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"One day, along comes this friend of my brother's. He worked in the record business himself and thought he might be able to make contacts. Well, he knew Pink Floyd from Cambridge and he asked Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd's guitarist) down to hear me."
Little did Dave Gilmour know that he was about to meet the child-woman who, only a scant two years later, would have the No. 1 hit in England with her single debut "Wuthering Heights;" Kate Bush.
"Wuthering Heights" is an eerie, almost hypnotic tune which is based on the section of Emily Bronte's novel where Cathy Earnshaw wants to seize Heathcliff's soul so they can be together in the spirit world; on the surface an unlikely candidate for Pop chart success. It's a measure of Bush's right instincts and the charisma of her talent that the single became such a huge success and won column after column of critic's raves in the English press.
"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," she enthuses. "It was a real challenge to perceive 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 no half measure. When I sing that song I am Cathy."
"Wuthering Heights" was only a harbinger of things to come from the talented Kate Bush. With the release of her debut EMI America album The Kick Inside (previously released in North America by Capitol in March 1978), Kate Bush herself is rapidly on the way to becoming a classic in her own time. (The LP earned the nineteen year-old singer/songwriter Top 10 honors on the British Pop charts prior to its U.S. release.)
Born July 30, 1958, she grew up at Plumstead in Kent, England, and seemed destined from an early age to become involved with music.
"I have two older brothers and they were very keen on musical instruments. So I just grew up with music all around me," she explains. "When I was about eleven I just started poking around at the piano and started making up little songs. I never played Beatle songs or anything like that. I was always just exploring the instrument.
"Then, when I was 14, I started taking it seriously and I began to treat the words to the songs as poetry. I'd always been keen on poetry at school and it was lovely to put the poems together with the music."
Then, along came Dave Gilmour. Impressed by her talent he funded a session at the Air London studios for Bush to record a demo tape. EMI heard the tape and signed Kate Bush to the label, posthaste. Because she was so young (sixteen at the time), it was decided that she should spend the next few years developing her already considerable talents.
She studied mime and modern dance with the highly respected Lindsey Kemp (who also tutored David Bowie) for a short time. After Kemp went to Australia, Bush began dance classes at The Dance Centre in London's Covent Garden.
"That was all two years ago now," she says. "Since then I've been singing, playing and writing until we made the album last summer. Originally it was to be released last autumn but it kept getting delayed. I'm glad we waited till 1978 though. It kind of signifies it all starting with the new year for me."
And what a start.
The Kick Inside features thirteen of Kate Bush's own compositions. In addition to the aforementioned "Wuthering Heights," there's "Man With The Child In His Eyes," a complex and intriguing song in which Bush probes the intricacies of a relationship between a young girl and an older man. "Strange Phenomena," she explains, "is about how coincidences cluster together." On "Kite" the versatile Bush assumes the pose of the inanimate flying machine to describe what might happen if a man could fly like a kite. "Feel It," "Oh To Be In Love" and "L'Amour Looks Something Like You" deal insightfully with different angles of love, and "James And The Cold Gun" tells about a man who leaves home to "live by the rifle" until the friends he left behind "get out of hand" and beg him to return.
The album was produced by Andrew Powell (whose credits include working with Alan Parsons and Cockney Rebel) and Dave Gilmour is listed as Executive Producer on "Man With The Child In His Eyes" and "The Saxophone Song." As a singer, Bush has an unusual and, once heard, addicting style. She possesses a breathtaking vocal range; her voice gracefully entwines with each individual note.
As a writer, she is amazingly insightful; blending the universal with the personal, she transcends both.
And, she has her own way of coaxing melodies from her beloved instrument.
"I feel as though I've built up a real relationship with the piano. It's almost Iike a person. If I haven't got a particular idea I just sit down and play chords and then the chords almost dictate what the song should be about because they have their own moods."
The present has never been brighter for Kate Bush whose future looms as infinite as the uncharted stars.
"I'm really not sure how I'm going to develop from now," she explains. "What direction my music will take.
"I just want to carry on exploring."
KATE BUSH, "WUTHERING HEIGHTS" (prod. by A. Powell) (writer K. Bush (Glenwood, ASCAP) (3:33).
The record debuting in the U.S. was # 1 for some time in Australia and the U.K. Bush's voice is most unusual but continued listening and the lovely hook should endear it to pop and adult audiences alike. EMI America P-8003.
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"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush
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Willker - Mapes
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