Two events we’ve heard about happening in June this year. In Melbourne, Australia on 9th June, a Kate Bush event takes place at The Corner Hotel, Richmond: “Performed by: Routines, Ms45, Cynthia Gallie, Lack the Low, Lucy Dwyer, Lisa Crawley, Jules Sheldon & Laura Davidson. The debut album by Kate Bush ‘The Kick Inside’ featuring the hit song Wuthering Heights turned 40 this year. A long list of local Melbourne musicians are throwing a massive Kate Bush party at the wonderful Corner Hotel Saturday June 9th. The night will feature various singers backed by a full house band, including two keyboardists bringing the songs of Kate Bush to life – performing tracks off The Kick Inside plus hits from other records including Never for Ever, The Dreaming Hounds of Love plus lots more. Dress up and come along and celebrate everything Kate Bush!” More at this site here.
And, in Manchester, UK on June 14th we have Kate Bush: An Appreciation described as “an Evening celebrating the ethereal magic of one of Britain’s best loved musical goddesses. Local musicians will perform a grand selection of hits and rarities from the delightful back catalogue of Kate Bush. Expect a wonderful dreamlike evening!” More at the Facebook event page here.
Vic King has been in touch to let me know that the KT Bush Band (which also features Brian Bath) play St James Church, Weybridge, Surrey on Saturday 14th April. All info and ticket links on their site here.
Also here is the full list of dates for “Wuthering Heights – The Music of Kate Bush featuring Rachel Sinnetta and her Rubber Band” or visit their Facebook page here. This tour kicks off on 25th April in Malvern and continues right around the UK into June.
A section of Kate’s Hello Earth (not sung by Kate) and an extended instrumental version of the song was played during today’s opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia.
The famous Australian actor, Jack Thompson, stands in the middle of the arena, holding a small illuminated globe, sharing a message of unity as the instrumental music of Hello Earth soundtracks his narration.
Home. That’s where we live. From here, you can’t see any borders. No barriers built to divide us, no people on different sides. All that we are, and have been, and can be, all that we value, all that we love, all our memories and stories, our hopes and our dreams, the best, and the worst, of us – is here, on that tiny grain of rock. From here there’s no sound of our quarrels, no voices in conflict, no people at war. From here it seems, we’re all the same, not drifting apart, but all connected. No sign of ‘Other’ – only Sister and Brother. No ‘You’, or ‘Me’ – just ‘We’. From here, all that we see is all that we share: Shining, fragile, awesome… …our island home in a cosmic sea.
The globe is placed in sand, nesting like a turtle’s egg, before exploding out to reveal a pretty awesome shifting visualisation of the earth.
As we’ve seen recently, the number of Kate Bush tribute acts actively doing shows is increasing, and more importantly, diversifying – each bringing their own take on Kate’s music to a live crowd. One of the only US based acts we’ve heard from, Baby Bushka, “filled with 4 part harmonies and epic choreographed dancing”, are visiting the UK and Ireland this autumn.
Baby Bushka are an all female 8 piece Kate Bush Tribute Band based in San Diego. Although new to the scene they have already sold out their first two shows in San Diego and are planning more and more. The 29th and 30th of September sees them play Moth Club in Hackney, London. Tickets and info are here. They also play The Button Factory, Dublin on October 12th – details here.
Natasha from the band tells us: “Kate Bush means the world to us and sharing the beauty, joy and genius of her music with old and new fans in a fun and fresh live show is what we love to do.” Read more about Baby Bushka at their Facebook page or their official site.
