Gaffaweb - Kate Bush - REACHING
OUT - The Kick Inside promo LP/cassette 1978
Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
- This next song's called ``Wuthering Heights'' and it's
my single in England. (1978, Self Portrait)
- Well that was based around the story Wuthering Heights,
which was written by Emily Bronte. And ah, and really what sparked that off was
a TV thing I saw as a young child. [Apparently the timothy dalton telefilm
of about 1972] I just walked into the room and caught the end of this
program. And I am sure one of the reasons it stuck so heavily in my mind was
because of the spirit of Cathy, and as a child I was called Cathy. It later
changed to Kate. It was just a matter of exaggerating all my bad areas, because
she's a really vile person, she's just so headstrong and passionate and...
crazy, you know? And it was fun to do, and it took - a night and a half? (1980,
Profiles In Rock)
- It's from the novel called Wuthering Heights - you
probably might know it better as the film.
It's about the end of the film where Cathy has actually died and she's coming
back as a spirit across the moors to come and get Heathcliff again. And it just
struck me very strongly because it shows a lot about human beings and how if
they can't get what they want, they will go to such extremes in order to do it.
This is exactly what she did. She wouldn't even be alone when she was dead. She
had to come back and get him. I just found it really amazing. (1978, Self Portrait)
- I wrote the song from Cathy's standpoint. Cathy wants to take
Heathcliff's soul so that they can be together in the spiritual world. (1978,
- I felt I just had to write a song about the tormented heroine Cathy
calling for the soul of Heathcliff so they could be together eternally. (????,
How did the interest in the bronte subject come up?
- Well, it was originally from a TV series years ago and I'd just
caught the very end of it. And it was like really freaky, cause there's this
hand coming through the window and whispering voices and I've always been into
that sort of thing you know and it just hung around in my head. And the year
before last I read the book and that was it, I had to write a song about it.
When did you write the song, cause the record came out the
beginning of year, was it january or february?
- That's right, and I'd written the song in the summer before. Really
just before we'd recorded the album, it was my latest song. (1979, Swap Shop)
- When I first read Wuthering Heights I thought the story
was so strong. This young girl in an era when the female role was so inferior
and she was coming out with this passionate, heavy stuff. Great subject matter
for a song.
- I loved writing it. It was a real challenge to precis the whole mood
of a book into such a short piece of prose. Also when I was a child I was
always called Cathy not Kate and I just found myself able to relate to her as a
character. It's so important to put yourself in the role of the person in a
song. There's no half measures. When I sing that song I am Cathy.
Her face collapses back into smiles.
- Gosh I sound so intense. ``Wuthering Heights'' is so
important to me. It had to be the single. To me it was the only one. I had to
fight off a few other people's opinions but in the end they agreed with me
- I was amazed at the response though, truly overwhelmed. (1978,
- Well, I wrote in my flat, sitting at the upright piano one night in
March at about midnight. There was a full moon and the curtains were open, and
every time I looked up for ideas, I looked at the moon. Actually, it came quite
easily. I couldn't seem to get out of the chorus - it had a really circular
feel to it, which is why it repeats. I had originally written something more
complicated, but I couldn't link it up, so I kept the first bit and repeated
it. I was really pleased, because it was the first song I had written for a
while, as I'd been busy rehearsing with the KT Band.
- I felt a particular want to write it, and had wanted to write it for
quite a while. I remember my brother John talking about the story, but I
couldn't relate to it enough. So I borrowed the book and read a few pages,
picking out a few lines. So I actually wrote the song before I had read the
book right through. The name Cathy helped, and made it easier to project my own
feelings of want for someone so much that you hate them. I could understand how
- It's funny, but I heard a
radio programme about a woman who was writing a book in Old English, and
she found she was using words she didn't know, but when she looked them up she
found they were correct. A similar thing happened with ``Wuthering
Heights": I put lines in the song that I found in the book when I read
- I've never been to Wuthering Heights, the place, though I would like
to, and someone sent me a photo of where it's supposed to be.
- One thing that really pleases me is the amount of positive feedback
I've had from the song, though I've heard that the Bronte Society think it's a
disgrace. A lot of people have read the book because of the song and liked it,
which I think is the best thing about it for me. I didn't know the book would
be on the GCE syllabus in the year I had the hit, but lots of people have
written to say how the song helped them. I'm really happy about that.
- There are a couple of synchronicities involved with the song. When
Emily Bronte wrote the book she was in the terminal stages of consumption, and
I had a bad cold when I wrote the song. Also, when I was in
Canada I found out that Lindsay Kemp, my
dance teacher, was in town, only ten
minutes away by car, so I went to see him. When I came back I had this urge to
switch on the TV - it was about one in the morning - because I
knew the film of
Wuthering Heights would be on. I tuned in to a thirties gangster
film, then flicked through the channels, playing channel roulette, until I
found it. I came in at the moment Cathy was dying, so that's all I saw of the
film. It was an amazing coincidence. (1979, KBC 1)
- The story
in ``Wuthering Heights'' had been bugging me for about a month. At
the time I was recording the album, I
began to get down my thoughts on Cathy and Heathcliff and their incredible
relationship. I really enjoyed the energy between those two. (1984, Pulse!)
- I tried to
project myself into the role of the book heroine and, because she is a ghost, I
gave her a high-pitched wailing voice. (1978, A
Tonic For The Doctor's Daughter)
- I developed
a kind of fascination with Cathy after I saw the last 10 minutes of the
television series where she was at
the window and cutting herself with the glass. It always stuck in my brain.
- It was probably a lot to do with the fact that her name was Cathy -
and I was always called that as a child.
- My feeling about it was so strong that it kept coming back to me
again and again.
