I am a lifelong music fan raised and residing in Toronto. I want to pay tribute to the music I love and am still discovering, so this site is for sharing my thoughts, memories, and playlists of the bands, genres, and songs that have meant so much to me.

And yes, this site is named after my lifelong favourite song, Ceremony by Joy Division and New Order.

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Strange Phenomena: A Kate Bush Retrospective

Strange Phenomena: A Kate Bush Retrospective

Click below on the streaming service of your choice to listen to the playlist as your read along. Due to lack of availability the Google List is partial while the YouTube playlist is complete. There was not enough of Kate Bush's music available on Spotify to fulfill the playlist.

 Kate, 1975

Kate, 1975

Her voice was unique. Her music was distinctive. Her videos were different. She is one of the most beloved and successful female British artists of her generation. I could simply leave this retrospective of Kate Bush right there and let the playlist tell her story, but then what kind of fun would that be? There’s so much more to discuss of Ms. Catherine Bush, a true original.

The Playlist

  1. Strange Phenomena
  2. The Man with the Child in His Eyes
  3. Wuthering Heights
  4. Wow
  5. Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbreak
  6. Babooshka
  7. Army Dreamers
  8. Breathing
  9. Sat in Your Lap
  10. Suspended in Gaffa
  11. Night of the Swallow
  12. Running Up that Hill (A Deal with God)
  13. Hounds of Love
  14. The Big Sky
  15. Cloudbusting
  16. Don't Give Up
  17. Love and Anger
  18. Reaching Out
  19. Deeper Understanding
  20. Rubberband Girl
  21. And So is Love
  22. King of the Mountain
  23. Pi
  24. How to be Invisible
  25. Nocturn
  26. Wild Man

Born in Bexleyheath, a suburb of London, in 1958 and raised on a farm in nearby Welling, Kate was brought up into an artistic lifestyle since her parents and two brothers all played instruments or performed (though her father was a doctor by trade). By her early teens she could play the piano and violin and was starting to write her own music. Her first demo tape, offered to record labels when Bush was just sixteen, didn’t garner interest but did catch the attention of Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour (while he himself was putting together Wish You Were Here). He connected her to producer Andrew Powell and engineer to The Beatles, Geoff Emerick, and paid for them to record professional demos for her. These got Kate signed to EMI, who then sat on her contract for two years while she finished school and used her advance to take dance lessons from Lindsay Kemp, the same who had taught mime to David Bowie. There is disagreement between Bush, Gilmour and EMI as to why no music was released during those two years (given EMI’s handling of The Sex Pistols, perhaps they needed better A&R talent in that office), despite her songs seemingly being ready for prime time. Regardless, she wouldn’t record her first album until August 1977 when she was just turned nineteen.

Strange Phenomena; The Man with the Child in His Eyes; Wuthering Heights \ The Kick Inside (1978)

Released in February 1978, her first album is a stupendous effort for such a young artist, especially considering the songs were all written by her – some from as far back as when she was thirteen. Recorded with several accomplished session musicians as well as her brother Paddy (as would all her albums), the album mixes jazz accents and strong blues melodies and is very much a 1970s album, rich with lively bass lines, string accents, sax solos and colourful piano. It is notable within her discography as being the most melodious. Kate’s voice would always be high-pitched and very emotive, but at this young age is especially high sounding. The Kick Inside might have been written off as the gushing of an emotional teenager if the songs weren’t so polished and impeccably written.

Make no mistake, this young woman was in charge despite the established talent with which she was surrounded. It was her insistence that the first single be “Wuthering Heights,” which in retrospect seems like a no-brainer. It remains one of her best known and went to #1 in the UK. Inspired by a movie of Bronte’s famous romantic novel, it is a fantastic song and one that has remained one of my favourites since I first heard it in the early 80s. The drama of her voice and music instantly revealed the unique talent of this artist. Moving from subtle, breathy notes to soaring crescendos, the song draws you into the drama. When she sings the chorus, “Heathcliff, it's me, I'm Cathy / I've come home, I'm so cold / Let me in through your window,” I still get goosebumps from the incredible melody and phrasing. Kate would be the first female to reach #1 in the UK with a self-written song – simply amazing given her age and that she’d written the song when she was eighteen. What is also amazing is that it would remain her only #1 single.