We were very sad to hear that the legendary Irish uilleann piper, and founding member of Planxty, Liam O’Flynn, has died at the age of 72. He was regarded as a master piper and a global ambassador for traditional Irish music. His impact in the Irish traditional music world was immense and his performances on Kate’s songs Night Of The Swallow, Jig Of Life, and Hello Earth are simply unforgettable. Liam had been ill for some time. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
From the Kate Bush Encyclopedia site: “Liam O’Flynn was born as Liam Ó Floinn on 15 April 1945 in Kill, County Kildare. His father was a teacher and fiddle player. His mother, who came from a family of musicians from Clare, played and taught piano. From an early age, O’Flynn showed musical talent, and was encouraged to pursue his interest in the uilleann pipes by the piper Tom Armstrong. At the age of 11, he began taking classes with Leo Rowsome. He was also influenced by Willie Clancy and Séamus Ennis. In the 1960s, he began to receive recognition of his talent, winning prizes at the Oireachtas Festival and the Fleadh Cheoil.
In 1972, O’Flynn co-founded the Irish traditional music group Planxty with Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Christy Moore, and remained a member throughout the band’s various incarnations. While Seán Ó Riada and The Chieftains had reinvigorated Irish traditional instrumental music in an ensemble format during the 1960s, Planxty built on that foundation and took it one step further. They brought a punch and vitality to acoustic music that drew heavily on O’Flynn’s piping virtuosity.
Following the break-up of Planxty in 1983, O’Flynn found work as a session musician with such prominent artists as the Everly Brothers, Enya, Kate Bush, Nigel Kennedy, Rita Connolly, and Mark Knopfler. He played the uilleann pipes on Kate’s songs Night Of The Swallow (on which he also played penny whistle), Jig Of Life, and Hello Earth. He also worked on film scores, including Kidnapped (1979) and A River Runs Through It (1992). He was adventurous enough to work with avant-garde composer John Cage, but his most natural alliance was with neo-romantic composer Shaun Davey on the classic albums “Granuaile” and “The Brendan Voyage”.
The Bothy Band were natural successors to the original Planxty, and one of its members, Matt Molloy, who subsequently joined The Chieftains, played with The Chieftains’ fiddler Seán Keane on O’Flynn’s album, ‘The Piper’s Call’, which was performed in the 1999 Proms season at the Royal Albert Hall. He also worked on projects with Seamus Heaney, mixing poetry with music.”
Planxty performing in the 1970s (L-R) Donal Lunny, Liam O’Flynn, Andy Irvine and Christy Moore.
Chair of the Irish Arts Council Sheila Pratschke said today: “Liam O’Flynn has left behind him an incredible legacy of music through his recordings, his careful support of other musicians and artists and his dedication to transmission of the great heritage of Irish music to future generations.”
Here’s Night of the Swallow to listen to, hands down one of the most unforgettable musical appearances ever on a Kate Bush track, and also a thrilling piece of playing from Liam on the delightful track, The Queen of the Rushes, by Planxty.
More exciting news from Del Palmer and the folks from the band Cloudbusting. Here’s the announcement from them:
“Cloudbusting’s Mandy and Michael are soon to find out what it’s like touring the greatest music in the world around one of the most beautiful countries in the world alongside one of the greatest bass players in the world!
Kate’s bass player and studio engineer DEL PALMER is joining The Kate Bush Song Book for some special dates across Ireland this October. The very same guy who created the bass lines on All The Love, The Sensual World, Kashka From Baghdad and so many others is going to perform them live, in many cases for the first time ever, with Mandy on vocals and Michael on piano.
In Del’s own words,
‘I wanted to celebrate 40 years of Kate’s music by working on some of her lesser-known songs with Mandy and Michael. Songs that some of my heroes and great friends contributed memorable bass parts to. Songs we worked so hard on in the studio to create complex arrangements also work so well in this simpler, more intimate setting.’
The Kate Bush Song Book is a chance for us to explore those favourites we wouldn’t naturally perform with the whole band, with arrangements ‘reimagined’ as Kate might have conceived them on the piano. And with Del there we might learn something about these much-loved songs that’s new to all of us!”
Some events just end up feeling quite historic, and this was one of them. Cloudbusting created a spectacular show in London on Saturday night. The entirety of The Kick Inside was performed in album sequence to mark the exact 40th anniversary date of the record’s release (February 17th 1978). A sold-out crowd of 1,000 fans thronged into the Islington Assembly Hall and were wowed by a richly conceived, musically accomplished and tastefully staged show which cleverly but subtly echoed the structure of Kate’s Before the Dawn concerts.
