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Kate Bush
Overview | Albums | Biography
b. Catherine Bush, 30 July 1958, Bexleyheath, Kent, England. While still at school, the precocious Bush was discovered by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, who was so impressed by the imaginative quality of her songwriting that he financed some demo recordings. EMI Records were equally taken with the product and in an unusual act of faith decided not to record her immediately. Instead, she was encouraged to develop her writing, dancing and singing in preparation for a long-term career. The apprenticeship ended in 1978 with the release of the extraordinary "Wuthering Heights". Inspired by Emily Bronte's novel, Bush had created a hauntingly original piece, complete with an ethereal, almost demented, vocal that brilliantly captured the obsessive love of the novel's heroine, and her namesake, Cathy. It was no surprise when the single rapidly reached number 1 in the UK and established Bush in Europe. An attendant album, The Kick Inside, recorded over the previous three years, was a further example of her diversity and charm as a songwriter. A follow-up single, "The Man With The Child In His Eyes", was typical of her romantic, sensual style of writing, and provided her with another Top 10 success. Bush consolidated her position with a new album, Lionheart, and during 1979 undertook her first major tour. The live shows were most notable for her characteristically extravagant mime work and elaborate stage sets. An EP from the show, Kate Bush On Stage, gave her another Top 10 hit. After guesting on Peter Gabriel's "Games Without Frontiers", Bush was back in the charts with "Breathing" and "Babooshka". The latter was her most accomplished work since "Wuthering Heights" with a clever storyline and strong vocal. Her next album, Never For Ever, entered the UK album charts at number 1 and further hits followed with "Army Dreamers" and "December Will Be Magic". At this point, Bush was still regarded as a mainstream pop artist whose charm and popularity was likely to prove ephemeral. Her self-produced 1982 album The Dreaming suggested a new direction, with its experimental song structures, even though its less melodic approach alienated some critics. A comparative commercial failure, the album nevertheless proved to be highly influential on other 80s pop musicians, and in particular on Gabriel's increasingly studio-bound work. A two-year hiatus followed, during which Bush perfected a work that would elevate her to new heights in the pop pantheon. The pilot single, "Running Up That Hill", was arguably her greatest work to date, a dense and intriguing composition with a sound uniquely her own. The album Hounds Of Love soon followed and was greeted with an acclaim that dwarfed all her previous accolades and efforts. By any standards, it was an exceptional work and revealed Bush at the zenith of her powers. Songs such as the eerily moving "Mother Stands For Comfort" and the dramatic "Cloudbusting" underlined her strengths not only as a writer and singer, but most crucially as a producer. The outstanding video accompanying the latter featured Donald Sutherland. An entire side of the album, titled "The Ninth Wave", fused Arthurian legend and Jungian psychology in a musical framework, part orchestral and part folk. After this, Bush could never again be regarded as a quaint pop artist. Following another brief tie-up with Peter Gabriel on the hit "Don't Give Up", Bush took an extended sabbatical to plot a follow-up album. In 1989 she returned with The Sensual World, a startling musical cornucopia in which she experimented with various musical forms, even using a Bulgarian folk troupe. The arrangements were as evocative and unusual as her choice of instrumentation, which included uillean pipes, whips, valiha, celtic harp, tupan and viola. There was even a literary adaptation … la "Wuthering Heights", with Bush adapting Molly Bloom's soliloquy from James Joyce's Ulysses for the enticing "The Sensual World". The album attracted the keen attention of the high-brow rock press and Bush found herself celebrated as one of the most adventurous and distinctively original artists of her era. A variety of artists contributed on The Red Shoes including Eric Clapton, Prince, Jeff Beck, Trio Bulgarka and Gary Brooker, but the album was a lesser work that indicated that Bush's standing as an innovative artist may be on the wane in the 90s.

Discography

The Kick Inside (EMI 1978)****, Lionheart (EMI 1978)**, Never For Ever (EMI 1980)***, The Dreaming (EMI 1982)****, Hounds Of Love (EMI 1985)****, The Sensual World (EMI 1989)****, The Red Shoes (EMI 1993)***.

Compilations


The Whole Story (EMI 1986)***, This Woman's Work (EMI 1990)****.

Videography


Live At Hammersmith Odeon (PMI 1984), The Whole Story (PMI 1986), Hair Of The Hound (PMI 1986), Sensual World (PMI 1990), The Single File (Music Club Video 1992), The Line, The Cross & The Curve (1994).

Bibliography


Kate Bush: An Illustrated Biography, Paul Kerton. Leaving My Tracks, Kate Bush. The Secret History Of Kate Bush (& The Strange Art Of Pop), Fred Vermorel. Kate Bush: The Whole Story, Kerry Juby. Kate Bush: A Visual Documentary, Kevin Cann and Sean Mayes.




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