Gaffaweb - Kate Bush - REACHING OUT - The Kick Inside promo LP/cassette 1978

KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words

Wuthering Heights

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, Music Talk)


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. (????, AVD)

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, Record Mirror)


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 Cathy felt.

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 it later.

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 Week)


That must mean an awful lot to you, that song, actually, mustn't it?

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, Robin Smith)


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 debut)


*I've got 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, Liverpool Echo)


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 picture bag?

Yes, it is. (1979, KBC 1)


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