A Beginner’s Guide to Singer Kate Bush

When stranger things dropped the first episode of its final season, it offered a resolution to the series’ otherworldly adventures. Set in the 1980s, the show also gave many fans an introduction to Kate Bush, whose haunting electropop track “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” was used to mark a hinge scene. The placement clearly provided more than a quick hit of “remember the 80s” nostalgia. Since the series’ season premiere on May 27, the 1985 single has seen an 8,700% increase in global streams, making it No. 2 on Spotify’s US Top 50 and No. 4 on its own. World Top 200.

To those who might just start their journey into the twisted world of Kate Bush, welcome! Its cultural impact has not been as pronounced as, say, david bowie‘s (whom she called a friend) or Prince’s (whom she collaborated with). But for fans, she’s been the high priestess of cool long before Eleven and the gang entered the Upside Down. Let’s put it this way – if you’ve ever enjoyed Tori Amos, Florence and the Machine, Fiona Apple or Adele, you have Bush to thank for showing them the way.

While it’s impossible to sum up a 44-year career in perfect highlights, we’ve done our best to dive into his 10-album career. slightly less intimidating. From artistic Christmas specials to the power that drove Big Boi across the ocean, here are a few reasons to love Kate Bush. Paraphrase stranger things, will she one day lose her power? Never.


Earning his first fan in Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour

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No one modeled Kate Bush. She wrote “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” in a hot pink pen when she was 13, a haunting piece about a relationship between a young girl and an older man (who may or may not exist) who loves her. solidified. child prodigy status. However, it wasn’t until David Gilmour of Pink Floyd offered the 16-year-old girl some recording help that her demo tape caught the attention of EMI Records. His first album, The kick insidecame out three years later.

“The wedding list”, Christmas special 1979

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Shortly before the release of her debut album, Bush enrolled in interpretive dance lessons and mime training, which contributed to her expressive, wide-eyed performances. By 1979, she had enough creative capital to put all her skills to spectacular use on her BBC Christmas special. Traditional? No – try a fever dream that featured staged fights, multiple appearances by Peter Gabriel and “The Wedding List”, a beautifully deranged sequence that begins with a reference to François Truffaut. The bride wore black and ends with death, destruction and truly superlative emotion.

love dogs1985

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Mentally wrecked after recording and promotion The dream, Bush moved to Kent, England, and embraced the country life. It was this retirement that inspired his fifth album, love dogs, a self-produced release that featured horror movie quotes, rain machines, and Bush at his most haunting. (Apparently, she claimed to have never heard Madonna and cited famous philosophers and Bach as inspirations.) Is there so much hatred for those we love? / Tell me we both matter, right? “), dropped the deity-referencing parenthesis in its title for the single’s release so as not to stifle radio play in heavily Catholic countries.

Literary inspirations

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Bush left school shortly after making fake A-levels (the equivalent of a high school diploma in the United States), but his work has upper-level literary credentials. Apparently, Bush was so inspired by Emily Brontë’s work that she began writing and recording “Wuthering Heights” before she finished reading Brontë’s iconic novel. The title of 1989 “The sensual worldwas based on James Joyce’s 1922 novel Ulysses. Bush contacted Joyce’s estate for permission to use her words, and when denied, wrote her own. (Eventually she got permission and re-recorded the song with new lyrics for her 2011 album, Director’s cut.)

In 2007, The golden compass The filmmakers approached Bush to create a new song for the end credits — she responded with the heavenly-sounding “Lyra,” which she recorded in less than 10 days.

With a little help from his friends

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Kate Bush’s Rolodex is as deep as expected. In 1993, she invited Prince to collaborate on the red shoes track “Why should I love you?” (As a savvy collaborator, he obviously agreed.) Elton John appeared on the track “Snowed in at Wheeler Street.” Meanwhile, Donald Sutherland appeared in the “Cloudbusting“, and mega-fan Stephen Fry joined her for a spoken interlude on “50 Words for Snow”. The parade of names will continue – last year Big Boi, who met Bush in 2014, teased a “freak” Collaboration.

Find space between The Red Shoes and Air

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After check-in and check-out The Red ShoesBush took a 12-year hiatus before giving up Air in 2005. Alas, the story that she showed a row of cakes to a record executive in response to the question what she was working on isn’t true. However, given Bush’s policy of letting his work speak for itself, it’s an easy-to-believe urban legend. Even today, she social media is rarely updated, visits are sporadic or non-existent, and she would probably rather bake a cake than talk to a reporter. Is Bush a witch, a goddess or an alien? Believe what you want – she is not responsible for correcting misconceptions.

Family life

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Although Bush had the kind of career that can certainly stand on its own, there’s no denying the role his family has played. While she didn’t announce the birth of her son until two years after the fact (and even then it was Peter Gabriel who spilled the wick), her son, Bertie, became a major player in her career, singing and encouraging her to perform live. Likewise, her husband, Dan McIntosh, is a member of her support group.

Bush’s role as mother and wife also inspired her music. In 2018, she re-recorded the sensual world Single “This woman’s work”, creating a sparse and heartbreaking alternative version informed by his own lived experiences.

His brief return to the stage

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In 2014, Bush announced a residency at the Hammersmith Apollo in London – his first time live in over 35 years, due to stage fright. (Yes, three and a half decades – that’s not a typo.) Over the course of a month, she delighted fans with a combination of puppetry, video projections, dance and, of course, the genre. voice that inspired 6 million people. results for Google search “Is Kate Bush a witch?” And while she’s not scheduled to perform again or even post residency footage (though she occasionally drops a message to fans), hoping stranger things can summon another musical miracle.


Laura Studarus is a Los Angeles-based travel writer with bylines at Fast Company, BBC Travel, and Thrillist. Sometimes she can go several hours without a cup of tea.

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