Interviews & Articles


"The Shape Of Things To Come"
by Simon Frith
July 1978

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Letter From Britain

The Shape of Things To Come
by Simon Frith


But the most unexpected success of the year Kate Bush. Her single, "Wuthering Heights," and album, The Kick Inside, swamp the airwaves; her picture shines out from every London bus, every underground poster, every empty shop. "Wonderful," the ads say, "mysterious, brilliant, unique." She's got thick, dark hair, fuzzily photoed, with narrow eyes and a blank mouth. Not much like Poly Styrene or Ariana of the Slits, more like the heroine of a 1930's romantic thriller.

"Wuthering. Heights" is an oddly faithful song of the film of the book. Kate is Cathy, wandering the moors, calling for Heathcliff; her voice swoops and spirals like a wuthering bird and what starts out as an operatic mess ends up as a brilliantly conceived pop single -- not a normal number 1 but a natural, and with all the advantages of surprise. Who is Kate Bush? Why is everybody buying her record? Why isn't she a punk?

It turns out, now the publicity machine has begun to roll, that Kate Bush is a teenage prodigy singer/ songwriter who was discovered three years ago by Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Since then, she's been nurtured by EMI, Motown style. She's been pictured, packaged, imaged, sent to mime school, arranged, rehearsed, developed, dressed and briefed. Out of nowhere, in Kate's case, means a portfolio of songs and sights and sounds, pre-tested, guaranteed successful.

Ms. Bush's chart conquests (she will, she will) are a triumph of the romantic will. Her voice, with its shifts from little girl shrill to young woman blue, and her songs, with their nervy equations of sex and the soul, are designed for lonely listening. Unlike most British pop women, Kate Bush hasn't been designed as cute or brassy or accessible or matey. Her talents are remote, fragmentary, dreams to sustain her house-bound listeners through the dark winters to come.

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"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush

Reaching Out
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Marvick - Hill
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