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One of the most successful and popular solo female performers to come out of England during the last several decades of the 20th century, Kate Bush was also one of the most unusual, with her keening vocals and unusually literate and complex body of songs. As a girl, Catherine Bush studied piano and violin while attending the St. Joseph's Convent Grammar School in Abbey Wood in South London. She also amused herself playing an organ in the barn behind her parents' house. By the time she was a teenager, Bush was writing songs of her own. A family friend, Ricky Hopper, heard her music and brought Bush to the attention of Pink Floyd lead guitarist David Gilmour, who arranged for the 15-year-old Bush to record her first demo. With Gilmour's help, Bush was signed to EMI Records at age 16, though the company made the decision to bring her along slowly. She studied dance, mime, and voice, and continued writing. She also began thinking in terms of which of the 200 or so songs she'd written would be part of her first recording, and by 1977, she was ready to begin her formal career, which she did with an original song, "Wuthering Heights," based on material from Emily Bronte's novel (and more directly inspired by Bush's seeing the 1970 film directed by Robert Fuest and starring Timothy Dalton and Anna Caulder Marshall).
The song would set a pattern for much of her future work, which was filled with literary and other external thematic allusions, and sometimes made even fans feel as though her lyrics ideally would come with footnotes -- heady stuff for a teenage rock singer in the late '70s. Her precocity was demonstrated by the approach she took to the song, deliberately affecting what she felt -- in her mid-teens -- was the voice of a ghostly Cathy, whom she regarded as a dangerous, grasping figure, reaching out to her lover even from the grave. "Wuthering Heights" rose to number one on the British charts when it was released in 1978, and Bush became an overnight sensation at the age of 19. Her debut album, The Kick Inside, a collection of material that she had written from 15 onward, some of it displaying extremely provocative and sophisticated sexual references and images, reached number three and sold over a million copies in the U.K.
Bush's second album, Lionheart, reached number six but didn't achieve anything like the sales totals or critical acclaim of its predecessor, and in later years Bush regretted the rush involved in planning and recording that album to capitalize on the success of her debut. In England during the spring of 1979, Bush embarked on what proved to be the only concert tour of her career to date, playing a series of shows highlighted by 17 costume changes, lots of dancing, and complex lighting. Bush was also apparently the first rock performer (at least since the days in the early '60s when Sweden's Spotnicks experimented with a more primitive version of the technology) to make use of a wireless voice microphone, which freed her up to move around the stage as few singers before her had been capable of doing. The tour proved both exhausting and financially disastrous, and ever since then Bush has avoided any but the most limited live concert appearances, primarily in support of certain charitable causes. This absence from the concert stage, the extended periods -- often as much as three to five years -- between albums, and the dense, reference-filled nature of her songs and lyrics have also resulted in Bush becoming one of the more enigmatic pop artists in England since the Beatles; her relatively private personal life has only added to the mystique surrounding her. But her relative aloofness and her unusual sound and approach to pop music also made it more difficult to "explain" or encapsulate her work in a few words to the uninitiated, especially in America, where radio play and television exposure proved much harder to come by during the first few years of her career.
By the start of the 1980s, Bush was established as one of the most challenging and eccentric artists ever to have achieved success in rock music, with a range of sounds and interests that constantly challenged listeners, encompassing literature, art, poetry, cinema, history, and all manner of other subjects. "Babooshka" (1980) became her first Top Five single since "Wuthering Heights," and her subsequent album, Never for Ever, entered the British charts at number one in September of 1980. During this period, Bush began co-producing her own work, a decisive step toward refining her sound and also establishing her independence from her record company. Although 1982's The Dreaming reached number three, the single "There Goes a Tenner" failed to reach the charts, and most observers felt that Bush had lost her audience. Bush was unfazed by the criticism, and even began taking steps to make herself more independent of her record label by establishing a home studio, this partly in response to EMI's huge studio charges on her previous records -- from the mid-'80s onward, Bush was free to spend her time at her leisure working out her sound, and it seemed to pay off with her next release.
After two years' absence, Bush re-emerged in August of 1985 with "Running Up That Hill," which became her second biggest-selling single. The accompanying album, Hounds of Love, the first record made at her 48-track home studio, debuted on the British charts at the number one position in September of 1985 and remained there for a full month, and soon after "Running Up That Hill" gave Bush her long-awaited American breakthrough, reaching number 30 on Billboard's charts. By this time, in England Bush was ranked alongside Madonna in terms of her musical impact, "Running Up That Hill" having bumped "Like a Virgin" out of the number one chart position. The changes in her sound and her development as a writer/performer were showcased in the January 1987 best-of collection The Whole Story, for which she also re-recorded the lead vocal for "Wuthering Heights" to bring the song more in line with her sound as it was in her twenties (she later admitted that she would have liked to have done something similar with several of her other early recordings done when she was in her teens). The album also featured her latest single, "Experiment IV," whose lyrics were built on a science fiction story line that was echoed in the video, which Bush directed with a cast of familiar movie performers, and which came out like a miniaturized musical version of a Quatermass-like chiller. That same year, Bush won the Best British Female Artist award at the sixth-annual BRIT Awards in London.
In October of 1989, Bush's first new album in almost four years, The Sensual World, reached the British number two spot, and received an unprecedented promotional push in America, where she signed with Columbia Records for her future releases. Bush's next album, The Red Shoes (1993), inspired by the 1948 film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, debuted in the American Top 30, the first time one of her albums had ever charted that high -- Bush made a rare personal appearance in New York that December, an autograph signing at Tower Records on the Lower East Side, and the resulting line of admirers stretched almost six blocks, and required her to extend her appearance by several hours (she was still delighted and amazed by the procession five hours into the event).
It would be another 12 years before Bush would resume her recording career. Rumors of a new album began circulating in the late '90s. During this time, Bush became a mother and quietly retreated to her countryside home in Berkshire, Reading, England. In 2005, Bush finally released her follow-up to The Red Shoes, the double-disc set Aerial. After another six-year silence, Bush released The Director's Cut in 2011. It was a collection of 11 redone songs taken from 1989's The Sensual World and 1993's The Red Shoes. Bush claimed she was never quite satisfied with what was released, and therefore decided to rework elements in the chosen songs -- she recut all of her vocals and drums, and left virtually everything else unchanged. That said, the title of the song "The Sensual World" was renamed "Flower of the Mountain," because there, Bush also changed the words. Bush proved somewhat prolific in 2011 when she released 50 Words for Snow on Anti in November, an all new concept recording containing seven long tracks. Jazz drummer Steve Gadd plays throughout, with Bush's son Bertie guesting on one track and Sir Elton John duetting with Bush on "Snowed in at Wheeler Street."
Catherine "Kate" Bush, CBE (born 30 July 1958) is an English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer. Her eclectic musical style and idiosyncratic vocal style have made her a notable performer in the United Kingdom.
In 1978, at the age of 19, Bush topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single "Wuthering Heights", becoming the first woman to have a UK number one with a self-written song. She has since released ten albums, three of which topped the UK Albums Chart. She has had 25 UK Top 40 hit singles, including the Top 10 hits "Wuthering Heights", "The Man with the Child in His Eyes", "Babooshka", "Running Up that Hill" (as well as its 2012 remix), "Don't Give Up" (a duet with Peter Gabriel), and "King of the Mountain".
In 1987, she won a Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist, and in 2002, her song writing ability was recognised with an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. During the course of her career, she has also been nominated for three Grammy Awards. After her 1979 tour – the only concert tour of her career before 2014 – Bush released the 1980 album Never for Ever, which made her the first British solo female artist to top the UK album charts and the first female artist ever to enter the album chart at Number 1. She is also the first (and to date only) female artist to have Top 5 albums in the UK charts in five successive decades.
Bush was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to music. She received the award from Queen Elizabeth II on 10 April 2013 at Windsor Castle.Eder, Bruce. "allmusic (((Kate Bush > Biography )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 May 2009. Graeme Thomson (13 May 2010). "Kate Bush's only tour: pop concert or disappearing act? The Guardian 13 May 2010". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 29 May 2010. "Kate Bush – Never For Ever". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2010. "BBC News - New Year Honours 2013: At a glance". BBC Online. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2012. The London Gazette: . 29 December 2012. McAlpine, Fraser. "Kate Bush Takes Her CBE From The Queen". BBC America. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
Bush was born in Sidcup, Kent (now London), to English medical doctor Robert Bush and his Irish wife, Hannah Daly. She was raised as a Roman Catholic in their farmhouse in East Wickham with her older brothers, John and Paddy. Bush came from an artistic background: her mother was a former Irish folk dancer, her father was an accomplished pianist, Paddy worked as a musical instrument maker and John was a poet and photographer. Both brothers were involved in the local folk music scene.
