Bush’s “Glycerine” Lyrics Meaning

There have been various explanations, some of them quite complex, concerning the meaning of “Glycerine”. That is because of two main reasons. The first being that the song’s lyrics appear to contradict themselves to some listeners. Secondly, it is also unconventional to name a love song “glycerine” without offering any discernible explanation in the lyrics as to why this is so. 

And yes, this can indeed be taken as a love song. Or more specifically we could say it is one that is centered on a troubled romance.

But in truth, the first half of the song especially is quite understandable. That is to say that the afore-referenced lyrical dichotomy is used to allude to the notion of the vocalist not being fully satisfied in his relationship with the addressee. 

Or explained using a couple of metaphors of our own, it reads as if sometimes their love is hot, and other times it’s cold. As implied, that would be because the addressee is not as committed. Furthermore, the second verse also comes off as if the vocalist is distrustful of her, or let’s say people in general.

Inspiration behind “Glycerine”

As for the latter parts, which are harder to make sense of, this is where we resort to the facts and the vocalist’s own explanation. 

There are conflicting reports as to who it is exactly that inspired this song. Some have put forth (based on Gavin’s own words) that it is another British singer by the name of Suze DeMarchi, whom Gavin Rossdale dated circa the late 1980s. 

Meanwhile, another school of thought rather posits that it was Rossdale’s relationship with a model named Jasmine Lewis he was dating around the time this song came out. 

Either way, Glycerin is in fact romantic in nature.

Gavin Rossdale talks about “Glycerine”

As for Gavin’s readily-available documented explanation(s) of this piece, well, he didn’t really add much more than that, besides there actually being a positive element to his narrative also. And that is found in the second verse when he references the classic Beatles’ track “Strawberry Fields Forever” (1967). 

Gavin Rossdale sheds light on "Glycerine"

It is that positivity thinking, if you will, which also has the vocalist approaching this issue with what could be deemed a reconciliatory stance. In other words, he doesn’t come off as if he is madly in love with the addressee. But at the same time, he would obviously prefer to work things out.

Yet none of that explains why this song is titled after what appears to be an industrial-food chemical, besides Gavin also letting it be known that “Glycerine” came to him like an epiphany. 

So we would presume he wanted to modify the original lyrics, as he received them so to speak, as little as possible.

Lyrics to Bush's "Glycerine"

When did Bush release “Glycerine”?

Bush is a group of rock musicians from London. The band achieved their most-notable success around the time they first came out, which was during the 1990s. 

It was during that era that “Glycerine” was released. The song came out as the fourth single from their maiden album “Sixteen Stone”. November 14th, 1993 is Glycerine‘s official date of release.

The labels that backed this outing are Interscope, Atlantic and the since-defunct Trauma Records.

Credits for “Glycerine”

“Glycerine” was written by Gavin Rossdale, who has been fronting Bush since its inception. He described the experience of composing this piece as himself being “like a conduit” or one of those instances in which a songwriter and not exactly aware of where a song came from.

Kevin Kerslake, who can be considered one of the top music video directors of the late 20th century, held down said responsibility for this track. It has been noted said clip was recorded within the United States under a very tight timeframe. This was because Bush was concurrently facing visa issues. 

Despite this, the video still went on to win a 1996 MTV VMA in the distinguished category of Viewer’s Choice. In doing so, it bested the likes of the following:


More Interesting Facts

In terms of chart performance, this song most notably topped Billboard’s Alternative Airplay list. Also, it does reportedly have one certification to boast of, as “Glycerine” has gone gold in Australia.

“Glycerine” also achieved top-5 hit status in Australia. It was also very successful in Canada and Netherlands.

There is a live remix of this track, featuring Gwen Stefani. This version came out officially in 2012. It is worth stating that at that time, Gwen was married to Gavin Rossdale. This live remix version also appeared on a few Billboard charts stateside.

A mishearing of this song’s title actually led to Desmond Child, a decorated American songwriter, penning a song called “Kiss The Rain”, as rendered by Billie Myers. Interestingly, that track also proved to be a notable success.

When this song was released, Rossdale was backed by the following musicians:

  • guitarist Nigel Pulsford
  • bassist Dave Parsons
  • drummer Robin Goodridge

FYI, all of the aforementioned musicians have since left Bush.

1 Response

  1. Tony Aka Blaze Merritt says:

    They should have never left Bush. I have scene bush 3 or4 times he kicks ass. I.like it better when he is the open8ng act he is usually better then the headliner he puts alot of pressure on the so called headliner. I Quenhave not always been a huge bush fan but after seeing him again after the 90s opening for Nickle back which he destroyed plus
    GWEEN SAID HE is one he’ll of a song writtet

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