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RIP Alfred Biolek, German TV star who championed Kate

Alfred Biolek pictured on the German Wuthering Heights 7″ sleeve

Our friend Michael Guth in Germany lets us know that sadly Alfred Biolek passed away today, aged 87, the man who was so important for Kates career in Germany. He is even pictured on the rear cover of the German 7″ Wuthering Heights sleeve. Michael writes: “He was a true legend! Bio’s Bahnhof was the title of an entertainment show hosted by Alfred Biolek, which was broadcast by ARD in Germany from 9 February 1978 to 28 October 1982 in 30 episodes from the former depot Hall of the Köln-Frechen-Benzelrather Eisenbahn live.

A special feature of the program was that the artists performing were from all styles of music: pop as well as folk, avant-garde and contemporary music. With the exception of Vicky Leandros in the first episode (due to a cold), all artists sang live.

Alfred Biolek proved (in collaboration with his editors) an extraordinary sense of future stars. Among others, he presented Sting, Helen Schneider and Kate Bush to the German audience for the first time.

Indeed, Kate made her very first television appearance at Bio’s Bahnhof, performing Kite and Wuthering Heights on 9 February 1978. The backdrop, which was supposed to represent the Yorkshire moors, included a volcano.” (Thanks Michael)

I contacted various record labels, which artists might be suitable for my new show. One day I was sitting at EMI in London, and all sorts of names were mentioned – and I suddenly I noticed a song that sounded softly over the office speakers. I interrupted the conversation, listening. And I was thrilled! I asked: “Who is this?” And they said: “A brand new artist, she has only just begun”. And I thought we could just invite her.

Alfred Biolek

Brontë Stones mastermind gets letter from Kate about his new Brontë book

Michael Stewart is a multi-award winning writer, born and brought up in Salford, who moved to Yorkshire in 1995 and is now based in Bradford. You will remember that in 2018 Kate took part in the Brontë Stones project in Yorkshire which he instigated, four monumental stones situated in the landscape between the Brontë birthplace and the parsonage, inscribed with poems by Kate, Carol Ann Duffy, Jeannette Winterson and Jackie Kay. (you can read about Kate’s Brontë Stone in our news item here)

Michael has just published a new book, Walking the Invisible, dedicating it to Kate, which Grazia magazine has described as “an imaginative and elegant trek through the landscape of the Brontës.” Having sent a copy of the book to Kate he was delighted last month to receive a hand written note from her, saying in a tweet: “It’s not every day you get a letter from Kate Bush!”

The book is available from Amazon UK here or to support local bookshops in the UK visit https://uk.bookshop.org You can read more about Michael at his website here or follow him on Twitter here.

HMV announce limited unique recycled vinyl “Centenary Edition” of Hounds of Love

HMV limited vinyl Hounds of Love

Update 21st July: Kate’s official site has posted with more information about the discs themselves: “It is a recycled coloured vinyl which is completely individual in its colour variation, so no two are the same. The unique marbled effect is the result of using various recycled materials available from other coloured vinyl runs.”

Recycled vinyl discs

With their upcoming 100th birthday this month, HMV, the UK-based music and film retailer, have recently launched their new and exclusive 1921 Centenary Editions. “We have carefully curated a selection of the finest albums and soundtracks from the last 100 years and had them specially pressed onto some beautiful limited edition vinyl – all of which will be available exclusively in hmv stores on Saturday July 24.”

Describing the album as “a timeless classic from a truly unique artist”, Hounds of Love joins their 1921 Centenary Edition series with a new and exclusive reissue pressed on recycled vinyl and limited to 1500 copies. We note that this is not a coloured vinyl, as with some other editions in this series. Kate’s album is No.4 0f 37 albums in this set of vinyl reissues.

HMV say that these exclusives will be available on a first come, first served basis, and they recommend that you head to your local store nice and early so you don’t miss out. While stocks last there will also be a very limited number of copies of Hounds of Love 1921 Centenary Edition available in their online store from 4pm on July 24. You can see all the other HMV vinyl exclusives here.