John was a karateka at Goldsmiths College karate club and Kate also trained there, becoming known as "Ee-ee" because of her squeaky kiai. One of the instructors, Dave Hazard, later noted in his autobiography that her dance moves seemed to owe something to karate.
Her family's musical influence inspired the young Kate to teach herself to play the piano at the age of 11. She also played the organ in a barn behind her parents' house and studied the violin. She soon began writing her own tunes and eventually added lyrics to them.http://search.findmypast.co.uk/results/world-records/england-and-wales-births-1837-2006?firstname=catherine&lastname=bush&eventyear=1958&eventyear_offset=0 Sweeting, Adam (2 October 2005). "Kate Bush: Return of the recluse". The Independent (London). Retrieved 15 May 2008. "Kate Bush @ Paradise Place – Q interview.". . 2 September 1999. Retrieved 30 June 2012. "Kate Bush". Salon.com. Retrieved 22 April 2007. Young, David (2 December 1978). "Haunting Kate Bush". NZ Listener. Hazard, Dave (2007). Born Fighter. London: John Blake Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 978-1-84454-480-6. "Allmusic Kate Bush Biography". Gaar, Gillian (1993). She's a Rebel.
ContentsCareer1.1 The Kick Inside and Lionheart1.2 Never for Ever and The Dreaming1.3 Hounds of Love and The Whole Story1.4 The Sensual World and The Red Shoes1.5 Aerial1.6 Director's Cut1.7 50 Words for Snow
Bush attended St Joseph's Convent Grammar School, a Catholic girls' school (later part of St Mary's and St Joseph's School, Sidcup), in Woolwich Road, Abbey Wood, South East London, in the mid-1970s. During this time her family produced a demo tape with over 50 of her compositions, which was turned down by record labels. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd received the demo from Ricky Hopper, a mutual friend of Gilmour and the Bush family. Impressed with what he heard, Gilmour helped the sixteen-year-old Bush get a more professional-sounding demo tape recorded that would be more saleable to the record companies. Three tracks in total were recorded and paid for by Gilmour. The tape was produced by Gilmour's friend Andrew Powell, who would go on to produce Bush's first two albums, and sound engineer Geoff Emerick. The tape was sent to EMI executive Terry Slater. Slater was impressed by the tape and signed her. The British record industry was reaching a point of stagnation. Progressive rock was very popular and visually oriented rock performers were growing in popularity, thus record labels looking for the next big thing were considering experimental acts.
Bush was put on retainer for two years by Bob Mercer, managing director of EMI group-repertoire division. According to Mercer he felt Bush's material was good enough to be released but felt that if the album failed it would be demoralising and if it was successful Bush was too young to handle it. For the first two years of her contract, Bush spent more time on school work than making an album. She left school after doing her mock A-levels and having gained ten GCE O-Level qualifications. In 2005, Bush stated in an interview with Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2 that she believed EMI signed her before she was ready to make an album so that no other record company could offer her a contract. After the contract signing, EMI forwarded her a sizeable advance which she used to enroll in interpretive dance classes taught by Lindsay Kemp, a former teacher of David Bowie, and mime training with Adam Darius.
Bush also wrote and made demos of close to 200 songs, a few of which today can be found on bootleg recordings and are known as the Phoenix Recordings. From March to August 1977, she fronted the KT Bush Band at public houses around London – specifically at the Rose of Lee public house (now Dirty South) in Lewisham. The other three band members were Del Palmer (bass), Brian Bath (guitar), and Vic King (drums). She began recording her first album in August 1977, although two tracks had been recorded during the summer of 1975.
The Kick Inside and Lionheart
As part of her preparation for entering the studio, Bush toured pubs with the KT Bush Band. However, for her début album The Kick Inside (1978) she was persuaded to use established session musicians, some of whom she would retain even after she had brought her bandmates back on board. Her brother Paddy played the harmonica and mandolin, unlike on later albums where he would play more exotic instruments such as the balalaika and didgeridoo. Stuart Elliott played some of the drums and would become her main drummer on subsequent albums.
Bush released The Kick Inside when she was 19 years old, but some of the songs had been written when she was as young as 13. EMI originally wanted the more rock-oriented track "James and the Cold Gun" to be her début single, but Bush insisted that it should be "Wuthering Heights". Even at this early stage of her career, she had gained a reputation for her determination to have a say in decisions affecting her work. "Wuthering Heights" topped the UK and Australian charts and became an international hit. Bush became the first woman to reach number one in the UK charts with a self-penned song. Despite her considerable subsequent chart success it is still her only No. 1 single (as at 2014). A second single, "The Man with the Child in His Eyes", reached number six in the UK charts. It also made it onto the American Billboard Hot 100 where it reached number 85 in early 1979. Bob Mercer felt that Bush's relative lack of success in the United States compared to the rest of the world was due to her music being a poor fit for American radio formats and that there were no outlets for the visual presentation central to Bush's appeal. "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" went on to win her an Ivor Novello Award in 1979 for Outstanding British Lyric.
EMI capitalised on Bush's appearance by promoting the album with a poster of her in a tight pink top that emphasised her breasts. In an interview with NME magazine in 1982, Bush criticised the marketing technique, stating: "People weren't even generally aware that I wrote my own songs or played the piano. The media just promoted me as a female body. It's like I've had to prove that I'm an artist in a female body." In late 1978, EMI persuaded Bush to quickly record a follow-up album, Lionheart, to take advantage of the success of The Kick Inside. Bush has often expressed dissatisfaction with Lionheart, feeling that she had needed more time to get it right. The album was produced by Andrew Powell, assisted by Bush. While it had spawned several hit singles, most notably "Wow", it did not garner the same reception as her first album, reaching number six in the UK album charts.
Bush was displeased with being rushed into making the second album. She set up her own publishing company, Kate Bush Music, and her own management company, Novercia, to maintain complete control over her work. Members of her family, along with Bush herself, composed the company's board of directors. Following the album's release, she was required by EMI to undertake heavy promotional work and an exhausting tour, the only one of her career. The tour, named The Tour of Life, began in April 1979 and lasted six weeks. This live show was co-devised and performed on stage with magician Simon Drake. Typical of her determination to have control, she was involved in every aspect of the production, choreography, set design and staff recruitment for the show. The shows were noted for her dancing, complex lighting and her 17 costume changes per show. Because of her intention to dance as she sang, her sound engineers used a wire coat hanger and a radio microphone to fashion the first headset microphone to be used by a rock performer since the Swedish group Spotnicks used a very primitive version in the early 1960s.
Never for Ever and The Dreaming
Released in September 1980, Never for Ever saw Bush's second foray into production, co-producing with Jon Kelly. Her first time as a producer was on her Live on Stage EP, released after her tour the previous year. The first two albums had resulted in a definitive sound evident in every track, with orchestral arrangements supporting the live band sound. The range of styles on Never for Ever is much more diverse, veering from the straightforward rocker "Violin" to the wistful waltz of hit single "Army Dreamers".
"Artists shouldn't be made famous. They have this huge aura of almost god-like quality about them, just because their craft makes a lot of money. And at the same time it is a forced importance...It is man-made so the press can feed off it."—Kate Bush in a 1980 interview
Never for Ever was the first Kate Bush album to feature synthesisers and drum machines, in particular the Fairlight CMI, to which she was introduced when providing backing vocals on Peter Gabriel's eponymous third album in early 1980. It was her first record to reach the top position in the UK album charts, also making her the first female British artist to achieve that status, and the first female artist ever to enter the album chart at the top. The top-selling single from the album was "Babooshka", which reached number five in the UK singles chart. In November 1980, she released the standalone Christmas single "December Will Be Magic Again", which reached number 29 in the UK charts.
September 1982 saw the release of The Dreaming, the first album Bush produced by herself. With her new-found freedom, she experimented with production techniques, creating an album that features a diverse blend of musical styles and is known for its near-exhaustive use of the Fairlight CMI. The Dreaming received a mixed critical reception in the UK, and many were baffled by the dense soundscapes Bush had created to become "less accessible". In a 1993 interview with , Bush stated: "That was my 'She's gone mad' album." However, the album became her first to enter the US Billboard 200 chart, albeit only reaching number 157. The album entered the UK album chart at number three, but is to date her lowest-selling album, garnering only a silver disc.
