Luka (song)

Single by Suzanne Vega
from the album Solitude Standing
Released 1987
Recorded 1986
Genre Folk rock[1]
Length 3:48
Label A&M
Writer(s) Suzanne Vega
Suzanne Vega singles chronology
"Tom's Diner"

"Luka" is a song recorded by Suzanne Vega and released as a single in 1987. It remains her highest-charting hit in the United States, reaching number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Luka" earned Vega nominations at the 1988 Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Vega also recorded a Spanish-language version of the song, featured on the single.


The song deals with the issue of child abuse. On a 1987 Swedish television special, Vega revealed her inspiration for writing it:

A few years ago, I used to see this group of children playing in front of my building, and there was one of them, whose name was Luka, who seemed a little bit distinctive from the other children. I always remembered his name, and I always remembered his face, and I didn't know much about him, but he just seemed set apart from these other children that I would see playing. And his character is what I based the song Luka on. In the song, the boy Luka is an abused child—in real life I don't think he was. I think he was just different.[2]

Music video

This video was directed by Michael Patterson and Candice Reckinge. It was shot over three days, in New York City. The part of Luka was played by actor Jason Cerbone, who was chosen after the directors auditioned more than 90 children for the part.


Chart (1987) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[3] 21
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[4] 9
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 33
Canada Top Singles (RPM) 5
France (SNEP)[6] 24
Ireland (IRMA) 11
Italy (FIMI)[7] 34
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[8] 26
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[9] 8
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[10] 2
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 23
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[11] 3
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary[12] 3
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[13] 15
U.S. Billboard Hot Latin Songs[14] 48
Chart (2016) Peak
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[15] 97


During a 2012 episode of BBC Radio 4's Mastertapes, Vega revealed that she had written a follow-up to 'Luka', from the point of view of the character as he looked back on his life. The song, titled 'Song of the Stoic', would later feature on her 2014 album Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles.


See also


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