- Then I read the book and discovered that Emily Bronte had her
birthday on the same day as me, July 30, and I really, really wanted to write a
song about it all. (1978, TV
That must mean an awful lot to you, that song, actually, mustn't
- Yes, it does. It means an awfully lot. I mean that's really why my
name is known, because of that song, and because of the book. (1979, Swap Shop)
- Funny, but I've only ever seen ten minutes of Wuthering
Heights - it looked a bit corny to me. [This is probably a reference
to the famous version with lawrence olivier and merle oberon. - ied] (1982,
What inspired you to write that? That sounds like an obvious
question, but maybe it's not an obvious answer, I don't know.
- I think it is an obvious answer. [Laughs] It was very much
the book. The idea of a relationship that even when one of them is dead, they
will not leave the other one alone. I found that fascinating. Not unlike the
energy behind the Houdini song that we did, where the strength of
love... I mean it's incredibly romantic.
But a very nice story and the sense of how even when she's dead she has to come
back for him. Possessive lady. [Laughs]
Have you ever been in love in
that way or that much?
- Yes, I think love effects you in
a funny way and I think everyone loves something or someone so I think everyone
understands at least on some level the experiences. I wouldn't say I was a
terribly possessive or ... [Laughs] I mean I would hate to think that I
was like Cathy! But I think everyone certainly has shadows or little tinges of
those things in them. (1985, MTV)
I have to
ask you, though, about your high pitched range, what reaction did you get when
you came out with ``wuthering heights'' to the actual pitch?
- I think there were a lot of different reactions, some people really
liked it, some people really didn't, and other people found it very amusing.
For me, really, I just see it as a phase of my writing where I was just into
playing around with that kind of range. And I find it changes, I mean as far as
I'm concerned that's an old style for me now. But of course a lot of people
still see that as being me now. But that's just, you know, part of the time
situation where for a lot of people they will always think of me as
``Wuthering Heights'' and nothing else. But...
That was partly because it was so unusual, you know. It was really
quite unique in itself.
- Yes, I suppose so. And also of course it was the most successful
single I've had, so that obviously does tend to stick in people's mind alot.
But as far as I'm concerned, I feel like I'm changing, hopefully with each
album I do. (1982, Dreaming
to tell you a story. The first time that we viewed ``wuthering
heights'' - we saw it on film. We
didn't know anything about kate bush, and suddenly this came on and we're all
sitting there going ``yeah, yeah, that's great.'' then suddenly all this bit at
the end with the trees and you going like that. You had the entire staff, even
the technical crew which are - I mean like they're so dead sometimes, right.
[Kate laughs] and they're all up there going [Waves hand]. No
offense to the technical crew. Where did you get the idea of presenting
something like that. [He's talking about the early ``rockflix'' video of
``wuthering heights", not generally seen anymore.]
- Well, the idea of actually moving and singing?
Yeah, and with all those trees and that.
- It was really due to my teacher, Lindsay Kemp, who turned me on to
the idea of movement being expression. And we did it out there because that was
in context with the song, you know, on the moors.
And then about four weeks later, when it was number one, right
around australia, we suddenly get a new clip and you're doing cartwheels!
[Laughs] yeah. (1978, Countdown)
- I wrote it
after reading the book. It was a very moving story, SHE SAYS WITH A SAD LOOK ON
HER FACE, AND THEN JOKES: I'm still looking for my Heathcliff, though. (1979,
Of course you had the big number one single ``wuthering
heights.'' to people who aren't devout fans of kate bush, you mention
your name and immediately they say, ``oh ``wuthering heights,''
even nowadays. Does that bother you at all?
- No, I don't think it would be right of me to be rude to a song that
has done so much for me.
How did you feel when it went straight to number one. You must have
been very taken aback.
- Yes, very surprised. (1985, Profile 6)
- I wasn't a daydreamer. Writing songs and poetry is putting into
words and music my real feelings. Without being too critical of
``Wuthering Heights", I do think that it was a bit misleading; it
seemed to suggest too much fantasy and escapism. (1982, Kerrang!)
Were you a bit apprehensive doing your first song in that very high
voice? But then, have you always sung like that?
- No, no I haven't. It was really specifically for that song that is
was that high. Because of the subject matter and the fact that I'm playing
Cathy and that she was a spirit and it needed some kind of ethereal effect, and
it seemed to be the best way to do it, to get a high register.
Very much an acting job as
well, isn't it?
- Yes, I think so, yeah. (1978, Ask Aspel)
- Well, the video we made for ``Wuthering Heights'' was
probably amongst the first ever made, certainly here in this country in terms
of a video, and I was very influenced at that time still by Lindsay Kemp. So it
was very much the dance influence that I
was expressing. So it was really working out choreography that would just look
interesting, that would kind of create a persona of Cathy.
- Well, I'm not actually a big Emily Bronte fan. A lot of people think
I am, they presume I am. It just goes with this whole preconception they have
of me as a sort of big Bronte fan, a Tolkien fan, the pre-Raphaelite lady.
Which I think is actually a very big misconception. For me, ``Wuthering
Heights'' is the ultimate love
story. You just cannot get beyond the passion that they cover there. You know,
its a love affair that goes beyond death
- they will not be stopped by nature's
boundaries. (1989, VH-1)
When were you born, and where?
- Lots of people want to know this, and there's been a lot of dispute
about whether it is the same date as Emily Bronte, who wrote Wuthering
Heights. I was born in a nursing home in Erith, Kent, while my parents
were living where they are now, in Welling. The date was July 30th, 1958.
(1979, KBC 1)
Is your single ``wuthering heights'' issued with a
- Yes, it is. (1979, KBC
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