"Sat in Your Lap" was the first single from the album to be released. It pre-dated the album by over a year and peaked at number 11 in the UK. The album's title track, featuring the talents of Rolf Harris and Percy Edwards, stalled at number 48, while the third single, "There Goes a Tenner", failed to chart, despite promotion from EMI and Bush. The track "Suspended in Gaffa" was released as a single in Europe, but not in the UK.
Continuing in her storytelling tradition, Bush looked far outside her own personal experience for sources of inspiration. She drew on old crime films for "There Goes a Tenner", a documentary about the war in Vietnam for "Pull Out the Pin", and the plight of Indigenous Australians for "The Dreaming". "Houdini" is about the magician's death, and "Get Out of My House" was inspired by Stephen King's novel The Shining.
Hounds of Love and The Whole Story
Hounds of Love was released in 1985. Because of the high cost of hiring studio space for her previous album, she built a private studio near her home, where she could work at her own pace. Hounds of Love ultimately topped the charts in the UK, knocking Madonna's Like a Virgin from the number one position.
The album takes advantage of the vinyl and cassette formats with two very different sides. The first side, Hounds of Love, contains five "accessible" pop songs, including the four singles "Running Up that Hill", "Cloudbusting", "Hounds of Love", and "The Big Sky". "Running Up that Hill" reached number 3 in the UK charts and also re-introduced Bush to American listeners, climbing to number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1985. The second side of the album, The Ninth Wave, takes its name from Tennyson's poem, "Idylls of the King", about the legendary King Arthur's reign, and is seven interconnecting songs joined in one continuous piece of music.
The album earned Bush nominations for Best Female Solo Artist, Best Album, Best Single, and Best Producer at the 1986 BRIT Awards. In the same year, Bush and Peter Gabriel had a UK top ten hit with the duet "Don't Give Up" (Dolly Parton, Gabriel's original choice to sing the female vocal, turned his offer down), and EMI released her "greatest hits" album, The Whole Story. Bush provided a new lead vocal and refreshed backing track on "Wuthering Heights," and recorded a new single, "Experiment IV," for inclusion on the compilation. At the 1987 BRIT Awards, Bush won the award for Best Female Solo Artist.
The Sensual World and The Red Shoes
The increasingly personal tone of her writing continued on 1989's The Sensual World. One of the quirkiest tracks on the album, touched by Bush's black humour, is "Heads We're Dancing", about a woman who dances all night with a charming stranger only to discover in the morning that he is Adolf Hitler. The title track drew its inspiration from James Joyce's novel Ulysses.
The Sensual World went on to become her biggest-selling album in the US, receiving an RIAA Gold certification four years after its release for 500,000 copies sold. In the United Kingdom album charts, it reached the number two position.
"I don't think of myself as a musician. As a writer, I suppose. I only ever play the piano to accompany myself singing. I could never sit and read a piece of music. At best, I'm an accompanist. I suppose the worst thing is frustration at your own ability. Not being able to do what you want to do."—Kate Bush in a 1993 interview to Q Magazine
In 1990, the boxed-set This Woman's Work was released and included all of her albums with their original cover art, as well as two discs of all single B sides recorded from 1978 to 1990. In 1991, Bush released a cover of Elton John's "Rocket Man", which reached number 12 in the UK singles chart, and went as high as number two in Australia, and in 2007, was voted the greatest cover ever by readers of The Observer newspaper. She recorded "Candle in the Wind", as the single's b-side.
Bush's seventh studio album, The Red Shoes, was released in November 1993. The album features more high-profile cameo appearances than her previous efforts, including contributions from composer and conductor Michael Kamen, comedy actor Lenny Henry, Prince, Eric Clapton, Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, Trevor Whittaker, and Jeff Beck. Both The Sensual World and The Red Shoes featured contributions from Trio Bulgarka, the Bulgarian female vocal trio who sang on several tracks including "You're The One" and "Rocket's Tail". The album gave Bush her highest chart position in the US, reaching number 28, although the only song from the album to make the US singles chart was "Rubberband Girl", which peaked at number 88 in January 1994. In the UK, the album reached number two, and the singles "Rubberband Girl", "The Red Shoes", "Moments of Pleasure", and "And So Is Love" all reached the top 30. In 1994, Bush released an accompanying short film, The Line, the Cross & the Curve. Written, directed by, and starring Bush, along with English actress Miranda Richardson, the film was based around the concept of The Red Shoes and featured six of the songs from the album.
The initial plan had been to take the songs out on the road, but no new tour transpired. Thus, Bush deliberately aimed for a live-band feel, with less of the studio trickery that had typified her last three albums and which would have been too difficult to re-create on stage. The result alienated some of her fan base, who had enjoyed the intricacy of her earlier compositions, but others found a new complexity in the lyrics and the emotions they expressed.
This period had been a troubled time for Bush. She had suffered a series of bereavements, including the loss of guitarist Alan Murphy, who had started working with her on The Tour of Life in 1979, and her mother Hannah, to whom she was exceptionally close. Many of the people she lost are honoured in the ballad "Moments of Pleasure." However, Bush's mother was still alive when "Moments of Pleasure" was written and recorded. Bush describes playing the song to her mother, who thought the line where she is quoted by Bush as saying, "Every old sock meets an old shoe," was hilarious and "couldn't stop laughing."
After the release of The Red Shoes, Kate Bush dropped out of the public eye for many years, although her name occasionally cropped up in the media with rumours of a new album release. Bush had originally intended to take one year off but despite working on material twelve years passed before her next album release. The press often viewed her as an eccentric recluse, sometimes drawing a comparison with Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. In reality, she was trying to give her young son a normal childhood, and needed a quiet place for her creative process to function. In 1998, Bush had given birth to Albert, known as "Bertie", fathered by her guitarist and now-husband Danny McIntosh. After living for many years on Court Road, Eltham, southeast London, the couple and their son moved away from the city and currently have two homes: a £2.5 million house in East Portlemouth on the Devon coast and a mansion on an islet on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Sulhamstead in West Berkshire. In 2001, Bush was awarded a Q Awards as Classic Songwriter. In 2002, Kate Bush was awarded an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, and performed Comfortably Numb at David Gilmour's concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
"I don't think I've ever felt part of the music industry"—Kate Bush in 2005
Kate Bush's eighth studio album, Aerial, was released on double CD and vinyl in November 2005. The first single from the album was "King of the Mountain", which was played for the first time on BBC Radio 2 on 21 September 2005.
As on Hounds of Love (1985), the album is divided into two sections, each with its own theme and mood. The first disc, subtitled A Sea of Honey, features a set of unrelated themed songs, including "King of the Mountain"; "Bertie", a Renaissance-style ode to her son; and "Joanni", based on the story of Joan of Arc. In the song "", Bush sings 117 digits of the number Pi, but misses 22 digits from the 80th to the 101st place of the actual value of Pi. The second disc, subtitled A Sky of Honey, features one continuous piece of music describing the experience of being outdoors after waking at dawn, moving through afternoon, dusk, to night, then back to the following dawn of single summer's day. All the pieces in this suite refer or allude to sky and sea in their lyrical content. Bush mixed her voice with cooing woodpigeons to repeat the phrases "A sea of honey, a sky of honey," and "You're full of beauty" throughout the piece, and uses recordings of actual birdsong throughout. A Sky of Honey features Rolf Harris playing the didgeridoo on one track, and providing vocals on "The Painter's Link". Other artists making guest appearances on the album include Peter Erskine, Eberhard Weber, Lol Creme, and Gary Brooker. Two tracks feature string arrangements by Michael Kamen, performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra. A CD release of the single "King of the Mountain" included a cover of "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye.
"King of the Mountain" entered the UK Downloads Chart at number six on 17 October 2005, and by 30 October it had become Bush's third-highest-charting single ever in the UK, peaking at number four on the full chart. Aerial entered the UK albums chart at number 3, and the US chart at number 48. Bush herself carried out relatively little publicity for the album, only conducting a handful of magazine and radio interviews. Aerial earned Bush two nominations at the 2006 BRIT Awards, for Best British Female Solo Artist and Best British Album.
In late 2007, Bush composed and recorded a new song, "Lyra", for the soundtrack to the fantasy film The Golden Compass.
On 16 May 2011, Bush released the album Director's Cut. The album, which Bush has described as an entirely new project rather than a collection of mere remixes, contains 11 tracks of substantially reworked material from her earlier albums The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, all of which have been recorded using analogue, rather than digital, equipment to create "a warmer sound". All the tracks have new lead vocals, new drums, and radically reworked instrumentation. Some of them have been transposed to a lower key to accommodate her lowering voice. Three of the songs, including "This Woman's Work", have been completely re-recorded, with lyrics often changed in places. The album has been met with a wide range of reviews with most reviewers a bit confused about the concept of the album itself, while responding with varying degrees of enthusiasm about its revamped tracks. Of particular note is the warmer, more intimate tone of the songs and the richer, more mature sound of her voice. This is the first album on her new label, Fish People, a division of EMI Records, with whom she's had a relationship since she started recording. In addition to the album Director's Cut in both its single CD form and in a box-set with The Sensual World and the analogue re-mastered The Red Shoes, Fish People will be releasing re-mastered editions of The Hounds of Love and The Dreaming. The album debuted at number 2 on the United Kingdom chart.
