"The Red Shoes" b/w "You Want Alchemy"
Released: 5 April 1994 (1994-04-05)
"And So Is Love" b/w "Rubberband Girl (U.S. Mix)"
Released: 7 November 1994 (1994-11-07)
The Red Shoes is the seventh studio album by the English musician Kate Bush. Released in November 1993, it was accompanied by Bush's short film, The Line, the Cross and the Curve, and was her last album before taking a 12-year hiatus. The album peaked at number two on the UK album chart and has been certified Platinum by the BPI for over 300,000 copies shipped. In the US, the album reached number 28, her highest chart position there to date.
Bush had suggested she would tour for The Red Shoes and deliberately aimed for a "live band" feel, with less of the studio trickery that had typified her last three albums (which would be difficult to recreate on stage). However, the tour never materialised.
This was a troubled time for Bush, who had suffered a series of bereavements including the loss of her favoured guitarist, Alan Murphy, and, most painfully, her mother, Hannah, who died the year before the album's release. Bush's long-term relationship with bassist Del Palmer had also ended, although the pair continued to work together. "I've been very affected by these last two years," she had remarked in late 1991. "They've been incredibly intense years for me. Maybe not on a work level, but a lot has happened to me. I feel I've learnt a lot – and, yes, I think (my next album) is going to be quite different… I hope the people that are waiting for it feel it's worth the wait."
Many of the people she lost are honoured on the ballad, "Moments of Pleasure", as well as director Michael Powell, with whom she had discussed working shortly before his death in 1990. Composer and conductor Michael Kamen contributed a score for the song.
Most notably, The Red Shoes featured many more high-profile cameo appearances than her previous efforts. Comedian Lenny Henry provided guest vocals on "Why Should I Love You?", a track that also featured significant contributions from Prince. "And So Is Love" features guitar work by Eric Clapton, and Gary Brooker (from the band Procol Harum), and Jeff Beck also collaborated.
A short film, The Line, the Cross & the Curve, written and directed by Bush, and starring herself and English actress Miranda Richardson was released the same year. It featured six songs from the album: "Rubberband Girl", "And So Is Love", "The Red Shoes", "Moments of Pleasure", "Eat The Music", and "Lily". The first five were used as promo videos for the singles, though Bush recorded a separate video for the American release of "Rubberband Girl" (though this video is intercut with clips from The Line, the Cross and the Curve).
The album was recorded digitally, and Bush has since expressed regrets about the results of this, which is why she revisited seven of the songs using analogue tape for her 2011 album Director's Cut.