 Original UK cover

Original UK cover

 Original North American cover

Original North American cover

The second single was “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” which went to #6 in the UK and cracked the top 100 in the US. It showed how accomplished she was on the piano and furthered exemplified the maturity of her song writing. Another haunting and graceful melody riding on piano and strings, the young woman sings of a consuming relationship with an older man. “Strange Phenomena” would be released as a single in other countries as her album slowly gained attention over the coming years, and is a great example of the album’s strong blues melodies mixed with her impressive vocal. It is a classic album with no weak tracks and is a great introduction to this enigmatic singer. If you’re not familiar, listen to the entire album, or at least “Moving,” “The Saxophone Song,” “Them Heavy People,” and the title track, which is another beautiful, piano ballad.

Wow; Don’t Push Your Foot on the Heartbreak \ Lionheart (1978)

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It is estimated that Kate wrote over 200 songs while waiting to start her recording career, so it is no surprise she had an album’s worth of material to release later the same year. However, Bush felt she was rushed by the label to put out another album and was less satisfied with her sophomore effort. Her lengthy recording process would be a hallmark of her career, though she denies she’s a perfectionist. While Lionheart was not as strong as her debut, it still impressed with many wonderful musical moments. The first single, “Hammer Horror,” didn’t click but the second one, “Wow,” would get to #16 on the UK chart and push the album to #6. It is consistent with the bluesy ballads heard on her first album, but this one featured a little more diversity and some of the more eccentric elements with which she would soon be better known. The lyrics reference her views on the music industry, her apprehension about performing, and a reference to Vaseline as a sexual lubricant, which resulted in it being banned by the BBC (the mark of any worthwhile artist in Britain).

I’ve selected “Don’t Push Your Foot on the Heartbreak” for this playlist because it shows she can rock, even offering a scream or two, while also offering another example of her dramatic flair. The lyrics sound less like the lovestruck teenager of the first album, this time offering a more sardonic take on love and emotion, “Oh, come on, you've got to use your flow / You know what it's like, and you know you want to go / Don't drive too slowly / Don't put your blues where your shoes should be / Don't put your foot on the heartbrake.” The video is taken from a Christmas Special the following year and nicely displays her acting chops as well, drawn from her lessons just a couple years prior.

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Neither of the first two albums would gain attention in the US, though across the Commonwealth her music was gaining a foothold, charting decently in places like Australia (where “Wuthering Heights” reached #1) and Canada. Even still, in Canada it was alternative stations like CFNY giving her exposure and not so much any mainstream stations. Her label promoted her album with suggestive pictures of her, which Bush criticized, noting it misled audiences about her talent, song writing, and musicianship. It was a look that wouldn’t be repeated, and though some of her videos would later present her in some revealing scenes, it would be her choice and within her artistic context. Promotion was also hindered by Bush’s reluctance to tour. She did a two-month tour of England during 1979, an appearance on Top of the Pops, and the aforementioned Christmas Special for the BBC. She appeared on Saturday Night Live in December 1979, which remains her only performance in North America. Reasons for lack of performances are varied but inconclusive, including rumours of a crippling fear of flying.

Babooshka; Army Dreamers; Breathing \ Never for Ever (1980)

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1980 would see Bush enter the new decade more in charge of her sound and her career, now as an accomplished 22-year old. Her third album would be her first to reach #1 in the UK, not to mention the first for a female artist to both reach #1 and to do so in its first week. The album is more varied than its predecessors in every way. The instrumentation is more diverse (much of it played by her brother), including electronics (the Fairlight CMI) she’d learned while providing backing vocals to Peter Gabriel’s first solo album, and her voice is more measured, more assured, and a little less affected by the higher pitches of her youth. The songs travel greater distances in breadth and challenge the listener, straying away from traditional blues melodies into edgier, more modern sounds. For those of us listening to this music from across the ocean, she was an alternative artist through and through, providing an exotic and dramatic presence amongst the heavy metal bands and cold, new wave artists of the period.