The song "The Sensual World" has been renamed "Flower of the Mountain" and contains a passage of Molly Bloom's famous soliloquy from James Joyce's novel Ulysses. Bush said, "Originally when I wrote the song "The Sensual World", I had used text from the end of Ulysses. When I asked for permission to use the text I was refused, which was disappointing. I then wrote my own lyrics for the song, although I felt that the original idea had been more interesting. Well, I'm not James Joyce am I? When I came to work on this project I thought I would ask for permission again and this time they said yes."
The first single released from the album was "Deeper Understanding" and contains a new chorus featuring computerised vocals from Bush's son, Albert. A video for the song, directed by Bush, has been released through her channel on YouTube. It features Robbie Coltrane as a man consumed by his relationship with his computer (voiced by Bush's son). Frances Barber plays the man's wife, and Noel Fielding also appears.
50 Words for Snow
Bush's next studio album, 50 Words for Snow, was released on 21 November 2011. The album contains seven new songs "set against a backdrop of falling snow," with a total running time of 65 minutes. A radio edit of the first single, "Wild Man," was played on BBC Radio 2's 'Ken Bruce' show on 10 October. and was released as a digital download on 11 October. The album is distributed in the United States by Anti-Records.
On 14 November 2011, NPR played 50 Words for Snow in its entirety for the first time. Australia's ABC Radio National declared 50 Words for Snow album of the week of 12 November 2011.
The album's songs are built around Bush's quietly jazzy piano and Steve Gadd's drums, and utilise both sung and spoken word vocals in what Classic Rock's Stephen Dalton calls "a ... supple and experimental affair, with a comtemporary chamber pop sound grounded in crisp piano, minimal percussion and light-touch electronics ... billowing jazz-rock soundscapes, interwoven with fragmentary narratives delivered in a range of voices from shrill to Laurie Anderson-style cooing." Bassist Danny Thompson appears on the album, which also features performances by Elton John and actor Stephen Fry.
On the first track, "Snowflake," in a song written specifically to use his still high choir-boy voice, Bush's son Albert (Bertie) sings the role of a falling snowflake in a song expressing the hope of a noisy world soon being hushed by snowfall. "Snowflake" drifts into "Lake Tahoe", where choral singer Stefan Roberts and Bush sing about a rarely seen ghost: a woman who appears in a Victorian gown to call to her dog, Snowflake. Bush explained to fellow musician Jamie Cullum in an interview on Dutch Radio that she wished to explore using high male voices in contrast to her own, deeper, voice. "Misty" is about a snowman lover who melts away after a night of passion, while "Wild Man" tells the story of a group of climbers in the Himalayas who, upon finding evidence of a nearby Yeti, erase all traces of it to protect it from discovery. Elton John and Bush as eternally divided lovers trade vocals on "Snowed in at Wheeler Street", while Stephen Fry recites the "50 Words for Snow". The quiet "Among Angels" finishes the album.
50 Words for Snow received general acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 88, based on 26 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim". She was nominated for a Brit Award in the "Best Female Artist" category, and the album won the 2012 Best Album at the South Bank Arts Awards, and was also nominated for Best Album at the Ivor Novello Awards.
Bush turned down an invitation by the organizers of the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony to perform at the event. Instead a recording of a new remix of her 1985 hit "Running Up that Hill" was played at the end of the ceremony. The remix which was released on 12 August 2012 was based on the 1985 12" single remix, has new lead vocals and was transposed down a semitone to fit Bush's current lower vocal range. The remix entered the UK Singles Chart at number 6 the following week.
Bush released an exclusive limited-edition 10" picture disc of the 2012 remix of Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) as part of Record Store Day 2013 on 20 April 2013.Cowley, Jason (7 February 2005). "The Wow Factor". New Statesman. Rolling Stone magazine, 8 February 1990, pp 21–2: "The Sensual Woman" by Sheila Rogers. Cite error: The named reference rebel was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "The Rightful Heir?". (48). September 1990. Kruse, Holly (November 2000). "Kate Bush: Enigmatic chanteuse as pop pioneer". Soundscapes.info, Online Journal on Media Culture . ISSN 1567-7745. Retrieved 7 May 2009. , Originally published in Tracking: Popular Music Studies (1). 1988. "Kate Bush". EMI. Retrieved 3 April 2007.  Williamson, Nigel (2 October 2005). "The Mighty Bush". Scotland on Sunday. "Today's Style And Looks". Face & Figure. 1979. Darius, A. (1984) The Adam Darius Method, page 236–240. Latonia. ISBN 0-9502707-2-5 Mime Centre "Demos: The Phoenix recordings". Last.fm. Retrieved 3 April 2007. "Kate Bush Biography". Lyricsystem.com. Retrieved 22 April 2007. Lyrics booklets from Kate Bush's albums. EMI. "Kate Bush in the UK singles charts". The Official Charts. Retrieved 21 January 2012. Barkham, Patrick (30 September 2005). "Guardian profile: Kate Bush". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 10 September 2007. "The Man with the Child in His Eyes". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 22 April 2007. "Awards Database". The Envelope. Retrieved 3 April 2007. The Whole Story album lyrics booklet. EMI. 1986. "Stand By Your Mantra". Classic Rock. 2004. "Simon Drake – The Illusionist". magicweek.co.uk. 2000. Retrieved 15 March 2011. Cite error: The named reference Allmusicbio was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Badhorn, Philippe (February 2006). "Interview in Rolling Stone (France)". Rolling Stone. "Kate Bush Music Wuthering Heights Hounds of Love". Refinery29.com. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2014. Cite error: The named reference chartstats.com was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Kate Bush". UnderGroundOnline. Retrieved 27 July 2007. "Something from Kate, at last". The Age (Australia). 8 October 2005. Retrieved 21 November 2010. Smash Hits magazine, reviews of The Dreaming (September 1982) "Kate Bush". TheOfficialCharts.com. Retrieved 21 November 2010. Simper, Paul (16 October 1982). "Dreamtime Is Over". Melody Maker. Ellen, Barbara (2 October 2005). "Comeback Kate". The Observer (London). Retrieved 4 April 2007. Fitzgerald Morris, Peter (1997). Hounds of Love lyrics booklet. EMI. "Kate Bush radio interview". Rock Over London with Paul Cooke. 1985. "Peter Gabriel: 'Kate Bush replaced Dolly Parton on 'Don't Give Up NME 19 September 2011". NME. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2012. "Kate Bush's dream world". The Telegraph. 26 November 1989. Retrieved 21 November 2010. "Kate Bush Biography". Starpulse.com. Retrieved 22 April 2007. "'Booze, fags, blokes and me.' KATE BUSH IN THE Q INTERVIEW.". Q Magazine. December 1993. "Q "Booze, Fags, Blokes And Me" December 1993". Gaffa.org. 30 October 1993. Retrieved 30 March 2014. "UK Top 40 Hit Database". EveryHit.com. Retrieved 15 May 2008. "The top 50 greatest covers as voted by you". The Observer (London). Retrieved 26 October 2007. Strong, Martin (1994). The Great Rock Discography. Cannongate. p. 218. ISBN 1-84195-615-5. "Back On Stage After 12 Years". Softpedia.com. Retrieved 23 April 2007. "The Line, The Cross & The Curve". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2007. "Well red". Future Music. November 1993. Gettelman, Parry (1993). "The Red Shoes review". The Orlando Sentinel. "The Red Shoes review". Request. November 1993. "Interview with Ken Bruce on Radio 2, 9 May 2011". Radio 2. Retrieved 9 May 2011. "The day I said sorry to Kylie, and other pop star encounters from the diary of DJ Mark Radcliffe Daily Mail 28 March 2009". London. 28 March 2009. Barkham, Patrick (28 September 2005). "Guardian profile: Kate Bush". The Guardian. "Kate Bush and the war of Wuthering Heights". Evening Standard. 5 May 2007. Archived from the original on 9 May 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2007. "£100K BILL FOR KATE". The Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 19 January 2007. "The Remarkable Kate Bush Now". Celticsurf.net. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Award winner Kate Bush hits the heights again: Picks up prestigious pop prize for her most recent album.". Daily Mail. 2005. |accessdate= requires |url= (help) "Award winner Kate Bush hits the heights again: Picks up prestigious pop prize for her most recent album". Daily Mail (London). 2 May 2012. McKenna, Stephen (2 September 2005). "Kate Bush back on form with first single in 12 years". icScotland.com. Thrills, Adrian (4 November 2006). "Is this great Kate—or just Pi in the sky?". Daily Mail. Thompson, Ben (5 November 2006). "Ben Thompson reviews an album of two halves". Sunday Telegraph. "allmusic (((King of the Mountain > Overview )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 June 2010. "Official UK Download Chart Book (File corrupt 081209)" (PDF). DigitalStar.org.uk. Archived from the original on 6 January 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007. "Operatic act beat Bush to the top". BBC News. 13 November 2005. Retrieved 21 November 2010. "50 Cent Gets A Billboard Beating From Zellweger's Ex". MTV. 16 November 2005. Retrieved 21 November 2010. "Search results for Kate Bush". The BRIT Awards. Retrieved 15 February 2007. "The Golden Compass [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] - Alexandre Desplat | Credits". AllMusic. 