Army. So someone clearly did their reseach for the video. This suggests to me Nikita in the song is actually German and not Russian as is often suggested.

    Setting aside people's assumptions about the name itself being Russian, I can't see any reference to Russia in the lyrics. But "Oh I saw you by the wall"; and "Guns and gates no longer hold you in", strongly implies East Germany and specifally Berlin during the Cold War. This whole situation of a country essentially imprisioning its people was a massive cause célèbre at the time of the song and much more in the public consciousness than people may recall today. Notwithstanding Elton's own sexuality, it seems the perfect context for a song about two star-crossed lovers... A Romeo and Juliet (or Romeo) in the Cold War.

    Although Nikita is not a traditional German name, I understand that first names that end with -a are always thought to be female in the German language. Interestingly, many girls born since 1985 in German speaking countries (even more in the Netherlands) are named Nikita…
  • Rosie from TexasMy boy cat is named after the song Nikita.
  • Scott J. Saum from Toledo, OhioNikita's gray gloves, which are apparent as she strokes her chin, don't look like military issue, (although the color matches the uniform).
  • P.l.yeoh from Kuala Lumpur MalaysiaBeautiful relaxing song. Elton very good singer, Love the song
  • Anonymous from Kuala Lumpur ZmalaydiaVery beautiful lyric and song relaxing music Love the song. Elton very relaxing singer.
  • Don from Lincoln, Ne.Could Elton and Bernie had Nikita Khrushchev, in mind when they wrote the song?
  • Guy from Cape Town, South AfricaI was the aspiring lyricist who back in 1982 wrote a lyric called "Natasha" based on my experiences working on a Russian cruise ship - it was about impossible love between a Western Man and a Communist woman in the Cold War. In 1984 I was in London trying to find a composer / singer to complete the song. I sent the lyrics to a publisher called Big Pig, not knowing that it was not an independent publisher but was in fact Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin. My hook was "Natasha the freedom you'll never know". Four months later Elton and Bernie wrote a similar song about impossible love between a Westerner and a Russian. Their hook was the similar "Nikita you'll never know". I only discovered the similarities 15 years later and tried to take the case to court in a cost efficient way, but discovered it takes lots of money to get legal justice. I had 3 well established copyright experts tell me that the 2 lyrics were "substantially similar", I calculated the 2 choruses were 70% similar, I can show statistically that such a lyrical combination can only be possible by copying ... regrettably, none of this was ever presented to the court because I got shot down in flames by their expensive legal team before even getting a chance to present my full case. The similarities in the hook and the chorus were crucial to the case yet the words "hook" and "chorus" were never even mentioned in the appeal courts judgement - that's how frustrating the legal experience was. Elton and Bernie have never actually talked about where the origins of the song came from. Regrettably, I didn't get far enough down the legal road to do depositions and ask such questions. However, I have no doubt in my mind that if Natasha had not been written then Nikita would also never have happened. Under songwriting conventions, to use material contributed by another writer entitles him to be an equal co-writer - it was sad that the duo never chose to recognise the crucial contribution played by a young aspiring lyricist seeking a break into the business. I have since moved on. It's been a learning experience. I thought I could get justice but maybe I was just naive. Interestingly, the exact same year that I sent Elton my lyrics, 1984, another amateur song writer, George Saadi, gave Elton a tape of one of his songs called "Only Memories" backstage at a concert - parts of his melody was used by Elton, without permission, in the 1989 release "Whispers". Unlike me, Saadi noticed straight away. The matter was eventually quietly settled out of court. In the definitive biography on Elton called "Sir Elton", renowned author Phillip Norman says, when talking about the similarities of the duos songs to other songs, "Bernie made no attempt to conceal how many sources they had blithely plundered over the years". Finally, on Bernie's own website, he actually admits "it is common knowledge that songwriters are great thieves". Incidentally, Nikita is indeed a man's name in Russia - Elton was still in the closet at that stage - however, Bernie knew to always keep the sex of a love interest vague in a lyric. Elton was singing to a man, whereas the song's video showed Nikita to be female. Natasha, on the other hand, is indeed a common Russian female name.
  • Christian from Berlin, GermanyElton John, Bernie Taupin, and Big Pig Music are being sued for plagiarism. Songwriter Guy Hobbs has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in a Illinois federal court, alleging that he wrote a song called "Natasha" in 1982, three years before Elton released his song. "Natasha" was about 'an affair with a Russian waitress that worked on a cruise ship', was copyrighted, and sent to Big Pig Music for a publishing deal that never materialized. Elton John's publisher in 1985 was Big Pig Music. The suit is over similarity of lyrics between both songs.
  • Redone from Universal City, Ca"Nikita" by Elton John is a song that is very much debated in regards to inspiration. It has a different meaning for everyone. Sometimes we overlook the obvious, instead trying to add meaning, using what we know about the artist and possibly a lack of knowledge of history. For me, "Nikita" is Nikita Khrushchev, his aspirations and his people. The song is about him. "tin soldiers" were once a popular collector’s item. "Counting ten tin soldiers in a row" could be a way of describing Khrushchev’s attempt at political unity between the eastern block and third world countries. Khrushchev visited many countries in hope of reaching unity in order to fight capitalism, as he "rolled around the globe". "Counting ten tin soldiers in a row" could also describe ballistic missiles or an army whose members are forced to serve. It is a popular idea that Khrushchev was involved with the decision to build the Berlin wall, hence the reference. The artist asks if he ever “counts the stars at night”, a beautiful reference to the joy of everyday living, meaning perhaps we, in the west, aren’t so different as some thought. Khrushchev died a very unhappy man which could be why the artist extends his friendship at the end of the song, “And if there ever comes a time guns and gates no longer hold you in and if you’re free to make a choice just look towards the west and find a friend”. The invitation of friendship, real coexistence, could be for all.