The first act featured superb versions of songs like Love and Anger, Breathing, Night of the Swallow and Running up that Hill. It built up to a thunderous King of the Mountain before the stage was cleared and a projected filmed interview of Del Palmer, with photos of Kate from her early career, ushered in “side one” of The Kick Inside.
Mandy Watson on stage in Islington – photo by Paul Thomas
Throughout, singer Mandy Watson brought a searing authenticity to her vocals, never attempting to parody Kate’s voice. The result is a performance from her that is consistently sensational. Mandy always addresses the audience as herself, a singer, never pretending to be Kate, just a genuine fan of this music wanting to do it justice. She deserves special praise for taking on the sheer array of Kate’s most elaborate songs which the band had woven into this show, and making it seem effortless. Mandy was joined by backing vocalists Julia Krajewska (also on secondary keyboards), and Nadie Keating – their spot-on delivery enhanced and complemented each song terrifically well.
Moving had background projections of Lindsay Kemp in performance while The Saxophone Song featured sublime saxophone accompaniment from Vicky Cowles. After a suitably dramatic Strange Phenomena, Kite featured surprise guest drummer Preston Heyman who of course had played on the Tour of Life, and on the albums Never For Ever and The Dreaming. The crowd warmly cheered Preston’s arrival on stage. The Man with the Child in his Eyes added the Brilliant Strings quartet to the stage and also a very moving dance performance by none other than Kate’s longtime dancer and choreographer Stewart Avon Arnold, performing with his dance partner, Tori Wood-Ives. Stewart took his bow to an audience clearly thrilled to see him dance to Kate Bush music once more. Wuthering Heights closed out “side one”, ending with a sea of waving arms throughout the crowd. There were even bigger surprises to come for “side two”.
Stewart Avon Arnold and dance partner Tori Wood-Ives – photo by Paul Thomas
After the break, back projections from spaghetti westerns announced the arrival of James and the Cold Gun which was followed by a stirring Feel It. Oh to Be in Love reminded you how rare it is to hear these songs performed in a live setting, especially as this was the lone track from Kate’s debut record not to make her 1979 shows. The opening lines of L’Amour Looks Something Like You played out:
“…you came out of the night, wearing a mask in white colour…”
Sure enough, a mysterious black costumed figure in dark wig and white mask had arrived at the front of the stage and, after theatrically bowing and throwing an arc of glitter, proceeded to play bass guitar with the band on the song. Mandy then unmasked the stranger to reveal DEL PALMER himself! This sent the venue into ecstatic uproar – Del has famously not performed any incarnation of Kate’s music in a live setting for decades now, but he has made an exception after being wowed by the enthusiasm and hard work of the Cloudbusting team.
A masked Del Palmer plays bass in Islington Assembly Hall – photo by Stacey Howard
Del also played on Them Heavy People, joined once again by Preston Heyman – a Tour of Life reunion! Legendary drummer Stuart Elliott was in the audience and received a huge round of applause when Del pointed out the only person in the room who had actually played on The Kick Inside! With Room for the Life and the string-accompanied take on The Kick Inside, the band completed their superb tribute to Kate’s first record.
Del Palmer and Preston Heyman on stage in Islington – photo by Paul Thomas
And incredibly, the music just continued with Wow, the song summing up most attendee’s feelings on what they’d just witnessed. Sat in Your Lap featured Preston Heyman’s stunning drums from the original track – it was a real highlight of the evening to watch him play. A powerhouse version of Aerial, the ever-thrilling Hounds of Love and Babooshka, and a gorgeous Moments of Pleasure lead up to a joyous finale with Cloudbusting. Mandy thanked the audience for trusting the band with the music they cherish so much.
Outside in the foyer, fans were encouraged to write messages to Kate on a huge canvas print of The Kick Inside artwork and hundreds of notes to Kate were added to it over the course of the evening. Well done to Mandy, to Michael Mayell (keyboards and general Kate Bush mastermind!), Dave Roberts on bass, Chris Voysey on guitars, Adam Aggiss on drums with visuals and production design by Nick Gregory. Outstanding all.