4 December 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "BBC iPlayer - Front Row: Kate Bush in a rare interview; and John Cleese reviewed". Bbc.co.uk. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Kate Bush News". Katebushnews.com. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Kate Bush News". Katebushnews.com. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Kate Bush News". Katebushnews.com. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Pitbull Tops U.K. Singles Chart; Kate Bush Album Debuts At No. 2". Billboard. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Sean Michaels. "Kate Bush reveals guest lyricist on new album – James Joyce | Culture". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Perpetua, Matthew (12 September 2011). "Kate Bush: First New Album in Six Years". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 September 2011. "News". Kate Bush. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Review of "Wild Man"". NME. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2012. "Fish People". Katebush.com. Retrieved 16 January 2012. Powers, Ann. "NPR music critic Ann Powers reviews "50 Words for Snow"". Npr.org. Retrieved 16 January 2012. "ABC Radio National Album of the Week". Australia: ABC. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2012. "Stephen Dalton describes 50 Words for Snow". Katebushnews.com. Retrieved 16 January 2012. "Bush tells Jamie Cullum "Snowflake" was written for her son". Avro.nl. Retrieved 16 January 2012. "Bush explains decisions regarding 50 Words for Snow". Avro.nl. Retrieved 16 January 2012. Greg Kot Music critic 18 November 2011 (18 November 2011). "Chicago Tribune review of 50 Words for Snow". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 January 2012. "50 Words for Snow Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 19 November 2011. "Brit Awards nominations: Kate Bush vs Adele for best female". Telegraph. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Dex, Robert (1 May 2012). "Kate Bush scoops South Bank award". The Independent (London). "BBC News - All-female shortlist is a first for Ivor Novello awards". Bbc.co.uk. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Dan Sabbagh. "David Bowie among UK stars who turned down Olympic closing show | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Wilkinson, Matt (10 August 2012). "Games finale stars the Spice Girls...on top of black cabs | The Sun |Sport|Olympics". The Sun. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
Bush has a soprano vocal range. Her music is eclectic, varying styles even within an album, and her songs span the genres of rock, pop, alternative and art rock. Even in her earliest works where the piano was a primary instrument, she wove together many diverse influences, combining classical music, rock, and a wide range of ethnic and folk sources, and this has continued throughout her career.
In an interview with Melody Maker magazine in 1977, she revealed that male artists had more influence on her work than females, stating: "Every female you see at a piano is either Lynsey de Paul, or Carole King. And most male music—not all of it but the good stuff—really lays it on you. It really puts you against the wall and that's what I like to do. I'd like my music to intrude. Not many females succeed with that."
The experimental nature of her music has led it to be described as a later, more technological, and more accessible manifestation of the British progressive rock movement. Southern England was the home to the most influential and successful acts of the progressive rock movement and, like other artists in this genre, Bush rejects the classic American style of making pop music, which was adopted by most UK pop artists. Bush's vocals contain elements of British, Anglo-Irish and most prominently (southern) English accents and, in its utilisation of musical instruments from many periods and cultures, her music has differed from American pop norms. Elements of Bush's lyrics tend to be more unusual and less clichéd than American-style pop lyrics, often employing historical or literary references and avoiding autobiographical lyrics. She considers herself a storyteller who embodies the character singing the song and strenuously rejects efforts by others to insist that her songs are autobiographical.
Reviewers have used the term "surreal" to describe her music. Many of her songs have a melodramatic emotional and musical surrealism that defies easy categorisation. It has been observed that even the more joyous pieces are often tinged with traces of melancholy, and even the most sorrowful pieces have elements of vitality struggling against all that would oppress them.
Her lyrics have referenced a wide array of subject matter, often relatively obscure, as in G. I. Gurdjieff in the song "Them Heavy People", while "Deeper Understanding", from The Sensual World, portrays a person who stays indoors, obsessively talking to a computer and shunning human contact. "Cloudbusting" was inspired by Peter Reich's autobiography, "Book of Dreams", about his relationship with his father, Wilhelm Reich. In a retrospective review of "Cloudbusting", AllMusic journalist Amy Hanson praised the song for "the rich earth of imagery that Bush has tilled throughout her entire career, emerging both tender and brutal." Commending the song for having "a thoughtful lyric and a compulsive cello-driven melody", Hanson wrote: "Even more startling, but hardly surprising, is the ease with which Bush was able to capture the moment when a child first realizes that adults are fallible and the parental cocoon is tenuous at best."
Comedy is also a big influence on her and is a significant component of her work. She has cited Woody Allen, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and The Young Ones as particular favourites. Horror movies are another interest of Bush's and have influenced the gothic nature of several of her songs, such as "Hounds of Love", inspired by the 1957 horror movie Night of the Demon. Her songs have occasionally combined comedy and horror to form dark humour, such as murder by poisoning in "Coffee Homeground", an alcoholic mother in "Ran Tan Waltz" and the upbeat "The Wedding List", a song inspired by François Truffaut's 1967 film of Cornell Woolrich's The Bride Wore Black about the death of a groom and the bride's subsequent revenge against the killer.
In 1983 New Musical Express noted that Bush was not afraid to tackle what was described as sensitive and taboo subjects. "The Kick Inside" is based on a traditional English folk song (The Ballad of Lucy Wan) about an incestuous pregnancy and a resulting suicide. "Kashka from Baghdad" is a song about a homosexual male couple; Out magazine listed two of her albums in their Top 100 Greatest Gayest albums list. "The Infant Kiss" is a song about a haunted, unstable woman's almost paedophile infatuation with a young boy in her care (inspired by Jack Clayton's film The Innocents (1961), which had been based on Henry James's famous novella The Turn of the Screw); and "Breathing" explores the results of nuclear fallout from the perspective of an unborn child in the womb.Gardner, Elysa (17 November 2005). "Kate Bush picks it up in 'Aerial'". USA Today. Cite error: The named reference Allmusicbio was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference rebel was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference Soundscape was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Moy, Ron (2006). "Kate Bush and mythologies of Englishness". Popular Musicology Online. Retrieved 6 April 2007. "BBC News - Kate Bush admits frustration over time between albums". Bbc.co.uk. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "BBC Radio 2 - Mark Radcliffe's Music Club, 17/05/2011". Bbc.co.uk. 17 May 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Hudson, Sue (December 1985). "The Unique Poetry Of Kate Bush". Hi-Fi & Record Review. Hudson, Sue. "The Back Page". Hi-Fi and Record Review. Davis, Erik (1993). "Red Shoes review". Spin. Hanson, Amy. "Cloudbusting - Kate Bush : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 November 2012. Brown, Len (7 October 1989). "In the Realm of the Senses". New Musical Express. Cite error: The named reference littlemiss was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Sutcliffe, Phil (June 1991). "Hounds of Love Sleeve Notes". Q magazine. Irwin, Colin (10 October 1980). "Paranoia and Passion of the Kate Inside". Melody Maker. Solanas, Jane (1983). "The Barmy Dreamer". New Musical Express. Colin Irwin (November 1989). "Iron Maiden". Q magazine. Phil Sutcliffe (30 August 1980). "Labushka". Sounds. "100 Greatest Gayest Albums 51–60". Out Magazine. "Kate Bush interview". Q Magazine. 1990. "Top 100 Greatest Gayest albums 81–90". Out Magazine. "Kate Bush interview". Smash Hits. 1980.