    When I heard this song, I felt very strongly that it was written about the cold war and Nikita Khrushchev “in your little corner of the globe”. Read Nikita's life story and the history of this time. Perhaps Elton John had something more important to say. This is a great song.
  • Terry from Va.beach, Vaall this homosexuality talk, i think some people just read too much into lyrics...
  • Stella from London, United KingdomThis is a very clever song which can be taken as a social statement on attitudes towards homosexuality on both sides of Europe. The song highlights the difference it can be talked about openly in the West but is still very much a taboo subject in Eastern Europe. These attitudes persist even to today.
  • Roxanne from New York, NyI am a Cold War history buff, and married to a native of the former West Berlin. I love this song, but I tend to think that Elton John really had a man in mind when he wrote. Nikita is a male name in Eastern Europe, and all border guards were men. Without exception. If Elton was dreaming about a guard standing at the Berlin Wall, it was a lovely blond man! However, I think a woman was put into the video, simply to make the song more acceptable to a wider audience.

    So while the video is nice, and the message of the song is still powerful, I don't think that this is what Elton had in mind, as his forbidden love.
  • Nikita from Drogheda, IrelandIt can mean either 'Silver lining' or 'Unconquered' in russian. Depends on the kind of sentence, it can mean either.
  • Nikita from Drogheda, IrelandI actually got my name from that song. It was one of my parents favourite songs, so they named their baby girl after it! I love this song very much, and I think it is what got me my musical personality.
  • Jas from Clifton, TxThere were plenty of Nikita's before Kruschev was around. It's an old world Russian name from the Middle Ages.
  • Michael from Wallington, NjIn Eastern Europe, the name Nikita is strictly a male name. Only after this song, actually the video, was released did westerners start naming girls (and female pets) after the title Nikita. It's possible Bernie Taupin wrote this as a homosexual love song as guards at the Berlin Wall and border gates of the former Soviet Union were only ever males.
  • Darrell from EugeneAlthough Nikita is usually a man's name in Eastern Europe, I have a spoiled rotten 5-year-old female Samoyed whom I rescued and was probably named after this song. Naming a dog after Khrushchev is probably foolhardy at best, but then again, Samoyeds are Russian dogs, and this is a great song. I am surprised that my comment is the only one.
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