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Behind the enigma of Kate Bush



The career of singer-songwriter Kate Bush, who celebrates her 50th birthday today, July 30, 2008, has spanned more than 30 years.

The star, whose hits include Wuthering Heights and Running Up That Hill, has been famously enigmatic in recent years.

Her most recent album was released in 2005 after a hiatus of more than a decade.

ROY HARPER gives his impressions of Kate Bush both inside and outside of the studio.

Folk-rock musician Roy Harper released his first album in 1966 and had a song recorded in his honour by Led Zeppelin.

Kate Bush duetted with him on his 1980 song You and he sang backing vocals on her hit Breathing in the same year.

A decade later Bush contributed to Harper's album Once.

"Kate is a fantastic musician and very professional as well. Working with Kate is a very smooth operation because she always knows what she wants to do, surprising you too, which is what good musicians always do.

She is a perfectionist with her art, but isn't like that with all aspects of her life.

She is a wonderful person and it would be impossible to speak highly enough of her. She is the kindest woman I've ever met and if she's a friend of yours, she is for life.

I would go round there and we used to talk all night and exchange ideas. On a social level she is very graceful and has given me some beautiful presents including a wonderful kaleidoscope one year which is an absolute treasure.

Her songs are brilliant, simple deepnesses and a fantastic degree of musicianship goes into them. There is nobody quite like her.

I think she should eventually be honoured by her country because she is an outstanding contributor to the cultural life of her generation."


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I think she should eventually be honoured by her country because she is an outstanding contributor to the cultural life of her generation.

Aw I think she already is honoured by a majority big enough to be considered "her country". :P

Original. Kooky. Multi-talented. Intelligent. Love her.

All of the above!

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She was/is great

Her Hounds Of Love album was a masterpiece!

She's written so many great songs (Night Of The Swallow, Houdini, Cloudbursting, Hello Earth), some of her other albums are a bit patchy but she remains one of the greatest singer songwriter's that there's ever been.

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Kate Bush! One of the best artists you will ever find in popular music, methinks. :)


I remember back in 1978, when her first album The Kick Inside, came out, you just thought: "Now where did that come from?" It was so different from everything else going on at the time, just unique - Wuthering Heights wasn't something anybody could have expected. At the time, of course, I was Icelandic, and too young and ignorant to pick up the references in it. She is about as English as you can get, and that first hit was based on a famous English novel from the 19. century - but it was just so much more; you can't really trace the song to determinate influences, or rather perhaps the set of influences is so unusual, and the resulting mix so baffling and original, that you're still left to just wonder, "Where did that come from?" The next hit from the album was The Man With the Child in His Eyes, just a beautiful little tune....and again I was baffled when I later found out that she was 15 when she wrote it. A talent like that is more than unusual.

She was totally gorgeous as well, and her live performances proved that she was every bit as talented and unusual in that department. She used costumes, taking Peter Gabriel's idea of a theatrical presence on the stage a lot further; she also danced like a professional; and she gave excellent performances, musically speaking. Here she is in 1979:

Wuthering Heights Hammy Odeon 1979

What do you know? She decided to stop doing shows, only three years after the release of her first album! She had had other hits by then (Babooshka and Wow! for example) but this artist was obviously always determined not to become just another run-of-the-mill pop star; she focused henceforth on her songwriting and went on to release masterly albums, one after the other, culminating in The Sensual World (1987), which may be her strongest statement.

She had been quiet for more than a decade before she finally released a new album in 2005, Aerial. And what a comeback it was... I remember hearing The King of the Mountain before it came out, and just thought, here we go again, what a genius. There is quite a bit of Elvis Presley in there - who would have expected that in a Kate Bush song?! And here it is:

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Definitely one of the greats of the past 30 years...and a huge influence on Bjork,

Tori Amos, Cocteau Twins among others.

Sadly, I never got to see her live, as she gave up performing before I had a

chance to see her...adding her to my list of Velvet Underground, Beatles, Jimi

Hendrix, Joy Division on the "great bands I never got to see live list".

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