The album provided three standout singles. “Breathing” would be first out and crack the top 20 in the UK. It’s another haunting ballad, this time with a menacing finish (which also closed the album), and a deeper, more gentle sound from her voice. “Babooshka” would return her to the top 5, a song about a woman testing her husband’s loyalty through letters from a younger woman with the nickname, Babooshka. The song rises and falls, has strange vocal accents, breaking glass effects, a fantastic vocal performance, and improbably became a hit for her (it was one of the year’s biggest in Australia). “Army Dreamers,” like many others on the album, uses acoustic guitar to create an almost medieval sound, like you’re in a king’s court listening to these songs. It also is sold wholly by Kate’s voice, something she could so often do, never shy to make song ride her voice to incredible places (and well within the upper ranges).

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This album also introduced us to Kate Bush the auteur, making videos such a part of her art that it likely helped overcome her lack of touring. In “Breathing” she’s a foetus, scared to be born in an age of nuclear threat; while in “Babooshka” she is a warrior, simultaneously turning on and perplexing young teenagers such as myself (though it would be a couple more years before I started listening to her). Video shows were sprouting all over the dial, MTV had been launched the year prior, and Kate would be featured more prominently in that medium than she ever would be on radio or the charts. I grew up watching her videos and they only served to increase the mystery and allure of his seemingly unreachable artist.

Bush would close the year with the release of a Christmas song, “December Will Be Magic Again,” which reached #29 on the UK singles chart.

Sat in Your Lap; Suspended in Gaffa; Night of the Swallow \ The Dreaming (1982)

Her fourth album couldn’t match the #1 achievement of the prior release, but did get to #3 and even cracked the top 200 in the US. This album was my first exposure to Kate since this was the only album my brother had of hers at the time and, at twelve, my exposure to new music was via what he brought back from university. So it was the songs on this album that introduced me to her and that I know best. I listened to this album over and over again in my Walkman and was mesmerized by the cover (I wondered why there was a key in her mouth; and now, thanks to the internet, I know it was an enactment of the song, “Houdini,” and that she’s playing the magician’s wife, sneaking the key to him. Houdini is played by her bassist and romantic partner at the time, Del Palmer). It was the first album Kate produced on her own and she dug deep into her bag of tricks to build a fantastic musical journey full of surprises. It had more energy than had been heard from her thus far, and there was an eccentricity that enchanted many a listener but probably alienated the wider audience won on her prior album.

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Opening with the frenetic “Sat in Your Lap,” the album immediately signaled this was a new and different Ms. Bush. She whispered and shrieked in an affected voice over a pounding beat, punctuated by piano and a haunting synth. The song sounds like it’s running in fear through the jungle, perhaps suggesting the title of the album is leading to some disturbing places. This song would have fit nicely on a Nina Hagen album. It was also the first single off the album and would reach as high as #11 in the UK chart.

The second single would be the rhythmic, “There Goes a Tenner,” which failed to gain success. It’s still a great song and one of the more accessible on the album. Left to her own devices and via her fascination with the Fairlight CMI sampler/synthesizer, her songs were packed with lots of instrumentation and sounds. Nothing on it sounds natural, as if it was made on another planet. “Pull Out the Pin” is such a song in which her vocals and desperate incantation of “I Love Life” throughout made for both an intoxicating and unnerving feel. “Suspended in Gaffa” wouldn’t be released as a single in the UK but would have some success as a release in mainland Europe. It’s another good example of how her voice, altered and natural, dancing over piano or drum rhythms, made for an enchanting mix. The song swoops and swings through highs and lows, mixing strings and jarring piano to push the song outside of any natural genre. The first side closed with “Leave It Open,” another drum and vocal spell in which multiple vocals seem to come from different versions of Kate. The song closes with a crashing drum sequence that releases the tension built through the entire side of the album.

