Lady In Red – Chris DeBurgh | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#3) and Adult Contemporary (#2); 1986

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Sometimes the idea for a great song arrives in a flash then lies dormant for months until the songwriter figures out how to make it work lyrically. For Chris DeBurgh, Lady In Red was such a song. By the time Chris cracked the UK chart in October of 1982, he’d already enjoyed eight highly successful years in parts of South America. It took another six months for Don’t Pay The Ferryman to catch on in the U.S. In 1984 High On Emotion went all the way to #3 at mainstream rock radio, yet – despite top airplay and high rotation on MTV – Chris’ didn’t dent the pop Top 40. That all changed with Lady In Red. He’d been working for five months on a song titled The Way You Look Tonight and just couldn’t get it right. One night he went out to a disco after an awards party and suddenly saw his red-clad wife, Diane, in a new light. Although Lady In Red topped the British list in the summer of 1986, it took until May 1987 for it to reach #3 in America.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Paul Hardiman

Lyrics Written by:

  • Chris de Burgh


  • “Lady In Red” was nominated for Best Original Song at the 1987 Academy Awards.
  • The music video for “Lady In Red” won the Best Art Direction award at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards.