Machinehead – Bush | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Mainstream Rock (#4) and Pop (#43); 1996

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Gavin Rossdale, a one-time aspiring player for the Chelsea Football Club, released a couple of singles with Midnight, then moved to California for a bit where he was captivated by a Nirvana gig at the Roxy in L.A. Returning to Britain, he formed Bush with several other lads living in the London suburb of Shepherd’s Bush (hence, the name): Gavin Rossdale, Nigel Pulsford, Dave Parsons, and Robin Goodridge. The band spent a couple of years playing the dive circuit, yet, couldn’t get arrested in their homeland. Their demo ultimately landed in the hands of former George Michael manager, Rob Kahane, who was launching his own label. In 1994, Los Angeles station KROQ jumped on the grunge sound of Everything Zen, which generated a high level of advance interest in Bush’s debut album, Sixteen Stone. Released in early 1995, Stone chalked up over eight million copies sold as track after track took rock radio by storm. One of them, Machinehead, became Bush’s pop culture standard when it became a staple at sporting events.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Clive Langer
  • Alan Winstanley
  • Bush

Lyrics Written by:

  • Gavin Rossdale


  • “Machinehead” was nominated for Best Video from a Film at the 1996 MTV Music Video Awards