Duration between albums and perception of perfectionism
The length of time between album releases has led to rumours in the media concerning her health or appearance. In the past, stories of weight gain or mental instability have been disproved by Bush's periodic reappearance. In 2011 Bush told BBC Radio 4 that the amount of time between album releases is extremely stressful noting: "It's very frustrating the albums take as long as they do ... I wish there weren't such big gaps between them." In the same interview Bush denied she was a perfectionist in the studio, saying: "I think it's important that things are flawed ... That's what makes a piece of art interesting sometimes – the bit that's wrong or the mistake you've made that's led onto an idea you wouldn't have had otherwise," and reiterated her prioritisation of her family life."Little Miss Can't Be Wrong". Q magazine. December 1993. Ziegler, Mollie (8 November 2005). "The Return of a Sultry Songstress". The New York Sun. Cite error: The named reference Radio4052011 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
Live performancesFurther information: The Tour of Life
Bush's only tour took place 2 April – 13 May 1979, after which she has given only the occasional live performance. Several reasons have been suggested as to why she abandoned touring, among them her reputed need to be in total control of the final product, which is incompatible with live stage performance, a rumour of a crippling fear of flying, and the suggestion that the death of 21-year-old Bill Duffield severely affected her. Duffield, her lighting engineer, was killed in an accident during her 2 April 1979 concert at Poole Arts Centre. Bush held a benefit concert on 12 May 1979, with Peter Gabriel and Steve Harley at London's Hammersmith Odeon for his family. Duffield would be honoured in two later songs: "Blow Away" on Never for Ever and "Moments of Pleasure" on The Red Shoes. Bush explained in a BBC Radio 2 interview with Mark Radcliffe that she actually enjoyed the tour but was consumed with producing her subsequent records. A BBC film crew followed the preparation for the tour which was shown on the BBC Nationwide program as a 30-minute special.
During the same period as her tour, she made numerous television appearances around the world, including Top of the Pops in the United Kingdom, Bios Bahnhof in Germany, and Saturday Night Live in the United States (with Paul Shaffer on piano). On 28 December 1979, BBC TV aired the Kate Bush Christmas Special. It was recorded in October 1979 at the BBC Studios in Birmingham, England; choreography by Anthony Van Laast. As well as playing songs from her first two albums, she played "December Will Be Magic Again", "Violin", "The Wedding List", "Ran Tan Waltz" and "Egypt" from her forthcoming album, Never for Ever. Peter Gabriel made a guest appearance to play "Here Comes the Flood", and a duet of Roy Harper's "Another Day" with Bush.
"I do have the odd dream where I'm on stage and I've completely forgotten what I'm meant to be performing - so they are more nightmares than dreams."—Kate Bush about possible live performances in 2011
After the Tour of Life, Bush desired to make two more albums before touring again. At that point, she got involved with production techniques and sound experimentation that took up a lot of time and prevented her from touring. She came close to touring again following the release of The Dreaming and The Red Shoes, but live shows never materialized.
In 1982, Bush participated in the first benefit concert in aid of The Prince's Trust alongside artists such as Madness, Midge Ure, Phil Collins, Mick Karn and Pete Townshend. On 25 April 1986 Bush performed live for British charity event Comic Relief, singing "Do Bears... ?", a humorous duet with Rowan Atkinson, and a rendition of "Breathing". On 28 June 1987, she made a guest appearance to duet with Peter Gabriel on "Don't Give Up" at Earl's Court, London as part of his "So" tour. In March 1987, Bush sang "Running Up that Hill" at The Secret Policeman's Third Ball accompanied by David Gilmour.
On 17 January 2002, Bush appeared with her long-time champion, David Gilmour, singing the part of the doctor in "Comfortably Numb" at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
In 2011 Bush told the magazine Classic Rock: "I do hope that some time I get a chance to do some shows. Maybe not a tour, but something"
In March 2014 Bush announced a 22-night residency called Before the Dawn in London from 26 August – 1 October 2014 at the Hammersmith Apollo, her first live shows in 35 years. The tickets sold out in 15 minutes.Littlejohn, Maureen (March 1990). "The Sensual Woman". Network. "Why did Kate Bush never tour after 1979?". BBC. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014. Gambaccini, Paul (24 November 1993). "Kate Bush Smiles in Her New Red Shoes". New York Press. ""Kate Bush Christmas Special" : Cast and Crew". IMDb.com. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Kate Bush – BBC Christmas Special 1979". Retrieved 6 June 2008. "Award winner Kate Bush hits the heights again: Picks up prestigious pop prize for her most recent album". London: Daily Mail UK. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2014. "Kate Bush – The reclusive first lady of art rock: when she's not admiring John Lydon, she's pestering the Queen", Classic Rock, Issue 160 Guardian music. "Kate Bush announces first live shows since 1979 | Music". theguardian.com. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Boshoff, Alison; Bull, Sarah (21 March 2014). "Kate Bush announces new London residency... 35 years after her retirement from touring". Daily Mail. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
In 1979 Bush's one live show, The Tour of Life, was recorded for the BBC and for release on VHS as Kate Bush Live at Hammersmith Odeon.
Bush has appeared in innovative music videos designed to accompany her singles releases. Among the best known are those for "Running Up that Hill", "Babooshka", "Breathing", "Wuthering Heights", and "The Man with the Child in His Eyes", and "Cloudbusting", featuring actor Donald Sutherland, who made time during the filming of another project to take part in the video. EMI has released collections of her videos, including The Single File, Hair of the Hound, The Whole Story, a career video overview released in conjunction with the 1986 compilation album of the same title, and The Sensual World.
In 1993, she directed and starred in the short film, The Line, the Cross & the Curve, a musical co-starring Miranda Richardson, featuring music from Bush's album The Red Shoes, which was inspired by the classic movie of the same name. It was released on VHS in the UK in 1994 and also received a small number of cinema screenings around the world. In recent interviews, Bush has said that she considers it a failure, and stated in 2001: "I'm very pleased with four minutes of it, but I'm very disappointed with the rest." In a 2005 interview, she described the film as "A load of bollocks."
In 1994, Bush provided the music used in a series of psychedelic-themed television adverts for the soft drink Fruitopia that appeared in the United States. The same company aired the adverts in the United Kingdom, but the British version featured singer Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins instead of Bush.
In late 2006, a DVD documentary titled Kate Bush Under Review was released by Sexy Intellectual, which included archival interviews with Bush, along with interviews with a selection of music historians and journalists (including Phil Sutcliffe, Nigel Williamson, and Morris Pert). The DVD also includes clips from several of Bush's music videos.
On 2 December 2008, the DVD collection of the fourth season of Saturday Night Live, including her performances, was released. A three DVD set of The Secret Policeman's Balls benefit concerts that includes Bush's performance was released on 27 January 2009.
Bush has released four short videos for the album 50 Words for Snow. One is an advertisement for the album. Two stop-motion "Animation Segments" were posted on the Kate Bush Official website and YouTube, one to accompany a 2-minute 25 second section of "Misty", called "Mistraldespair", the other to accompany a 2-minute 33 second section of "Wild Man". "Mistraldespair" was directed by Bush and animated by Gary Pureton, while the "Wild Man" segment was created by Finn and Patrick at Brandt Animation. On 24 January 2012, a third piece called "Eider Falls at Lake Tahoe", was premiered on her website and on YouTube. Running at 5:01, the piece is a sepia tone shadow puppet animation. Directed by Bush and photographed by award-winning British cinematographer Roger Pratt, the shadow puppets were designed by Robert Allsopp. Bush stated that "Eider Falls at Lake Tahoe" is intended to be a "self contained piece" separate from the song "Lake Tahoe"."Kate Bush DVDs & Videos". allmusic.com. Retrieved 10 May 2011. "Kate Bush radio interview". CBAK 4011 (Australia). 1985. Aizlewood, John (December 2001). "The Big Sleep". Q magazine. Mojo Magazine, page 81, October 2005 edition "Cocteau Twins Discography". CocteauTwins.org. Retrieved 4 April 2007. "Kate Bush – Under Review". Amazon.com. Retrieved 4 April 2007. "Saturday Night Live: Universal announces The complete 4th season TVonDVD.com 5 September 2008". "Unveiling Britain's 'Secret' Home Media Magazine 5 December 2008". "Mistraldespair - Animation". Kate Bush. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Wild Man - Animation". Kate Bush. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Eider Falls at Lake Tahoe - Animation". Kate Bush. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Bush, Kate (24 January 2012). "Kate Bush's Shadow Play : All Songs Considered". NPR. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
In 1990, Bush starred in the black comedy film Les Dogs, produced by The Comic Strip for BBC television. Aired on 8 March 1990, Bush plays the bride Angela at a wedding set in a post-apocalyptic version of Britain. While Bush's is a silent presence in a wedding dress throughout most of the film, she does have several lines of dialogue with Peter Richardson in two dream sequences. In another Comic Strip Presents film, GLC, she produced the theme song "Ken", which includes a vocal performance by Bush. The song was written about Ken Livingstone, the leader of the Greater London Council, who would later be elected as mayor of London and at the time was working with musicians to help the Labour Party garner the youth vote.