Seán Twomey from katebushnews.com at the signed canvas of The Kick Inside artwork
Update: Due to the overwhelming success of the show, a repeat performance will be held on March 21st in Wolverhampton. See the Facebook event page here. The band will again be joined by two backing vocalists, string quartet and a saxophonist with hopefully some of the other very special guests that joined them in attendance.
“…and then I find it out, when I take a good look up. There’s a hole in the sky, with a big eyeball, calling me….come up and be a kite, and fly a diamond night…”
The Kick Inside, Kate’s stunning debut album, was released on February 17th 1978 – exactly 40 years ago today! Kate was just 19 years old and her single Wuthering Heights was already on its way to becoming a global hit. Two of the songs had been executively produced by David Gilmour at AIR Studios London in 1975 (Saxophone Song and The Man with the Child in His Eyes) but the bulk of the recordings took place in July/August 1977 at the same studios, produced by Andrew Powell. The album went on to reach number 3 in the UK album chart and went Top Ten in many countries around the world.
On a personal level (and this is Seán here), this was the first ever Kate Bush record I truly connected with. At a particularly traumatic and low time in my teen years I found myself in my bedroom, distraught and feeling utterly empty and useless. I was lost. I was in a very bad way. And yet, instinctively, I firstly feared that my family downstairs would hear my loud, sobbing, grief. It’s terrible to think that it was my own loving family, the ones who would have comforted me through anything, who were the ones I felt I needed to hide this aberrant disruption from. To muffle the sounds of my crying, I threw the needle on the record of whatever vinyl album my older brother, Allen (with whom I shared a bedroom) happened to be listening to. It was The Kick Inside as it turns out. The track I popped the needle down on was “Them Heavy People”. I played it loud.
I’m so glad to say that it managed to pierce the fog of my lonely despair…instantly. Kate’s voice seemed to reach out of the record player and take me gently by the hand into a new, utterly different circumstance. A new way of appreciating life. “Them heavy people hit me in a soft spot…them heavy people, help me…” For a bullied teenager reaching the absolute limit of his perseverance, it was an extraordinary revelation. Music literally changed the course of my entire life then. It changed my outlook, it changed everything…and as luck would have it, Kate Bush’s music was the thing that saved me. From my point of view, The Kick Inside isn’t just a debut artist’s lucky one-off that lead to greater things down the line. It is in itself an astounding, life changing masterpiece. The wisdom contained on the grooves of that vinyl is immense.
International cover variants of The Kick Inside
But apart from my own attachments to the album, today I wanted to publish an article on that very special album cover art, that beautiful thing we all held and relished in our hands back then, in particular. In the UK and many other territories the album’s cover artwork features a photograph of Kate, clinging to a large painted dragon kite, gliding across a vast, all-seeing eye. I am very grateful to the lovely Lisa Oliver for sharing the following with us, an account of that iconic session, written by the photographer, Jay Myrdal. This piece was originally included in a souvenir booklet for a Kate Bush fan event that Lisa organised in recent years. Jay writes:
It must be remembered that when I shot the photographs of Kate for her first album, ‘The Kick Inside’, no one had heard of her before. She was very young and even EMI didn’t expect her first album to be anything more than a minor success. While the record company were confident that she was indeed a considerable talent, they were as surprised as anyone when she topped the charts. I had listened to the tape of Wuthering Heights before the shoot and my recollection was that, while it was interesting, I thought she had a rather shrill voice and I did not expect it to do very well.
What do I know?
Kate arrived at the studio with her father and a car full of bits of wood and painted paper from which he constructed the kite as it appears in the photograph. I rigged the rather fragile kite on the black painted wall of my studio with ropes and a metal bar which was strong enough for her to hang from.
An outtake showing the metal bar and ropes that were constructed for the shot.
