Heads We're Dancing

Song written by Kate Bush. First released on her sixth studio album The Sensual World.

Kate about 'Heads We're Dancing'

That's a very dark song, not funny at all! (...) I wrote the song two years ago, and in lots of ways I wouldn't write a song like it now. I'd really hate it if people were offended by this...But it was all started by a family friend, years ago, who'd been to dinner and sat next to this guy who was really fascinating, so charming. They sat all night chatting and joking. And next day he found out it was Oppenheimer. And this friend was horrified because he really despised what the guy stood for. I understood the reaction, but I felt a bit sorry for Oppenheimer. He tried to live with what he'd done, and actually, I think, committed suicide. But I was so intrigued by this idea of my friend being so taken by this person until they knew who they were, and then it completely changing their attitude. So I was thinking, what if you met the Devil? The Ultimate One: charming, elegant, well spoken. Then it turned into this whole idea of a girl being at a dance and this guy coming up, cocky and charming, and she dances with him. Then a couple of days later she sees in the paper that it was Hitler. Complete horror: she was that close, perhaps could've changed history. Hitler was very attractive to women because he was such a powerful figure, yet such an evil guy. I'd hate to feel I was glorifying the situation, but I do know that whereas in a piece of film it would be quite acceptable, in a song it's a little bit sensitive. (Len Brown, 'In the Realm of the Senses'. NME (UK), 7 October 1989)

It's a very dark idea, but it's the idea of this girl who goes to a big ball; very expensive, romantic, exciting, and it's 1939, before the war starts. And this guy, very charming, very sweet-spoken, comes up and asks her to dance but he does it by throwing a coin and he says, ``If the coin lands with heads facing up, then we dance!'' Even that's a very attractive 'come on', isn't it? And the idea is that she enjoys his company and dances with him and, days later, she sees in the paper who it is, and she is hit with this absolute horror - absolute horror. What could be worse? To have been so close to the man... she could have tried to kill him... she could have tried to change history, had she known at that point what was actually happening. And I think Hitler is a person who fooled so many people. He fooled nations of people. And I don't think you can blame those people for being fooled, and maybe it's these very charming people... maybe evil is not always in the guise you expect it to be. (Roger Scott, BBC Radio 1, 14 October 1989)

Like Mick Karn's bass on 'Heads We're Dancing' puts such a different feel to the song. I was really impressed with Mick - his energy. He's very distinctive - so many people admire him because he stays in that unorthodox area, he doesn't come into the commercial world - he just does his thing. (Tony Horkins, 'What Katie Did Next'. International Musician, December 1989)

Credits

Drums: Stuart Elliott
Bass: Mick Karn
Guitar: Alan Murphy
Percussion, rhythm guitar: Del Palmer
Cello: Jonathan Williams
Viola: Nigel Kennedy
Orchestra arranged by Michael Kamen

They say that the Devil is a charming man
and just like you I bet he can dance