She also produced all the incidental music, which is synthesiser based. Bush wrote and performed the song "The Magician", in a fairground-like arrangement, for Menahem Golan's 1979 film The Magician of Lublin. In 1985, Bush contributed a darkly melancholic version of the Ary Barroso song "Brazil" to the soundtrack of the Terry Gilliam film Brazil. The track was scored and arranged by Michael Kamen. In 1986, she wrote and recorded "Be Kind to My Mistakes" for the Nicolas Roeg film Castaway. An edited version of this track was used as the B-side to her 1989 single "This Woman's Work". In 1988, the song "This Woman's Work" was featured in the John Hughes film She's Having a Baby, and a slightly remixed version appeared on Bush's album The Sensual World. The song has since appeared on numerous television shows, and in 2005 reached number eight on the UK download chart after featuring in a British television advertisement for the charity NSPCC.
In 1999, Bush wrote and recorded a song for the Disney film Dinosaur, but the track was ultimately not included on the soundtrack. According to the winter 1999 issue of HomeGround, a Bush fanzine, it was scrapped when Disney asked her to rewrite the song and she refused. Also in 1999, Bush's song "The Sensual World" was featured prominently in Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan's film "Felicia's Journey". "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" is on the soundtrack for the 2007 British romantic comedy film Starter for 10.
In 2007, Bush was asked to write a song for The Golden Compass soundtrack which made reference to the lead character, Lyra Belacqua. The song, "Lyra", was used in the closing credits of the film, reached number 187 in the UK Singles Chart and was nominated for the International Press Academy's Satellite Award for original song in a motion picture. According to Del Palmer, Bush was asked to compose the song on very short notice and the whole project was completed in 10 days. The song was produced and recorded by Bush in her own studio, and features the Magdalen College, Oxford choir."Features | Ten Songs | Ken Livingstone Interviewed: Boris, The Other Boris, Music, Politics & London". The Quietus. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "FAQ: rec.music.gaffa – Love-Hounds – Kate Bush". Faqs.org. Retrieved 29 May 2010. Holmes, Linda (6 August 2009). "Five Great John Hughes Moments National Public Radio (United States) 6 August 2009". Npr.org. Retrieved 29 May 2010. "Eighties Kate Bush track goes Top 10 on download chart". Music Week. 24 November 2005. Retrieved 21 November 2010. "Soundtracks for Felicia's Journey". IMDb.com. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Starter For Ten Soundtrack CD". CD Universe. 13 February 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2010. "Chart Log UK: Darren B - David Byrne". Zobbel.de. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Silberman, Stacey (30 November 2007). "Tis the Awards Season: Lots of Green & "Golden" Loving Stars". Hollywood Today. Retrieved 15 May 2008. "Awards for The Golden Compass : Satellite Awards". IMDb.com. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Palmer, Del. "Lyra". DelPalmer.com. Retrieved 15 May 2008.
Bush provided vocals on two of Peter Gabriel's albums, including the hits "Games Without Frontiers" and "Don't Give Up", as well as "No Self-Control". Gabriel appeared on Bush's 1979 television special, where they sang a duet of Roy Harper's "Another Day". She has sung on two Roy Harper tracks, "You", on his 1979 album, "The Unknown Soldier", and "Once", the title track of his 1990 album. She has also sung on the title song of the 1986 Big Country album The Seer, the Midge Ure song "Sister and Brother" from his 1988 album Answers to Nothing, Go West's 1987 single "The King Is Dead" and two songs with Prince – "Why Should I Love You?", from her 1993 album The Red Shoes, and in 1996, the song "My Computer" from Prince's album Emancipation. In 1987, she sang a verse on the charity single "Let It Be" by Ferry Aid. She sang a line on the charity single "Spirit of the Forest" by Spirit of the Forest in 1989.
1990 saw Kate producing, for the only time in her career, one song for another artist, Alan Stivell's "Kimiad", on his album Again. Stivell had appeared on The Sensual World. In 1991, Kate Bush was invited to perform a cover of Elton John 1972 song Rocket Man for the tribute album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin. In 2011, Elton John collaborated with Bush once again in Snowed in at Wheeler Street for her most recent album 50 Words for Snow. In 1994, Bush covered George Gershwin's "The Man I Love" for the tribute album The Glory of Gershwin. In 1996, Bush contributed a version of "Mná na hÉireann" (Irish for "Women of Ireland") for the Anglo-Irish folk-rock compilation project Common Ground: The Voices of Modern Irish Music. Bush had to sing the song in Irish, which she learned to do phonetically.
Artists who have contributed to Bush's own albums include Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Nigel Kennedy, Gary Brooker, and Prince. Bush provided backing vocals for a song that was recorded during the 1990s titled Wouldn't Change a Thing by Lionel Azulay, the drummer with the original band that was later to become the KT Bush Band. The song, which was engineered and produced by Del Palmer, was released on Azulay's album Out of the Ashes.
Bush declined a request by Erasure to produce one of their albums because "she didn't feel that that was her area".
In 2010, Bush provided vocals for Rolf Harris's cover of the traditional Irish song "She Moves Through the Fair". Harris, who described the collaboration as the "best thing I've done," is unsure of how to release the track."Mna Na h-Éireann". Hot Press. 29 May 1996. Twomey, Seán (26 August 2008). "Lost Kate Vocal Performance surfaces on iTunes!". Kate Bush News & Information. Retrieved 24 July 2014. "Erasure & Kate Bush: The Lost Collaboration The Quietus 4 March 2009". Thequietus.com. Retrieved 29 May 2010. Andrew Williams (30 June 2010). "Rolf Harris: Glastonbury was highlight of my entertainment career | Metro News". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
Bush has been cited by many artists of many genres.
From the 1980s onward, it has become almost standard for individualistic female singer-songwriters to be compared to Bush by the media. She has received praise from several female artists. Annie Lennox said: "I really admire her, she is on her own and she is innovative". Tori Amos related that she discovered Bush's music after the release of Hounds of Love: "When I first heard her, I went, Wow, she does things that I’ve never heard anybody do, much less me. But I could hear a resonance in the voice where you’d think we were distantly related or something." Björk praised Bush as a producer: "I think what is really underrated is the production. I think it's really original and really feminine. [...] She created her own look and she produced her own sound." Sinead O'Connor did a cover of "Don't Give up" in duet with Willie Nelson in 1993 on the album Across the Borderline. As a teenager, Courtney Love of Hole listened to Bush amongst other artists. k.d. lang cited Bush as one of her influences. Dido bought The Hounds of Love at 13 and cited Bush's career as an example to follow. At the 1998 Grammy awards, Paula Cole thanked several artists including Bush for inspiring her deeply. Alison Goldfrapp of Goldfrapp was inspired by The Hounds of Love. She described Bush as "beautiful and interesting, which is not a common combination. It seems very deep somehow.[...] There was a time during my teenage years when everyone was doing ecstasy and going out to raves, and I was at home listening to Kate Bush. On ecstasy." Katie Melua stated that she'd like to work with Bush. Lily Allen reminisced: "I remember I couldn't actually figured out what she was saying when I was younger". She had to google the lyrics. At the release of her Glassheart album, Leona Lewis stated that "Bush was definitely an inspiration for some of the songs that are on this record in terms of the register she uses". Nerina Pallot wanted to become a musician after "seeing Kate Bush do This Womanâs Work on Wogan was a catalyst" for her. Natasha Khan aka Bat for Lashes introduced herself as "definitely a fan. I think she is an amazing artist and her body of work is so incredible and she's had such a long career and has taken so many risks. I think as someone to kind of look up to, she's a real inspiration." Happy Rhodes covered live "And Dream Of Sheep". Kate Nash said that she found "somebody like Kate Bush, really amazing and really inspirational." Little Boots introduced herself as "a huge Kate Bush fan; I love how involved she got with the studio side as well as the performance". Anne Erin "Annie" Clark aka St. Vincent discovered Kate Bush in 2007. "she's so great. [...] I got a Kate Bush record, and I forget-- I think "The Dreaming" is on it, though I'm spacing on the name of the record. It has Kate Bush in this totally miraculous ascot, too, on the back [ laughs ]. She just went for it. It's so great. She totally went for it." Marina Diamandis discovered Bush's music when people compared her music to Bush's. "I got mum to send me six songs of hers in the post. ‘Babooshka’, ‘Running Up That Hill’, ‘Wuthering Heights’.. I definitely fell in love instantly. An instant click, it felt like she was my sonic sister and in a very genuine way. Not because I had every tried to sound like her."