Remembering Joe Cassidy…

It was with great shock and sadness that we learned this week of the death of Belfast-born singer, songwriter, producer, composer and front-man, Joe Cassidy. Just last autumn, Joe contributed his intensely beautiful version of Kate’s Top of the City to the I Wanna Be Kate: Remastered and Expanded project, using his band name, Butterfly Child. Sending our sincere condolences to his family, loved ones and many friends.

Thomas Dunning, who knew Joe well and produced I Wanna Be Kate has shared the following:

Joe was a dream of a friend and a profoundly gifted and hard-working musician of exceptional generosity.  He mentored so many in the art and joy of music-making, whether they were professionals, saw themselves as creatives, or not.  His extraordinary kindness and love of animals were as well regarded as his magnificent pop, rock and orchestral creations. I will miss him and I am so grateful to have had his love and music in my life.  It is an honour that his last musical release was his brilliant contribution to I Wanna Be Kate with the sweet closing line, ‘Put me up on the angels shoulders. Mmmm, Yes!’   I’m sure that’s exactly where he is.  What a blessing he was in my life. ~ Thomas Dunning

Joe Cassidy’s career in music spans almost three decades. Joe moved from Belfast to Manchester, then London, and then Chicago—finally landing in Los Angeles in 2007. His career was a study in duality: his projects have been picked up by hot indie labels Rough Trade and H.ark!—and major giants Arista/ BMG, Hit It!/ Tommy Boy, Dedicated/ BMG, RCA, and Universal. Joe has written scores for string quartets made up of members of the Liverpool Symphony and the Chicago Lyric Orchestra—and for films like “Bettie Page Uncensored”, “Stan” and “Hollywood”. Joe also worked on the 2011 Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner “We Live In Public” and the 2011 Emmy winning documentary “Hold At All Costs”.

His band Butterfly Child is known for its symphonic love songs; his band Assassins is known for its electro-pop dance tracks—both have devoted fan bases. Joe even had the honour of producing song writing legend Jimmy Webb with Glen Campbell in the room. He performed across the USA and Europe including Lollapalooza and has supported New Order, Muse, Travis and Duran Duran to name but a few.

Perhaps Joe demonstrated success across genres and continents because of what Rolling Stone called “his mastery of the simple pop song.” At the heart of every one of his compositions is a melody infused with deeply satisfying musical—and narrative—resolution. As was said of Joe Cassidy’s style, “If you’ve ever been drunk in a pub, staring at someone beautiful, just watching them move, in a blur, this was probably the music in your head.”

Here’s what Joe said about his version of Top of the City on I Wanna Be Kate

top of the city always resonated with me. i remember buying the red shoes album the day it came out and i loved this particular track instantly. there are some songs that i could never dream of covering like the sensual world as it is basically beyond perfect but top of the city felt like i could have fun with the arrangement and do my own spin on it, including the molly bloom references at the end. i listened to the live version from the before the dawn album, borrowed a couple of things from that and just got on with it really. it was a very fast recording process as i tracked everything in a day by myself in the studio and then worked on the mix for a little longer. 

kate bush is indescribable. her voice, her dancing, her beauty and her song writing will long live eternal. – Joe Cassidy, 2020

Thomas has now made the track available for free download here.

Kate: Inside the Rainbow by John Carder Bush reprinted!

Kate’s brother, John Carder Bush, has let me know that his stunning book of photographs of Kate throughout her career, Kate: Inside the Rainbow has been reprinted by Little, Brown and made available again on Amazon and other sites. This is great news for anyone put off by the ever-increasing prices the book was being sold for on the used book market the last couple of years. Order here from Amazon UK or to support local bookshops in the UK visit https://uk.bookshop.org

Kate: Inside the Rainbow includes outtakes from classic album shoots and never-before-seen photographs from sessions including The Dreaming and Hounds of Love, as well as rare candid studio shots and behind-the-scenes stills from video sets, including ‘Army Dreamers’ and ‘Running Up that Hill’.
These stunning images are accompanied by two new essays by John: ‘From Cathy to Kate’, describing in vibrant detail their shared childhood and the early, whirlwind days of Kate’s career, and ‘Chasing the Shot’, which vividly evokes John’s experience of photographing his sister. Kate personally helped John to choose the final selection of shots. A limited signed boxed edition of 500 copies with three fine-art prints sold out rapidly when the book was first released in October 2015.

