Meaning of “Babooshka” By Kate Bush

“Babooshka” by English singer and songwriter Kate Bush tells the story of a mature wife who is feeling insecure in her marriage. So to ascertain how faithful her hubby is, she initiates a scheme to send him love letters but under the guise of another woman by the name of “Babooshka”.

“Babooshka” is actually a representation of the wife’s younger self who she feels her husband would be more attracted to than who she actually is in the present. The ultimate conclusion and thus meaning of the song has been interpreted in various ways. Babooshka’s generally interpretation is that the wife, in successfully tempting her husband with the promise of another woman, ended up destroying their relationship. However, it has also been suggested that ultimately the wife realizes that she indeed is “Babooshka” and in the process regains the desired admiration of her husband.

Babooshka lyrics

What is the meaning of “Babooshka”?

It is a Russian word for grandmother. According to Bush, she chose this word for her song because it kept coming across her path. Once while watching TV, Bush saw a singer passionately singing about it. As if that wasn’t enough, another time, while flipping through the pages of a magazine, she met the interesting word again. These coincidences coupled with the fact that she had a friend who owned a pet cat she had named Babooshka.

All these interesting coincidences made Bush use this fascinating Russian word as the foundation and title of her song.

Facts about “Babooshka”

  • Kate Bush solely composed this track. Having composed the track, she went on to co-produce it with Jon Kelly.
  • This classic was released through EMI on June 27, 1980. It was the second single from the album Never for Ever. This was the third studio album of Bush’s musical career. Not only did Never for Ever become the first number 1 album in the UK but it also made her the first female artist from the UK to hit the number one spot on the UK album chart.
  • “Babooshka” ended up becoming one of Bush’s biggest hits. It was a top-10 hit in multiple countries, including the UK where it peaked at number 5. In Australia, the song peaked at number 2 and was crowned one of the most successful singles in Australia in 1980.

Did Kate Bush shoot a video for this song?

Yes. There’s an official music video for “Babooshka”. You can see it below.

Did the song “Babooshka” ever win a Grammy Award?

Despite being one of the most successful songs of 1980, it didn’t win a Grammy. Heck, it wasn’t even nominated for one!

The “Never For Ever” Album

Kate is an English Songwriter, musician, dancer and record producer. She released “Never For Ever” on 7th September, 1980.

Shortly after its release, the album made history as it made Kate the first female musician to ever achieve the feat of topping the UK Album chart.

The album was produced by Kate and British audio engineer and record producer Jon Kelly.

The album was released for the labels EMI (UK) EMI America (US) and Harvest (Canada).

“Never For Ever” consists of 11 songs (5 on side one, and 6 on side 2), bearing a total duration of thirty-seven minutes, sixteen seconds. Bush composed all the tracks on the album.

The tracks belong to a number of genres:

  • Art rock
  • Baroque pop
  • Progressive pop

Three singles were released prior to the album;

  • “Breathing”
  • “Babooshka”
  • “Army Dreamers”

13 Responses

  1. Franc says:

    “released through EMI on June 27, 2018” ?!?!? Whhaaat?!?

    • SMF says:

      LOL. Thanks for catching that typo, Franc. We have accordingly corrected it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just a random thing babooshka means a Russian doll

        • Anonymous says:

          Baboshka means grandmother in Russian language. Those dolls are called baboshka dolls (one of their names) because there is grandmother.
          Bush did not know that baboshka is grandmother in Russian language when she made a song

  2. Xationix says:

    there is this one guy in youtube commented on the video saying “i felt weird watching this bcs i never see a half-naked woman screaming “grandma” on the top of her lungs” everyone agrees this is funny

  3. ....lizeth says:

    babooshka is a meme now lol

  4. Andrew Brown says:

    I was 19 when Babooshka was released, and already knew of Kate Bush because of her amazing Wuthering Heights. I moved to Canada shortly after the release of Babooshka, and as the older crowd knows, their was no internet, youtube etc., so she fell off my radar as nobody had even heard of her over here. With the conception of the internet and the birth of youtube, once again Kate was on my radar, thank God!! Kate is one of the best female artists to ever come out of the UK, and her songs still touch my heart, all these years later.

    • JJ says:

      You gotta be joking Andrew. Kate Bush was wildly popular in Canada back in the 80’s. She was played on the radio, we had her posters on our walls. Loved her then, love her still! You were obviously listening to the wrong radio stations…. or living out in the wilderness, lol.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Looked it up because of Tik Tok lol.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Kate Bush, what an amazing singer, actor and performer, unique, way ahead of her time. Loved her then, love her now.

  7. ABAREBUGYO says:

    Woke this morning with this song in my head, hopped into the bath, song still in head………this wonderful song was on the radio at a constant in OZ back in the day. Wow! I was 10 when it came out, new to me, I thought it was mid 80’s. Very arty indeed.

  8. Oaktreeman says:

    A song with an eternal truth behind it. We fall in love, age and often times love becomes tired. Men desire that their wives remain forever the same, women wish fervently for their men to change.
    The tragedy of aging, the fragility of love, the inevitability of tears as time passes, and the relentless of desire all summed within a archetypal story residing in song

  9. Dee says:

    My friend Mike Weaver was the president of the Kate Bush fan club back in the mid 80s. The sound was ahead of its time.

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