In the meantime Kate was in the back room with a makeup girl being covered in gold body paint. The image was entirely Kate’s idea and Steve Ridgeway, the art director and I simply did more or less as we were told. The idea had come from the Disney animated film ‘Pinocchio’ and the scene when Jiminy Cricket floats past the whale’s eye using his umbrella like a parachute.
Still from Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio” (1940)
The shoot went well of course but I had never been fully briefed on just how it would be used. I had been instructed to shoot it on black which was how it appeared on the single. Used that way, it worked just fine. Unfortunately, when it was composited against the light yellow background of the eye, the dark shadows around her legs and on the bottom of the kite didn’t work for me. In spite of it being probably the most famous record cover I ever shot, I never used it in my portfolio, feeling that this technical problem was an embarrassment to a perfectionist like myself.
Again… What do I know?
Kate returned to my studio a few times after the shoot, once to collect the kite and a few more times just to say hello. Shortly after her record was released I held one of my well known studio parties and invited Kate but sadly by that time she was far too famous and busy to attend although she did send her apologies via the record company… (sigh!) – Jay Myrdal FRPS
The kite theme was continued on the back cover with an illustration of a man on a kite by Del Palmer set against a dusky, grainy sky photographed by John Carder Bush. This illustration would ultimately feature the first appearance of the KT symbol hidden on Kate’s album artwork – a tradition she has continued on every album release to this day. If you look closely you’ll also see that Del included a pictogram of his name, “DEL”, on the kite’s right wing! Del recently posted some of his early concept sketches for this to his official Facebook page dating from September 1977:
Del Palmer’s original concept sketches for his flying man kite illustration
A detail from the back cover of The Kick Inside (1978)
A variant of the kite image of Kate from this shoot was used on the Wuthering Heights single cover in the UK and in most European countries – released on January 20th 1978 – with the song “Kite” itself being the single’s b-side around the world.
And finally, a reproduction of the famous paper kite was used as the backdrop for Kate’s lip-synched performance of Wuthering Heights in the summer of 1978 at Festivalbar at Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheater in Verona, Italy. We particularly enjoy those stern costumed characters guarding the kite while Kate sings!
Australian digital radio station, Double J, has today broadcast a 2-hour 40 Year special on Kate! Read much more on their site and listen to the programme stream, hosted by Gemma Pike, at their site here. A rare Australian TV interview clip from 1980 is also included on their Facebook page:
In the lengthy accompanying article, we get a mention: “The katebushnews.com forum is one of the nicest places you could ever visit, despite being on the internet and popular, with 441,000 posts. Although it’s hard to tell, members appear to be mostly English, middle-aged, and deeply in love with Kate.”
“If you’re not at least fascinated by the career of Kate Bush, then you must be pretty hard to please.
This singular artist has released ten albums across a hugely sporadic career that has served as a real ‘feast or famine’ situation for her adoring fans.
Among those records are some of the most cherished, boundary-pushing, polarising and fascinating pop songs of all time. Many have tried, but no one has ever managed to release something both as strange and beautiful as ‘Wuthering Heights’, or as passionate, relatable and literate as ‘Running Up That Hill’. And that’s not even scratching the surface.
Match that with just a handful of live performances over the past four decades and there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to this esteemed artist.
Join Gemma Pike for the Kate Bush J Files, 40 years on from the release of her debut album, Thursday 15 February from 8pm AEDT.”
We’re very happy to be featured so prominently in this highly sought after Classic Pop Presents – Kate Bush 40th Anniversary Edition magazine. The HomeGround anthologies are reviewed – “packed with news, views and illustrations from an eclectic perspective, it perfectly captures her musical spirit.” Also, I am interviewed about how I got started in the KB online world and how I have kept the site going for over 20 years. Elsewhere I wrote an article, “All We Ever Look For” on the storytelling of Kate Bush, and the meanings behind some of her songs. I picked out just 8 random examples of Kate’s songs to write about in the end – not easy to choose! The Magazine, a visual feast for fans, is on sale in newsagents across the UK and Ireland now and still available to order online from Classic Pop here.