Preston Heyman interview exclusive in new podcast episode!

In this new episode of the Kate Bush Fan Podcast, Bush Telegraph (Darrell and Paul) talk all things ‘Sat In Your Lap’ as they celebrate its 40th anniversary! They reveal an exclusive interview with Preston Heyman, who played the iconic drum pattern on the single. Preston is a brilliant and revered drummer in the music industry, and here we get to hear how he collaborated with Kate on this special and unique song. ‘Sat In Your Lap’ would catapult Kate into the progressive singer/songwriter that we know and love today, and this interview shows how incredible and special her approach was. As book-ends to the interview, Bush Telegraph reminisce about the day it came out, when they rushed to the record shop to see what the cover looked like and listening to the single and B-side ‘The Lord Of The Reedy River’ on the turntable for the first time. They also talk about the demo, the Roundtable radio reviews, and a whole lot more!

You can subscribe to the Kate Bush Fan Podcast on iTunes or on any podcast app you happen to use, such as Stitcher or Tunein or listen below on Soundcloud.

New Podcast Episode – Kate in Japan, 1978!

Kate Bush Japanese Them Heavy People sleeve

In a brand new episode of the Kate Bush Fan Podcast, Seán explores Kate’s one and only promotional trip to Japan in June 1978. A highly memorable two-week schedule in which Kate performed in a song contest in front of 35 million viewers, sang many songs on another Japanese variety show, charmed the Japanese media and even shot an ad campaign for Seiko watches! And Kate sang a LOT of songs by The Beatles. With many thanks to Sozo Yamamoto (who has provided the Japanese translation of this site for 20 years!) and also to Hideaki Nishihara for his valuable help and insights.

You can subscribe to the Kate Bush Fan Podcast on iTunes or on any podcast app you happen to use, such as Stitcher or Tunein or listen below on Soundcloud.

Kate in Japan (collage)

Kate on cover of German Rolling Stone!

Kate on cover of Rolling Stone Germany
Kate and Peter Gabriel covers - German Rolling Stone

The June 2021 issue of the German edition of Rolling Stone is billed as a “big 80s special” with two versions of the front cover featuring Kate and Peter Gabriel respectively. Order the Kate cover here.

Kate Bush article in June 2021 German Rolling Stone

The magazine features include “Kate Bush and her triumph with “Hounds Of Love”, Peter Gabriel – from Prog to Pop with “So”, Noel Gallagher in an RS interview, 50 years of “Blue” by Joni Mitchell and articles about Ashe, Liz Phair, Garbage and Van Morrison.”

New Classic Pop magazine looks at Kate’s albums

Classic Pop issue 69 May/June 2021

The new May/June 2021 issue of Classic Pop magazine in the UK (Gary Numan cover) has a 4-page Album-by-Album feature exploring Kate’s recorded work. Buy a single issue of the magazine direct from them and get it delivered to your door: bit.ly/2Rav5pa Also available from selected WH Smith High Street, WH Smith Travel, Easons, Tesco and McColls stores in the UK and Ireland.

‘Finding Kate’ project now funded. Last chance to be named in the book!

Double page spread from ‘Finding Kate’ on the song The Sensual World (1989)
Finding Kate – out December 2021

It’s been fascinating seeing an ambitious project like this come together and become a considerable success! It is now 100% funded and will now definitely be produced with a publication date of December 2021. Michael and Marius have shared two more spreads from Finding Kate with us exclusively to illustrate what the inside of the book will look like. To recap: A pair of creative collaborators from Ireland, Michael Byrne and Marius Herbert, have launched a Kickstarter campaign to realise their goal of publishing a rather unique and beautiful book which “visually and textually celebrates the genius and the music of Kate”.

There are still two weeks left, as with book crowdfunding campaigns of this sort, to avail of rewards including having your name printed inside the book as a funder, all details on how to do that are here but these rewards are only available for the next 14 days.

