Meaning of “Nikita” by Elton John

Nikita is a song performed by legendary English singer and songwriter Elton John. The lyrics of Nikita, which are set against the backdrop of the Cold War, tell the story of a man (Elton John) who has fallen in love with a border guard from the Communist East Germany. However, he is unable to meet with his love interest simply because of the Berlin Wall, which prevents him from entering into the country (East Germany).

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Elton John's Nikita at

Owing to the above, he is left with no choice but to wallow in sadness.

Lyrics of "Nikita"

Facts about “Nikita”

This Elton John classic was written by Elton and his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.

The production of the song was done by English music producer Gus Dudgeon, who gained worldwide fame for producing numerous Elton John songs. It is worth noting that Dudgeon, along with his wife, died tragically in 2002 in a car accident.

The song’s recording was done in January 1985. It was subsequently released on October 29th, 1985 and in February 1986 in the United Kingdom and the United States respectively. Elton and his team released it as the first single from his nineteenth album titled Ice on Fire.

The song topped the charts in many countries across the world, including Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. On the UK Singles chart, it peaked at the 3rd position. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked at number 7.

In 2012, Nikita songwriters Elton and Bernie were sued by a South African songwriter named Guy Hobbs. According to Hobbs, the pair stole the lyrics from a song he wrote in 1982 titled “Natasha”. The court ruled in favor of Elton and Bernie. The case was subsequently dismissed that same year.

Contrary to popular belief, the name Nikita isn’t actually a female name. In Russia and some other places in Eastern Europe, it is given to males. According to Elton (who came out as gay years after the release of the song), he was aware that Nikita is a male name when he wrote the song.

The red automobile used in the video was actually owned by Elton John in real life.

Who plays the role of Nikita in the Music Video?

The woman who played the role of Nikita (Elton John’s love interest) in the music video is English actress, model and former athlete Anya Major. Due to the massive success of Nikita and her subsequent popularity for her role in the music video, Major later recorded and released a spin-off song in 1986, which was titled “Moscow Nights”.

Who sings the backing vocals on “Nikita”?

English singers George Michael and Nik Kershaw sang backing vocals on the song. Elton John and Scottish guitarist Davey Johnstone also provided supporting backing vocals on the track. Actually, George Michael’s supporting vocals can be heard towards the song’s end.

Elton John’s relationship with George Michael

Late singer, George Michael and Elton John not only had a great professional relationship but also built a solid friendship before George’s death on Christmas day, 2016. The two revered each other’s music as is evident in the various collaborations they did, beginning from 1985.

The most notable of such collaborations was the live version of Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, which became a hit single, topping charts in a number of countries in 1992. George is noted to have been a huge fan of Elton’s, later giving him credit as a major music influence.

The two collaborated on the songs Wrap Her Up and Nikita on Elton’s 1985 album, Ice On Fire. During his performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert, Elton handed over the mic to George right before he ended his set to perform Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me. When George’s band Wham! released their single, The Edge of Heaven in 1986, Elton performed as a guest pianist.

Over the span of his career, George Michael often recorded covers of Elton’s songs, including Candle in the Wind. George in September 1995, also joined Elton on his Made In England tour during a stop at Hollywood Bowl. When George passed away in 2016, Elton wrote a touching tribute for him. In the tribute, which he posted on his Instagram page, he stated that he had lost a great friend. He even referred to him as a brilliant artist by all standards.

10 Responses

  1. Terrie Lee says:

    The song Nikita has touched my heart it awakens feeling in me I had buried since my young adulthood…as so many other Elton John songs bring out the real, raw emotions of loving one another…thank you Sir Elton John for singing the words which are sometimes difficult for others to express.

  2. Kitty says:

    If Nikata was about a boy, why didn’t they use a male in the video????

  3. Zannette Franko says:

    Discovered this song today. Heard for the first time and fell head over heels. Played it over twenty times till the words came naturally. Omg, what a voice! Then I saw the video and had more of a reason for loving this song. Such music, such lyrics. Thank you for all of your beautiful music. All his music has such definition and inspiring words

  4. Auguste Gâzon says:

    My man bass player David Paton! What an extraordinary bassline!

  5. Nikita says:

    qu’est devenu Nikita

  6. Elton, the Best says:

    Elton John is the best! I saw him in person in 2019 he is awesome I am 74 and always loved Elton J! His song Nikita is my favorite but all his music is so touching! What an other person said is so true it brings all memories to life. Every song has so much meaning. I love him!

  7. Edith Bishop says:

    I could not agree more. Elton John is a national treasure. A talent like his is rare and special.

  8. Jose says:

    I always knew that Nikita was about a man, so I was very very surprised when I saw a woman in the video Lol. Why did I know? Because everybody knows Nikita is a man’s name from East Europe and Elton is gay. Besides it’s not hard to fall for Russian’s beauty.

  9. Jose sousa says:

    Not hard to fall in love with a Nikita guy from Russia, Elton is the best.

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