The second side opens with the title track, which is a chant-like, exotic song. It was unadvisedly released as the second single in the UK and barely eked into the top 100. When “Suspended in Gaffa” failed to chart (her first single to not do so) it became clear this album was outside most people’s comfort zone. The next song on side two was one of the more straightforward tunes on the album, “Night of the Swallow.” It’s a beautiful, haunting ballad that works nicely with another such one immediately following, “All the Love.” “Houdini” is the fourth song on the side and works its way back into the strange as her voice alternates between whispers and strangled desperation, closing with a classical string piece. This sets up the most frenetic, noisy, and disturbing song, “Get Out of My House.” It’s an off-kilter and jarring end to the album, making sure the listener isn’t left too comfortable in the setting of The Dreaming, as is the case for so many dreams.

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Although fans and critics were nonplussed with this album, I think it was one of the best of the era and the best example of everything Kate Bush had to offer. It is graceful, haunting, and affecting, while also being jarring, disturbing, and experimental. Listening to it is like sitting through a play, where you’re left in your seat uplifted by what you’ve experienced but a little unsettled by the content. You walk away thinking about it and seeking more. The early 1980s was a period of great experimentation as the post-punk movement branched into many forms, and this album represented the best of that spirit.

Running Up that Hill (A Deal with God); Hounds of Love; The Big Sky; Cloudbusting \ Hounds of Love (1985)

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The lengthy and expensive recording of The Dreaming led Kate to build her own studio so she could make music at her own pace. The result was an intriguing album delivered in two parts. Side one, titled ‘Hounds of Love,’ was her most pop sounding and accessible yet and she was rewarded through the four successful singles released from it (those in this playlist). The songs were big, with the hallmark Kate Bush drama, but with smoother rhythms and even a little melody. The eccentricities of her last album were kept at bay. Released in the fall of 1985, I still recall buying it in a Boxing Day sale at ‘Sam the Record Man’ that year, and would spend a good part of the next year listening to it.

Side one opened with the first single, “Running Up that Hill (A Deal with God),” and brought her the best success she would have in North America, reaching #30 in the singles chart (it would go to #3 in the UK, being the closest she would ever get to equalling the #1 hit she scored with her first single). This was likely because this was one of the more even-keeled – almost boring – songs she’d produced. There was a nice, propelling beat through it while, as always, her voice carried the melody, playing off synth accents and sound effects.

“Hounds of Love” and “The Big Sky” are more like Kate, including varied and frenetic rhythms and vocals, but this time with a big, all-encompassing sound. They were less dark than The Dreaming and invigorate, not scaring the listener away. The Big Sky even begs the imagination to see Kate as a potential rock ‘n roller and is just an unabashed, fun romp (if only to have been able to hear it live). The first side of the album took a brief break with the lovely, quiet “Mother Stands for Comfort,” before closing with “Cloudbusting,” which was the second single released from the album. It tells the story of Wilhelm Reich and his cloudbusting machine, designed to create rain. In the video, directed by Terry Gilliam, Canadian actor Donald Sutherland plays Reich and Kate portrays his young son. The song marches smartly to a drum and string combo, leading to a vocal crescendo and the end of the album side. This single would reach #20 in the UK charts but surprisingly not chart in North America, despite the popularity of the video on MTV and MuchMusic. Of Bush’s music, it is one of the more covered and sampled songs by other artists.

