The Red Shoes (album)

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The Red Shoes
Studio album by
Released1 November 1993 (1993-11-01)[1]
RecordedJune 1990–June 1993
StudioAbbey Road (London)
ProducerKate Bush
Kate Bush chronology
This Woman's Work: Anthology 1978–1990
The Red Shoes
Live at Hammersmith Odeon
Kate Bush studio album chronology
The Sensual World
The Red Shoes
Singles from The Red Shoes
  1. "Rubberband Girl"
    Released: 6 September 1993
  2. "Eat the Music"
    Released: 7 September 1993 (US)
  3. "Moments of Pleasure"
    Released: 15 November 1993
  4. "The Red Shoes"
    Released: 5 April 1994
  5. "And So Is Love"
    Released: 7 November 1994

The Red Shoes is the seventh studio album by English musician Kate Bush. Released on 1 November 1993,[2] it was accompanied by Bush's short film, The Line, the Cross and the Curve, and was her last album before a 12-year hiatus. The album peaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart and has been certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), denoting shipments in excess of 300,000 copies.[3] In the United States, the album reached number 28 on the Billboard 200, her highest-peaking album on the chart at the time.


The Red Shoes was inspired by the 1948 film of the same name by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, which itself was inspired by the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. It concerns a dancer, possessed by her art, who cannot take off the eponymous shoes and find peace.

Bush had suggested she would tour in support of 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, as well as 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 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."[4]

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. The track "Why Should I Love You?" featured instrumental and vocal contributions from Prince as well as guest vocals from comedian Lenny Henry. "And So Is Love" features guitar work by Eric Clapton, and Gary Brooker (from the band Procol Harum), and Jeff Beck also collaborated. Trio Bulgarka (who had contributed to The Sensual World) appeared on three songs: "You're the One", "The Song of Solomon", and "Why Should I Love You?".

A short film, The Line, the Cross and 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 film was nominated for the Long Form Music Video at the 1996 Grammy Awards.

In 1995, Bush received a Brit Award nomination for Best British Female Artist.[5]

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, as well as releasing a remastered version of The Red Shoes in 2011, based on the master from an analogue backup tape.[6]

Bush performed "Lily" and "Top of the City" live for the first time in 2014 as part of the Before the Dawn concert residency.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[8]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[9]
Los Angeles Times[10]
Music Week[12]
Rolling Stone[16]

Chris Roberts, writing for Melody Maker, praised The Red Shoes as "an utter masterpiece" and felt that, apart from the "misguided" "Eat the Music", Bush is "on form like the Bible is well-known" with an album of "heartbreakingly beautiful ballads" and the rest "sunrise and Santa Claus, miles of muses".[18] Terry Staunton of NME considered the "truly exceptional" album to be Bush's "most personal to date, yet also her most accessible". He noted that it is "a more mixed bag" than the "semi-thematic collections" of her previous two albums, but added that the majority of the songs are "link[ed] by a sense of loss, in particular the loss of love and loved ones", despite being "often light-hearted musically".[13]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Kate Bush

1."Rubberband Girl"4:42
2."And So Is Love"4:16
3."Eat the Music"5:08
4."Moments of Pleasure"5:16
5."The Song of Solomon"4:27
7."The Red Shoes"4:00
8."Top of the City"4:14
9."Constellation of the Heart"4:46
10."Big Stripey Lie"3:32
11."Why Should I Love You?"5:00
12."You're the One"5:52
Total length:55:30




Certifications and sales[edit]

Certifications and sales for The Red Shoes
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[37] Gold 50,000^
Japan 25,510[38]
United Kingdom (BPI)[3] Platinum 300,000^
United States 298,000[39]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "BPI".
  2. ^ "BPI".
  3. ^ a b "British album certifications – Kate Bush – Red Shoes". British Phonographic Industry. 1 December 1993.
  4. ^ BBC Radio 1 interview, 14 December 1991
  5. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Eddi Reader wins British Female presented by Jarvis Cocker | BRIT Awards 1995". YouTube.
  6. ^ "The Red Shoes". Amazon. SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  7. ^ Raggett, Ned. "The Red Shoes – Kate Bush". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  8. ^ Kot, Greg (11 November 1993). "Kate Bush: The Red Shoes (Columbia)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Kate Bush: The Red Shoes". Entertainment Weekly. No. 195. 5 November 1993. p. 70.
  10. ^ Rosenbluth, Jean (14 November 1993). "Kate Bush 'The Red Shoes' Columbia". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  11. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil (June 2011). "A Magnificent Obsession". Mojo. No. 211. pp. 82–83.
  12. ^ Jones, Alan (6 November 1993). "Market Preview: Mainstream - Albums — Pick of the Week" (PDF). Music Week. p. 15. Retrieved 3 February 2023.
  13. ^ a b Staunton, Terry (6 November 1993). "Long Play: Plimsoll Asylum". NME. p. 29.
  14. ^ Dombal, Ryan (19 January 2019). "Kate Bush: The Red Shoes". Pitchfork. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  15. ^ Gill, Andy (November 1993). "Sheltered". Q. No. 86. p. 115.
  16. ^ Walls, Richard C. (25 November 1993). "Kate Bush: The Red Shoes". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2006.
  17. ^ Dalton, Stephen (November 1993). "Shake Your Booties". Vox. No. 38. p. 112.
  18. ^ Roberts, Chris (30 October 1993). "Albums: Good Buy, Ruby Shoes Day". Melody Maker. p. 32.
  19. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Red Shoes". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  20. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Red Shoes" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  21. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 2318". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  22. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 48. 27 November 1993. p. 14. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  23. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Red Shoes" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  24. ^ a b c "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 105, no. 48. 27 November 1993. p. 91. ISSN 0006-2510 – via World Radio History.
  25. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste". InfoDisc (in French). Retrieved 26 July 2018. Select "Kate BUSH" from the drop-down menu and click "OK".
  26. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Red Shoes" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  27. ^ "レッド・シューズ/ケイト・ブッシュ" [The Red Shoes / Kate Bush] (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  28. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Red Shoes". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  29. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Red Shoes". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  30. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Red Shoes". Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  31. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  32. ^ "Kate Bush Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  33. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  34. ^ "Official Album Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  35. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Albums of 1993". RPM. Vol. 58, no. 23. 18 December 1993. ISSN 0033-7064 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  36. ^ "Top 100 Albums 1993" (PDF). Music Week. 15 January 1994. p. 25. ISSN 0265-1548 – via World Radio History.
  37. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kate Bush – The Red Shoes". Music Canada. 15 December 1993.
  38. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  39. ^ Caulfield, Keith (22 November 2005). "Ask Billboard: Bush League". Billboard. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.