Revisiting Kate Bush’s Hits Catalogue

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Submitted by Site Factory admin on Fri, 11/16/2018 - 10:10

Revisiting Kate Bush’s Hits Catalogue

Posted 16 Nov 2018
kate bush classic part one
Kate Bush, 1983. Photo by Sunday Mirror /Mirrorpix/Getty Images.

She was one of the most striking artists of the 70s; a singer/songwriter/performer whose brilliant musical and visual imagination and wild creativity took her to the top on the back of her first album The Kick Inside, and sustained a career that is still going strong. In the UK the hits kept coming; the majority of her 30+ singles from 1978 to 2005 cracked the Top 40. Australia wasn’t quite so kind – no doubt some of Kate’s stuff has been too out there for conservative local radio programmers – but we loved her early on, and again from the mid-80s to the early 90s, and indeed all her album have reached the Top 40, other than 2011’s Director’s Cut, which reached #41.

“Wuthering Heights” and “Babooshka” are the two that we will never forget, but Kate has made so much more great music. 

In August 2014, following her first live concerts in 35 years, Kate Bush became the first woman to have eight albums in the UK charts at the same time – two in the Top 10, and eight overall in the Top 40. It's a feat only matched by Elvis Presley in 1977 and the Beatles in 2009. In honour of this momentous achievement, let's dive into her mystical catalogue. 

Man With The Child In His Eyes (1978)

The second hit from  Kate’s truly classic first album The Kick Inside. Released in 1978, this track was actually recorded three years earlier, in 1975, with guidance from Kate’s early mentor David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. And remarkably it had been written two years before then when Kate was aged just 13. A beautiful ballad, the song was received the esteemed Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding British Lyric in 1979. 

Hammer Horror (1978)

The first single from Kate’s second album Lionheart made quite an impression on this writer, who, like Kate, loved the horror films made by British filmmakers Hammer Productions.  Surprisingly the Brit’s didn’t quite take to this one – it predated the early Goth movement and barely cracked the Top 50 – as much we did here in the Antipodes. “Hammer Horror” was Kate’s third Australian Top 20 single. 

Breathing (1980)

The first single from Kate’s third album Never For Ever – the first ever album by a female British solo artist to reach #1 in the UK – was a Top 20 hit at home but strangely failed to make an impression here. We’re not really sure what went wrong – a video set in utero probably didn’t wash too well with Countdown’s producers -  but things were soon straightened out; the album’s second single was the mighty “Babooshka.”

December Will Be Magic Again (1980) 

This stand-alone Christmas single reached #29 in the UK but didn’t chart here. Australian’s aren’t overly big on Christmas singles (just Michael Buble Christmas albums), but this one, which doesn’t over-play the snow card, surely deserved a crack. 

Sat In Your Lap (1982) 

From Kate’s fourth album The Dreaming, an album which found her taking control of the production of her records, and pushing things to new limits. The album later featured in Mojo magazine’s "Top 50 Eccentric Albums of All Time" list and was named a favorite by  Björk. Released before the album as its first single, “Sat In Your Lap” heralded the changes yet still managed to reach #11 in the UK. It just scraped into the Top 100 here. 

The Dreaming (1982)

The title track from Kate’s fourth album probably never stood a change in Australia; it hit too close to home. A scathing attack on Australia’s treatment of its Indigenous peoples, the track bravely and perhaps naively adopted some Aboriginal musical traits, including didgeridoo played by a British-based Australian celebrity who we shan't name; suffice to say Kate has chosen to remove his contribution from the new remasters.   

Running Up That Hill (1985)

The first single from Kate’s fifth album Hounds Of Love, which was seen as something of a comeback after the relatively poor commercial showing of  The Dreaming, and which is today recognized as an audaciously innovative and fearlessly intelligent synth-pop milestone. “Running Up That Hill” was a Top 10 hit here and in the UK, and Kate’s only US Top 40 hit. 

Don’t Give Up (1986)

A Top 5 hit in Australia and a Top 10 hit in the UK, “Don’t Give Up” was a Peter Gabriel song and released as a duet between the two artists. Inspired by a book of Depression-era American photography, Gabriel originally envisioned it as a duo between himself and Dolly Parton, but Dolly declined. One is left to wonder what might have been; or, more tantalizingly, what a collaboration between Kate and Dolly might produce! 

Rocket Man (I Think It’s Gonna Be A Long Long Time) (1991)          

Kate’s oddly reggae-infused contribution to the 1991 tribute album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin was Kate’s last significant Australian hit – it reached #2 here.  It had a substantial impact in the UK too; while it only reached #12, it was, in 2007, voted The Greatest Cover of All Time by the readers of The Observer.

Rubberband Girl (1993)

The massive success of the Elton John cover was enough to position Kate for one more Top 40 Australian hit a couple of years later. With a much earthier and simpler sound than her earlier records, “Rubberband Girl” is a wonderful ode to the trait we now call resilience. Recorded many years before the importance of resilience became common currency amongst educators and mental health professionals, this is a great one for mothers to play to their daughters.   

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