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Side two was the other part of the album, titled ‘The Ninth Wave,’ it was seven songs strung together without interruption. It was a sublime collection of songs, moody and atmospheric, showing the grace and power of Bush’s subtler and tender side. “And Dream of Sheep” was one of her most beautiful songs and was a regular inclusion on my mix tapes in those days as a quiet interlude. I often chose to fall asleep listening to this album side, drawing on the dreamlike state it was meant to embody, though there are some jarring points in songs such as “Waking the Witch.” “Jig of Life” would show a penchant for Irish, violin infused music that would play larger in her next album.

Hounds of Love would be Kate Bush’s most commercially successful album, becoming her second #1 in the UK and reaching #30 in the US. It would go top ten in many countries around the world, including to #7 in Canada and #1 in New Zealand, and expose her to her widest audience. Yet without a tour to take advantage, such success would be fleeting. She had built a loyal, ardent fan base, but a larger breakthrough wouldn’t happen given her experimental style of music and the lack of direct, live promotion.

Don’t Give Up \ So (Peter Gabriel album) (1986)

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I debated whether to include this, given it is not a Kate Bush song. Gabriel wrote it for his hugely successful album, So, and when Dolly Parton wouldn’t agree to perform on it, he turned to his old friend, Kate. It would be a top ten hit in the UK and reach #72 in the US. Its inclusion on this successful album again helped bring Bush’s talent to a broader and more mainstream audience, and once again through a video that received a lot of rotation. Kate and Peter would hug through the entire video as they sing about the struggles of an unemployed man in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain.

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At the end of the year Kate would release a greatest hits album, The Whole Story, which remains to date her only compilation. It also included a new single, “Experiment IV,” which got to #23 on the UK chart.

Love and Anger; Reaching Out; Deeper Understanding \ The Sensual World (1989)

In 1988 Bush would provide a song, “This Women’s Work,” to the soundtrack for the John Hughes movie, She’s Having a Baby. Used in a pivotal scene Hughes would, as he had done so often that decade, bring a lesser known artist to a wider audience. Kate would re-cut the song and include it in her next album, released the following year. In the four years since The Hounds of Love Kate had left her twenties behind, releasing The Sensual World at age 31. She even referenced this in the song, “The Fog,” in which she sang “You see, I’m all grown up now…” which is responded to by an older man’s voice, “Just put your feet down child / ‘Cause you’re all grown up now.” While the new album had many musical similarities to her prior album there was a gulf between them in maturity and tenor. Sensual World was increasingly personal and far more subdued – with feet on the ground – with much less experimentation and a greater emphasis on melody over rhythm, something not heard since her first album.

In October 1989, when this album was released, I was starting my second year in college in New Jersey, a year that was to be one of the darkest in my life. Bereft of my cherished musical sources and surrounded by jocks and classic rock I was thrilled to grab hold of a new Kate Bush album, and listened to this album to death. My reaction to it was oddly mixed. The darker, moody atmosphere appealed to me, but while I had perhaps matured too in the past four years, at 19 I was not looking for a more easy-listening Kate Bush. I needed some of her eccentricity to boost my spirits, and in this album that is largely left behind.

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Listening to it now, it’s hard to deny this album is a fantastic, lush, and wonderful listening experience. It launches with the title track, a nice, Irish-styled song that picks up on the musical themes of the prior album. It was one of her more polished and complete songs to date. As the lead single it would go to #12 in the UK but fail to gain attention in the US. “This Women’s Work” would then be released followed by “Love and Anger,” neither of which would crack the top 20 in the UK or even chart in most other countries. “Love and Anger” is one of the more upbeat songs on the album, offering one of the few moments of energy, and even includes a rare guitar solo from none other than her old mentor, David Gilmour. “Reaching Out” is another big, swirling song of hers, similar to side one of Hounds yet smoother, grander, and fuller than that younger work. Side one closed with an intriguing song, “Heads We’re Dancing” which featured Mick Karn of Japan (the band, not the country) on bass, and was about a women charmed by a man on the dance floor only to learn the next day he was Hitler (ok, there’s still some quirk from Kate going on).