There is a lot of activity at the moment in the UK during Kate’s 40th anniversary year as regards tribute shows – with acts presenting their various takes on Kate’s music on the live stage – here’s a round up of some we’ve been told about.
The KT Bush Band, which features original members Brian Bath and Vic King, are playing a gig on Friday February 16th at the Hertford Corn Exchange. Vic tells me it will showcase “many songs from the early days plus great album songs.” All info at www.thektbushband.com Cheers, Vic!
The KT Bush Band
Cloudbusting perform at a (now sold-out) gig in Islington Assembly Hall on February 17th (exactly 40 years to the day since The Kick Inside was released) – a very exciting night, the entire album will be performed, with promises of special guests, we can’t wait. Cloudbusting have a very busy schedule for 2018, see below and read more at their Facebook page here:
Rachel Sinnetta writes to tell us about a 24-date theatre tour she is embarking on. It is called “Wuthering Heights – The Music of Kate Bush featuring Rachel Sinnetta and her Rubber Band” – you can read more at their Facebook page here. It is described as “a spectacular show for all Kate Bush enthusiasts including a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the release of Kate’s amazing debut album “The Kick Inside”. Wuthering Heights – is the ultimate salute to the widely respected and revered Kate Bush.” All tour dates in the UK in April/May and June are here
As previously mentioned, The Kick Inside tribute act, celebrating Kate’s early career with a piano-centred show, kicks off with a gig in London on February 25th. Read about that at our article here.
Jennie Abrahamson has posted a video on Facebook of herself rehearsing for two symphonic Kate Bush tribute shows in Gothenberg, Sweden on March 23rd and 24th – more on those at our previous article here.
Irish TV viewers were treated to comedian and actress Deirdre O’Kane dancing to Kate’s Wuthering Heights on RTE’s Dancing with the Stars on Sunday Night, and received glowing praise from the show’s judges. Clip is available on RTE Player here: (possibly only in Ireland, sorry!)
The winner of last night’s Best Rock Album at the Grammys, The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding, has a small Kate Bush connection. In a previous interview, Adam Granduciel from the band said: “Recently, I went to the WFMU Record Fair in New York. I was there for like two hours – I’m not on my knees – but I got some cool stuff. I got Kate Bush, The Sensual World, which I actually named my record after! She has a song called Deeper Understanding – I heard that song maybe a year ago and it totally twisted me up, and then it made its way into one of the lyrics (on the song Pain).”
“I heard it at a specific moment in time where I needed to have a little kick in the ass. I was in a weird place with the record – I felt like I was delegating all the music and not really being proactive about putting my own stamp on it,” says Granduciel.
“I listened to that song and it was all Kate Bush. The way that she was playing this one piano part, you could just tell it was played by someone really connected to the song; no one else was going to go into the room and play the part like that.
“That song was an inspiration to not forget about my own involvement in the music, and that at the end of the day it needed to be something that I was heavily connected to for it to really be something that would be worthwhile.” Congratulations to the band! Read more at the band’s official site here.
Swedish fans may like to note that the Gothenburg Symphony and guest artists Jennie Abrahamson (toured the World with Peter Gabriel) and Malin Dahlström (Niki & The Dove) will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Kate’s career. It is described as “a towering tribute with hit songs and pure poetry in special arrangements by Martin Schaub.”
Seán Twomey has been running the Kate Bush News & Information website since 1998. Peter & Krys Fitzgerald-Morris and Dave Cross are the editors of Homeground Magazine, the world's longest running Kate Bush publication, since 1982.
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Send all your comments, questions or suggestions: email@example.com (Note: This is an unofficial website and messages to Kate cannot be passed on to her). Enormous thanks to Mike Wade for being an incredibly patient and fair administrator on our forum! Huge thanks to Brian Cloughley for his enthusiasm and wonderful site artwork! Special thanks to everyone who emails the site and to Homeground magazine (for inspiration and information and for being wonderful people!) and to Wally Breese for showing how it can be done. Editorial assistance from The Duck. Thanks! Site launched: 25/1/98
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