A 1985-1989 divider section of the book themed on The Ninth Wave
Two page spread about the song Wild Man (2010)
A 1993-2005 divider section of the book themed on Aerial

Kate joins campaign to change the UK music industry

Kate, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks

Kate has added her name to a new campaign #BROKENRECORD organised by the Musicians Union’ in the UK calling for changes in the music industry, including equitable remuneration to support the next generation of artists. It takes the form of a letter to the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The signatories, over 150 in total, include Kate, Damon Albarn, Joan Armatrading, Billy Bragg, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Annie Lennox, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Robert Plant, Robert Smith, Sting and many more. Full text of the letter below. (thanks to Pekka for letting us know)

Kate donates signed items to cancer charity auction!

Kate Bush Signed Remastered in Vinyl box set

Kate has donated six newly signed items to a cancer charity auction. She has signed one each of the Remastered in Vinyl box sets plus a copy of the How To Be Invisible book and a 50 Words for Snow CD. There’s also a Red Shoes promo box that has been donated by an ex EMI Marketing Director and a copy of the 2011 50 Words for Snow vinyl.

Kate Bush Signed Remastered in Vinyl box set

Cabaret vs Cancer is a small independent charity that works to raise money to support people living with the effects of cancer, especially children who have lost someone. Our very own Dave Cross has been an ambassador for the charity for two years now and has put together this, their first music charity auction. The auction also includes very special signed items from Kylie Minogue and Kim Wilde, plus other items from Elton John, U2, Steps, Iron Maiden and lots more. The auction is live now and will be open until Sunday 25th April – you can start bidding here! Well done, Dave, fantastic work on this!

Kate’s Wild Man added to England’s primary school music curriculum!

In England, an expert panel of musical specialists have chosen Wild Man, Kate’s lead single from her 2011 50 Words for Snow album, to be included in a new list of 37 musical works that every primary school child (ages 5-11) should listen to. Ed Watkins, director of music at the West London Free School, who sat on the panel, said: “The list we have ended up with has music from the major world traditions, traces the history of popular music and celebrates British and European art music.” As well as works from ‘the Western Classical tradition’ – including Mozart’s Rondo all Turca, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Mussorgsky’s Night on a Bare Mountain, the list also features music from major world traditions including Brazilian Samba, Bhangra from Punjab and Argentinian Tango, as well as English folk sea shanties.

Pop songs on the list include Hound Dog by Elvis Presley, With a Little Help from My Friends by The Beatles, and Say My Name by Destiny’s Child. Kate’s Wild Man is categorised as “Art Pop”. Wild Man tells the story of sightings of the Yeti in the wilds of the Himalayas, and of the efforts by the narrator and others to protect him from discovery. “It is meant to be an empathetic view of a creature of great mystery really”, Kate said.

The Model Music Curriculum document explains how the song can be explored in the classroom: “From Bush’s acclaimed 50 Words for Snow, Wild Man tells of the sightings of the mythical Yeti in the Himalayas and of efforts to hide and protect him. The use of sound effects, riffs and spoken words will all be points to bring out as well as getting to grips with the words and imagery before/while listening to the music.”

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said: “Music is a hugely important part of most people’s lives. This is especially true during the lockdown period, in which music has been used to inspire, soothe and energise us. “A rich variety of music should be part of the daily life of every school. We want all schools to have a rigorous and broad music curriculum, that inspires their pupils to love music, and stands alongside high levels of academic attainment.”

Mr Gibb said it was important that academic catch-up was balanced with “music, sport and arts” for children’s wider development. “After the most difficult of years, it’s time for a musical renaissance across England’s schools and I hope this will inspire a new generation of musicians,” he added. In primary school, teaching will focus on giving children the opportunity to listen to a range of style and sounds to broaden pupils’ musical horizons and encourage them to be open minded.

A feature in the i newspaper had images of the full list of 37 pieces:

Rod McKie – RIP

Rod McKie

A Kate Bush fan, well known online to so many, has very sadly left us. Rod McKie (who sometimes went by Roderick) was hospitalised with a serious brain haemorrhage in the last couple of weeks and today his wife, Lis, let us know that he has passed away. Rod was an accomplished newspaper and magazine cartoonist by profession. He was an endlessly engaging, considerate and insightful online friend to so many of us – his fellow Kate Bush fans. He’ll be sorely missed.