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The second side opened with the moody, “Deeper Understanding.” It was the first of three on the side of the album featuring Bulgarian vocal ensemble, Trio Bulgarka, whose inclusion to the great “Never Be Mine” added a dramatic flair that Kate herself was providing less and less. The album was a solid finish to a decade that celebrated Kate Bush as one of the most creative and forceful women in the music world. The Sensual World would go to #2 in the UK and #43 in the US, making it her second most successful selling album (though only her third highest charting in the US). She was now a matriarch to the next generation of female singers that would take the modern music world by storm in the 1990s.

Rubberband Girl; And So Is Love \ The Red Shoes (1993)

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The music world changed dramatically as the 80s gave way to the 90s. Taking four years to release her next album, as she had for The Sensual World, amazingly didn’t hurt Kate Bush’s career. Perhaps not having tried to release music during those years helped, as being only the second album offered in eight years to her fans (though there was a reggae styled cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” released by her on the Two Rooms tribute album in 1991), they snapped up The Red Shoes. The album reached #2 in the UK and #28 in the US, making it the highest charting album of her career stateside. However, its long-term sales would not equal that of The Hounds of Love or The Sensual World.

Now on her seventh album, Bush’s sound had a tried and true quality to it, though there was still some new ground covered. It wasn’t a bad LP, but neither was it anything that electrified the way her earlier work had done. The lead song on the album and first single, “Rubberband Girl” sounded like Kate Bush but had a pop sound to it. The song would reach #12 on the UK chart and #88 in the US, and would be the last song of hers to chart overseas. The second song was the fifth single to be released, “And So is Love,” yet another moody, subtle ballad that was beautifully rendered – and once again accented by guitar from a legend, this time Eric Clapton. The album did have some musical departures, such as the horn-filled “Eat the Music” and several prominent cameos: Jeff Beck, Prince, Nigel Kennedy, Gary Brooker (Procul Harem), comedian Lenny Henry, and once again on three songs, Trio Bulgarka.

This album came and went with barely any notice from me, as I was focused on the Grunge and Madchester sounds of the era. I heard “Rubberband Girl” on the radio a few times and ended up with “And So is Love” on a compilation album, but neither grabbed my attention so it’s an album I’ve never listened to and am just discovering now.

The release would also be accompanied by a short film starring Miranda Richardson and featuring choreography by Lindsay Kemp, The Line, The Cross and the Curve. Eight of the album’s twelve songs were used in the film, in which Bush was a dancer that competed against Richardson, inspired by putting on magical, red shoes. The film and album were inspired by the 1948 British film, The Red Shoes, which itself was an homage to the Hans Christian Anderson story of the same title. Bush would later dismiss the film as sub-standard work.

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The Red Shoes came out during a challenging period for her. She was mourning the loss of her mother and several close friends as well as the end of her fifteen-year personal relationship with Del Powell (though they would continue to work together). Perhaps seeking healing through a greater engagement with her fans, she hinted that the album had been made to be tour friendly by reducing the amount of studio tricks, raising hopes of her long-suffering fans of the chance of seeing her perform live; but alas that didn’t happen. In actuality, it would be the last we’d hear from Kate for many years.

King of the Mountain; Pi; How to be Invisible; Nocturn \ Aerial (2005)

Kate Bush’s removal from public life was a mystery most of the time. Rumours of new albums invariably died away, she made a few public appearances to receive awards and commemorations, and she performed live with David Gilmour at one of his concerts in 2002 (to perform “Comfortably Numb,” not one of her tunes). Word came out that she had retired to the country and had her first child, Albert (Bertie), in 1998 with her guitarist Danny McIntosh, to whom she is now married and remains with to this day. Despite the assumptions and speculation as to what had made her a recluse, the truth seems to be more mundane. Creatively, once a young woman that could write 200 songs in a couple years, her penchant for studio work had drawn out her process and it was now taking much longer to finalize material. Add to that her preference for privacy, which extended to her family, and the demands and distractions of motherhood and the completion of a new album took a back seat.