Bush has been hailed by various bands and singers. Tricky wrote an article about The Kick Inside, saying: "Her music has always sounded like dreamland to me". [...] "I don’t believe in God, but if I did, her music would be my bible". Suede front-man Brett Anderson stated about Hounds Of Love: "I love the way it's a record of two halves, and the second half is a concept record about fear of drowning. It's an amazing record to listen to really late at night, unsettling and really jarring". John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, declared her work to be "beauty beyond belief" and labelled her "a true original". Rotten once wrote a song for her, titled "Bird in Hand" (about exploitation of parrots) that Bush rejected. Rotten theorised that Bush thought the song contained insulting references aimed at her. Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons discovered Bush at the age of 7. He said: "I was drawn towards her as a kind of big sister character.[...] I still listen to this album Kick Inside". Bush was one of the singers that Prince thanked in the liner notes of 1991's Diamonds and Pearls. In December 1989, Robert Smith of The Cure chose "The Sensual World" as his favorite single of the year, The Sensual world as his favourite album of the year and included "all of Kate bush" plus other artists in his list, "the best things about the eighties". Tupac Shakur said he enjoyed Bush's music at the age of 18. Ozzy Osbourne said in 2007 that he liked Bush. Andy Bell of Erasure cited Hounds Of Love in his 5 favourite albums: "You get carried away in your imagination listening to some of her songs. [...] She’s been a major influence on a lot of Erasure’s album tracks." Coldplay took inspiration of her to compose their hit single "Speed of Sound". They stated: "We were listening to a Kate Bush song called Running Up That Hill and we were really trying to recreate the drums on that song for this song, and the chords." Big Boi of OutKast said that Bush became his favorite artist of all time. He admired her for "the style of music she was making, from the production side of it to the lyrics. It was kind of mind-blowing". Placebo covered "Running up that Hill", stating: "We're fans of Kate Bush so, when it came to this track, we thought that the lyrics had a real depth and you can't really get that in the original because she's singing it so fast. We wanted to slow it down". Hayden Thorpe of Wild Beasts stated: "I only discovered Kate Bush once people started saying that I sounded a bit like her. And that was quite a breakthrough for me to find her, because then I just fell in love straight away and bought all her albums. I think the great thing about Kate Bush is the more she pushes, the further she goes, the more outrageous it gets, the more you want. She's addictive." Kele Okereke of Bloc Party said about "Hounds of Love": "The first time I heard it I was sitting in a reclining sofa. As the beat started I was transported somewhere else. Her voice, the imagery, the huge drum sound: it seemed to capture everything for me. As a songwriter you're constantly chasing that feeling. I learned that recording should be about capturing drama as succinctly as possible so it can be translated to other people". When he was a teenager, Gustaf Karlöf of Niki & The Dove listened to Hounds Of Love by Kate Bush. Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light said: Bush "is one of my favourite writers, singers, performers, producers ever and the Sensual World album is my joint favourite album ever". In November 2006, the singer Rufus Wainwright named Bush as one of his top ten gay icons. Outside music, Bush has been an inspiration to several fashion designers, most notably Hussein Chalayan."Annie Lennox on winning the 1986 BPI [TV interview]". YouTube. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2014. Doyle, Tom (May (n°140)). Tori Amos interview. Q magazine. Check date values in: |date= (help) "the feminine issue: Kate Bush by Bjork". i-D Magazine (issue 252). March 2005. Brite, Poppy Z. (1997). Courtney Love: The Real Story. Simon & Schuster. p. 45. "kd lang hits Watershed moment". 2008-02-06. Retrieved 10-8-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) Hodginson, Will (3 October 2003). "Classic examples (Dido Interview)". The Guardian. Retrieved 10-8-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) "1998 - Awards Show - Grammy Awards - Best New Artist - Paula Cole". YouTube. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2014. "Cherry picked". The Guardian. 18 July 2003. Retrieved 10-8-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) Smith, Nick (17 September 2012). "Polari Magazine | Katie Melua | Interview | Secret Symphony". polarimagazine.com. Retrieved 28 March 2014. "Queens of British pop (including an interview with Lily Allen about Kate Bush)", BBC Television, 1 April 2009 (first broadcast) Check date values in: |date= (help) Gordon, Smart (23 September 2012). "Leona Lewis is back (subscrition required)". The Sun. Retrieved 28 March 2014. "Nerina Pallot on life, love and Kylie Minogue". Metro. 5 April 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2014. Michelson, Noah (6 September 2009). "Bat for Lashes Redux". BBC News. Retrieved 14 August 2014. "Happy Rhodes – And Dream Of Sheep (Kate Bush cover)". NME. youtube. Retrieved 10-8-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) David Apple & Dedee W. "Kate Nash Interview". House of Tracks TV. Retrieved 14 August 2014. "Interview: Little Boots". M magazine. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014. "Guest lists: St. Vincent". Pitchfork. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2014. "Interview with Marina and the Diamonds • Nialler9". Nialler9.com. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2014. "Last Night a Record Changed my Life". Mojo. July 2003. Turner, Luke (5 October 2011). "There's A Song Playing: Brett Anderson's Favourite 13 Albums". The Quietus. Retrieved 16-8-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) Lewis, John (December 2007). "An Audience With John Lydon". Uncut. Wintergasten [Antony Hegarty TV' interview]. vpro (available on youtube). 2010-2011. Retrieved 15-8-2014. Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help) Diamonds and Pearls by Prince - liner notes - section Thanks. Paisley Park, Warner Bros. 1991. "Robert Smith [interview]". Melody Maker. 23/30 December 1989. p. 23. Check date values in: |date= (help) Tupac Shakur Just The Facts. Books.google.co.uk. 28 December 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "'I want people to take me seriously' : Addictions behind him, Ozzy Osbourne refocuses on heavy-metal creativity". Legacy.utsandiego.com. Retrieved 25 April 2014. "Blondie, Kate Bush and Siouxsie & The Banshees: Andy Bell's favourite albums". 18 July 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014. "Coldplay talk about Kate Bush inspiring Speed of Sound [TV live show interview with Coldplay]". Tudou.com. May 2005. Retrieved 15-8-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) Kennedy, Gerrick D. (29 September 2010). "Big Boi talks Kate Bush". LA Times. Retrieved 15-8-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) Epstein, Daniel Robert publisher=Ugo.com (April 2007). "Placebo Interview". Retrieved 15-8-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) El team (4 November 2009). "Music | Interview With Wild Beasts". entertainment.ie. Retrieved 28 March 2014. Pires, Candice (14 August 2012). "Six Songs of Me: Kele Okereke". Retrieved 15-8-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) "Free From The Cage: Niki & The Dove Interviewed". The Quietus. 12 April 201. Retrieved 15-8-2014. Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help) Keeble, Edward (21 March 2014). "Live Session: Bright Bright Bright Light Covers Kate Bush". Gigwise. Retrieved 15-8-2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) Wainwright, Rufus (12 November 2006). "Gay icons". The Observer (London). Retrieved 3 April 2007. Chalayan, Hussein (12 February 2005). "Hussein Chalayan on Kate Bush". The Independent (London). Retrieved 3 April 2007.
Bush is married to guitarist Dan McIntosh, and the couple have a son, Albert. She is a former resident of Eltham, south east London. She previously had a long-term relationship with Del Palmer.
In the 1990s Bush moved to a canalside residence in Sulhamstead, Berkshire and subsequently moved to Devon in 2004 and was reported as still living there in April 2013."Kate Bush and the war of Wuthering Heights". Evening Standard. 5 May 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2012. "Famous people of Eltham". Elthamse9.co.uk. Retrieved 9 November 2012. The Independent: Kate Bush: The Return of the recluse by Adam Sweeting, 2 October 2005 Salon.com People: Kate Bush p2 International Online Music magazine: Kate Bush - The Red Shoes review 1993, Novercia Ltd The Blamonet: Kate Bush - The Red Shoes review The New York Times: Kate Bush: Live at Hammersmith Odeon (1979) review summary. "Kate Bush and the war of Wuthering Heights". Evening Standard. 5 May 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2013. "Kate Bush makes a rare public appearance ... to see the Queen". Daily Mirror. 13 April 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2013.