Rod was a terrific writer and he published a superb blog post in October 2014 that must surely rank among the greatest pieces written about Kate’s Before the Dawn shows – please do read it here. It will give you a chance to get to know Rod a little. Seán (with Rod’s permission) used several excellent extracts from this article when he put together his Before the Dawn podcast series – Rod just nailed it.

The world is great, life is great. Kate Bush is smiling at us, God is in his Heaven, and all is right with the world. Strangers are smiling at one another, and patting one another’s backs, as we shuffle out of the venue. It strikes me that Kate Bush has encouraged in her audience, love, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity – those boundless states.

Rod Mckie, 2014

Sending Lis and all Rod’s family and friends our deepest sympathy. x

Remembering John Beaumont, Kate Bush fan

John Beaumont pictured up on Glastonbury Tor – photo by Geoff Boswell

It was sad to hear about the passing of Kate Bush fan and very familiar name, John Beaumont, just recently. Our friend Sky Boswell has written a lovely piece remembering her friend – thanks, Sky. Keeping John’s family and loved ones in our thoughts.

“It was with great sadness that I received news about the passing of my dear friend and fellow Kate Bush fan, John Beaumont, on Saturday 13 March.  He was 84 years young.  John had been poorly following a fall last November that resulted in a broken leg.  Fed up with the COVID restrictions, he’d popped out for a breath of fresh air and a short stroll.  He ended up at Leeds Infirmary.  It was while John was in hospital recovering from the break that other issues were discovered. 

John was a regular contributor to HomeGround magazine, and attended many fan events throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including the Wuthering Hikes at Haworth and the Glastonbury gatherings to celebrate Kate’s birthday.  He was born in 1937 so was one of the contingent of older Kate fans.  He fell off the radar somewhat at the start of the computer age; he wasn’t interested in embracing IT so had no internet presence.  However, he was an enthusiastic and regular correspondent and kept in touch with many of his friends that way.  Each letter was beautifully hand-written, full of news, facts and recollections and, of course, John’s unique brand of humour!  Sometimes I received as many as two letters in a week.  He also liked to call friends for a good long natter.

John was a very witty and observant man and he loved music, being a great fan of the radio and embracing many genres of music.  He was knowledgeable about films, too, especially Hammer Horror movies.  Actress Ingrid Pitt was a favourite of his, he wrote to her regularly and attended several of her birthday parties.  He was a fun loving man: energetic, enthusiastic about life, and always interested in meeting new people.  His greatest love and hobby was steam engines – there is absolutely nothing you could teach John about this subject because he had studied it for much of his life, had his own model railway, regularly visited collectors’ fairs, and was a great source of information to other enthusiasts.  Although he gave up driving a car a few years ago he still enjoyed railway journeys.  Before retiring he’d been a bus driver for many years and could recount many an amusing tale about his days on the buses!  Transport was important to John – it got him to so many of the places he wanted to explore, but he also loved the way vehicles worked.

In 2015 John came twice to the Black Bull public house in Haworth to see me perform my Kate Bush tribute, once in the spring and again at Halloween.  He didn’t say much afterwards – that was John’s way – but one lady thought he was my Dad because, she said, he looked so proud of me while I was performing.  In 2016 and 2017 there were big changes happening in my life so my proposed travel to Yorkshire was postponed.  I was booked for the Haworth Festival in summer 2018, and planned to spend time with John then, but Fate stepped in once more and a particularly nasty bout of laryngitis followed by post-viral fatigue meant I was too unwell to travel.  I’d made firm plans to visit John and other friends in the North of England last summer – but then the pandemic happened.  I won’t now see my friend again.

John lived his life to the full.  He was proud of his family, and carried on courageously when he lost his beloved wife, Pat, a few years ago.  He had truly encyclopaedic knowledge of so much, and he never lost his spirit of adventure or his enthusiasm for life.  When he smiled after telling a joke, he twinkled like a little boy.  He was the man with the child in his eyes.”

Sky Boswell – 21 March 2021

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