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Finally, in 2005 there was surprise and elation of the news that she would be releasing a new album, her first in twelve years. The result was her first double album, and similar to The Hounds of Love each part had its own title: the first album was ‘A Sea of Honey’ while the second, ‘A Sky of Honey.’ The music on these discs was subdued, moody and atmospheric, subtly constructed and generally lovely. At age 47, this was a decidedly measured, relaxed and refined Kate Bush. Her voice sounded great, but there would not be the virtuosity and higher pitches of her early albums. Indeed, her voice rarely carried a song, instead blending with the music, a marked departure from the albums of the 1980s. There was still some quirkiness, such as the song “Pi” in which she counts off the mathematical, never-ending number (she stops at 30 decimal places on the first run and continues with the next 61 digits on the second go).

That first album was more traditional, with a varied collection of songs of different styles. “King of the Mountain” and “How to be Invisible” are from this disc. The former was the lead single (it’s about her son) and reached #4 in the UK charts, her first top ten single since “Running Up that Hill” 20 years prior. The second disc was a continuous piece of music broken into parts. “Nocturn” was the most engaging of this piece, another low-tempo and lovely piece.

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Critics fell over themselves praising the album, heralding Bush’s return to the music landscape as the album reached #3 on the UK charts – maintaining her record of having every one of her albums crack the top 10 (if not for the #6 peak for Lionheart, all would have reached the top 5). Personally, I found the album a bit dull though it certainly grew on me over time as the subtleties of the songs revealed themselves through multiple listens (how often can you say that about music these days?). I think part of me still misses the drama and vocal prowess of her early work, but that should take nothing away from this album.

Wild Man \ 50 Words for Snow (2011)

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Kate would release her next album a comparatively brief six years after Aerial. First there was a remixed collection of older songs, Director’s Cut, that was followed by an album of new material, 50 Words for Snow. Although it’s only seven songs, the album runs over 65 minutes as the songs all stretch out, a general departure from her past approach. It includes guest vocals from Elton John and comedian/novelist Stephen Fry. It is again a subdued work, filled with subtlety and almost spoken word performances; though some of her old-style voice effects are heard in places. “Wild Man” was the only single released and it reached #73 on the chart; the album however, would get to #5. This made Kate the first and only female to chart in the UK top 5 in five successive decades.

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As fans waited for another album, who knew how many years later, Kate Bush again surprised by announcing a residency at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. She had turned down a request to perform at the Closing Ceremonies of the London Olympics in 2012, and instead a remix of “Running Up that Hill” was played. But this time she would be live and in person for the first time since 1979. 22 shows were announced, to be performed over five weeks in late 2014, and her fans snapped up all the tickets in just fifteen minutes. By all accounts the performances were a success and we can only hope there will be more in the future. She turns sixty in 2018 so who knows how many more chances we’ll get? Maybe as her time runs shorter she will be more inclined to get on stage? We can hope.


Kate Bush has had a remarkable career. Her commercial success has been mostly limited to the UK and other commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia, but her influence runs much deeper. One can appreciate that she has been a ground breaker as a female artist, being one of a few to write and perform her own work from the beginning and to reach the top of the charts. Her young start and longevity has been a rarity, since most young phenoms tend to fade away quickly. What is most remarkable is her originality, independence, strength and evolution as an artist – qualities that are rare for any field and especially so for a female in a male-dominated industry. While certainly attractive and not against using her femininity as part of her expression, at no time has Kate’s success been dependent on her looks, physicality, or use of sex appeal. Her talent and music have always led the way and provided a shining example to other aspiring female artists. Her music defies any genre, and outside of the UK has found generally alternative audiences simply since most mainstream radio stations didn’t know what to do with her. Despite not performing for 35 years, she managed to build an extensive following and a legacy that has inspired a small army of female singers and songwriters in her wake. Kate Bush is a true original.

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