‘Waking The Witch’ is a song written by Kate Bush. It was originally released on her fifth studio album Hounds Of Love. Third track of The Ninth Wave suite. The song vividly dramatises medieval witch trials.


There is only one studio version of this song.
A live version appears on the album Before The Dawn.


In 2014, Kate performed ‘Waking The Witch’ live during all the shows of Before The Dawn.

Cover versions

‘Waking The Witch’ was covered by Big City Orchestre, The Sandman’s Orchestra, TM Collective and Violet.

Kate about ‘Waking The Witch’

These sort of visitors come to wake them up, to bring them out of this dream so that they don’t drown. My mother’s in there, my father, my brothers Paddy and John, Brian Tench – the guy that mixed the album with us – is in there, Del is in there, Robbie Coltrane does one of the voices. It was just trying to get lots of different characters and all the ways that people wake you up, like you know, you sorta fall asleep at your desk at school and the teacher says “Wake up child, pay attention!”. (…) I couldn’t get a helicopter anywhere and in the end I asked permission to use the helicopter from The Wall from The Floyd, it was the best helicopter I’d heard for years for years [laughs].
I think it’s very interesting the whole concept of witch-hunting and the fear of women’s power. In a way it’s very sexist behavior, and I feel that female intuition and instincts are very strong, and are still put down, really. And in this song, this women is being persecuted by the witch-hunter and the whole jury, although she’s committed no crime, and they’re trying to push her under the water to see if she’ll sink or float.

Richard Skinner, ‘Classic Albums interview: Hounds Of Love. Radio 1 (UK), aired 26 January 1992


“Wake up!”
“A good morning, ma’am. Your early morning call.”
“You must wake up!”
“Wake up!”
“Wake up, man!”
“Wake up, child! Pay attention!”
“Come on, wake up!”
“Wake up, love!”
“We should make the night, but see your little light’s alive!”
“Stop that lyin’ and a-sleepin’ in bed–get up!”
“Ma needs a shower. Get out of bed!”
“Little light…”
“Can you not see that little light up there?”
“Over here!”
“You still in bed?”
“Wake up, sleepy-head!”
“We are of the going water and the gone. We are of water in the holy land of water”
“Don’t you know you’ve kept him waiting?”
“Look who’s here to see you!”

“Listen to me, listen to me, baby. Listen, baby, help me,
baby! Help me, help me! Listen to me, talk to me!”
“You won’t burn.”
“Red, red roses.”
“You won’t bleed.”
“Pinks and posies.”
“Confess to me, girl.”
“Red, red roses,”
“Go down!”

“Spiritus sanctus in nomine patris et filii”
“Spiritus sanctus in nomine patris et filii”
“Spiritus sanctus in nomine patris et filii”
“Spiritus sanctus in nomine patris et filii”

“Poor little thing,”
“Red, red roses,”
“The blackbird!”
“Pinks and posies.”
“Wings in the water,”
“Red, red roses, Go down,”**
“Go down.”

“Pinks and posies.”

“Deus et dei domino inferno”
“Deus et dei domino inferno”
“Deus et dei domino inferno”
“Deus et dei domino inferno”

“What is it, child?”
“Bless me, father, bless me, father, for I have sinned.”
“Red, red roses!”
“Help me, listen to me!”
“Red, red rose!”
“I question your innocence!”
“Help this blackbird!”
“She’s a witch!”
“There’s a stone around my leg.”
“Uh! Damn you, woman!”
“Help this blackbird!
There’s a stone around my leg.”
“What say you, good people?”

“Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!”

“Help this blackbird!”
“I am responsible for your actions.”

“Not guilty!”

“Help this blackbird!”
“Wake the witch!”

“Get out of the waves! Get out of the water!”


Drums: Charlie Morgan
Fairlight Bass: Del Palmer
Guitars: Alan Murphy
Synthesizer sequences: Kevin McAlea
Helicopter by kind permission of Pink Floyd “The Wall”