Happy Birthday Kate Bush: Five Reasons Why She Isn’t Bigger In America

“Although hailed in her homeland as one of the most distinctive and inventive British artists of the past 30 years, appreciation for Kate Bush has been sadly elusive here in the States. Born 53 years ago today, Bush’s American following has been limited to a small core of devotees, suggesting tshe’s either simply ignored or shuffled below the radar. And yet, anyone who’s heard her many masterpieces – including her extraordinary albums Never For Ever, The Dreaming, and Hounds of Love, as well as her remarkable singles “Wuthering Heights,” “The Man with the Child in His Eyes,” “Running Up That Hill” and “Don’t Give Up” (which she sang with Peter Gabriel) — can attest to her ability to bend pop boundaries and forge a new kind of sound that’s extraordinarily imaginative and irresistibly seductive all in the same score ….”

Read the Full article by Lee Zimmerman Broward-Palm Beach New Times

About Peter

My Kate CV: Kate fan since 1978. Saw Tour of Life at the London Palladium 1979. Went to first KBC Convention 1980. Founded Homeground with Dave 1982. Worked on 1985, 1990, and 1994 Kate Bush Conventions, and the 1986 Video Party with Dave, Lisa of KBC and Krys. Appeared in videos for The Big Sky and Experiment IV. Wrote Introduction, Chronology and Discography for EMI Music Publishing's 1987 "Kate Bush Complete". Wrote the sleeve note for the remastered 1998 reissue of "Hounds of Love". Invited to write sleeve notes for other reissues which never happened. My other CV: born 1955 in Bermondsey London, educated at Galleywall Primary, Walworth Comprehensive, and London School of Economics BSc(Econ)(Hon) 1976. Currently an Officer of the Crown Court determining legal costs in crminal cases. Met Krys in 1982 through Homeground, we were engaged on Glastonbury Tor on Kate's birthday in 1983, and married in November 1984.
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16 Responses to Happy Birthday Kate Bush: Five Reasons Why She Isn’t Bigger In America

  1. Pyewacket says:

    I think it’s fair to say that the number one reason is that she simply wasn’t interested in “conquering territories” as she told MTV in 1985. She did not do the promotion here, much less a tour, and you simply need to in order to make any great inroads.

    Yes, she’s artful and a little weird, and yes, most music here in the US is very straightforward and conventional…but who knows what could’ve caught on had she decided to promote just one of her 80s albums in the US?

  2. Why doesn’t the article just simply say, “She was ahead of her time,” instead of yammering on with a whole lot of nothing.

  3. H.R. Hudson says:

    After reading why Kate Bush hasn’t been a household name in America, I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason why that is that Kate Bush is too beautiful, innovative and experimental to be ridiculed and shoved aside in the US. As a 30-year fan of Kate’s, I really think that Kate has done some really open and thought-provoking material with various keyboards and ethnic instruments that no-one else has ever done before or since. Kate Bush has taken musical chances that have paved the way for: Tori Amos, Katy Perry, Bjork, Sinead O’Connor, Enya, Lisa Gerrard and just too many to list here. Thank you, Catherine Mary “Kate” Bush for being original, progressive and saving music from itself!!

  4. Ed Kollin says:

    I am not buying the she is to British argument. We liked Squeeze very very British sound and references, and we adored Progressive Rock (the genre Bush came out of), little or nothing American about that genre, arty arty arty British folk, stories about Kashmir, literature, turning rock into opera for goodness sakes. It is lack of touring those Prog rock acts had these massive tours.

  5. Kiki says:

    It’s simple – she doesn’t tour or do promotion. Kate is as famous as she wants to be. It doesn’t really matter if she’s well-known in the U.S. or not … I just wish we could hear her music on the radio or see her on TV once in a while. Her music is a sweet relief from the corporate-churned craptasma that gets blasted at us morning noon and night.

    • Ed Kollin says:

      While it would be nice to hear her on the radio and see her on TV it is anything but a necessity in 2011. Youtube. The official channel has been launched with good quality videos and the amateurs have put up obscure videos and her many of her TV specials and interviews. I appreciate her more now because I have gotten to see all these videos I never saw back in the 1980s. And technology is getting easier to put the internet on your “real” TV

  6. ASouth says:

    Personally I didn’t enjoy the article at all. It’s basically Happy Birthday Kate, here’s a negative poorly written article why you are not big in America. What an @$$hole.

    Seriously who cares?

    The British argument is lame! The Beatles? Checkmate.

    The Amos argument is really outdated. I’m one who will say that argument has got to go. I’m sick of reading and hearing about that!

    It seems the points made were first impressions rather than diving deeper.

    Thumbs down on that article.

  7. Rod McKie says:

    I liked the article. I think there is a stereotypical (not in the pejorative) Kate Bush fan; I’d include myself as one of them. My circle of friends in the US, and Canada, is almost exclusively media types, mainly cartoonists and comic book creators, and almost everyone of them; and they are a variety of ages, is a fan of Kate Bush’s work – with more than a few crediting her music for triggering the old creative juices. However I’d agree with some of the other posts that there is a certain irony to the fact that artists who are not only clearly indebted to Kate Bush but happily admit so, are more popular in some circles than she herself is. An aquired taste, I suppose. But aren’t we the lucky ones?

  8. AlistairOliver says:

    I don’t really care whether or not she made it big in America.
    I do know that in order to be big in America you have to sell out.
    (e.g. Lets Dance or China Doll, Mr. Bowie).

    And as a female, no was was Kate going to market her self completely as tits and ass.

    But, the real question is why wasn’t she bigger in East Timor.

  9. hummm…
    weird article indeed.
    who is to say what the causes of popularity are.
    how important is it?
    i believe Vincent Van Gogh wasn’t ‘pop’ for his entire career & life.

  10. Harry Horton says:

    There is no real information on how widespread and big Kate Bush’s impact has been in the United States. I think it is much larger and wider than most people think, though I think a good deal of the impact is basically underground in nature. Over the last thirty years, her career has spanned, and simply the fact that she landed a prominent label EMI greatly accelerated her influence via their promotion in the U.S. and subsequently worldwide for that matter. Nevertheless it certainly would be interesting to know exactly how far reaching her imapct in the U.S. has been over the past three decades, but unfortunately that is information that is basically near impossible to ascertain. In another area, the following web article: “Hindsight” is set to Akron rocker Chrissie Hynde’s Music” WKSU-news source. the British rocker Chrissie HYnde on the other hand still drums up projects in the U.S. that keeps her fairly well in the spotlight here , as this article details. The historic Glendale cemetary in Akron, one of Chrissie Hynde’s childhood haunts, is the setting for her music to appear in, in this dance embellished performance. New York’s Shimotokahara’s Groundworks Dance Theatre is involved with the project that centers on the 172 year old cemetary in Akron, along with another promient choregrapher, from New York also. But in anycase I wish there was a statistical method for truly gauging Kate Bush’s impact and artistic influence in the U.S. since her career start back in 1978.

  11. davidly says:

    The number one reason Kate Bush is not “bigger in America” is the same reason she is not bigger in the UK – or anywhere else for that matter.

  12. giulio says:

    I believe Kate Bush Music touches different kinds of people,
    from all over the world.
    It’s the person who listens to the music, not the Country
    this person lives in.
    Yet, there’s something extremely English in her music, an
    English touch … almost a pastoral touch I can’t define;
    simply beautiful.
    I like to think music can win all barriers… 🙂 but…
    something inside me has always told me her music’s
    not everybody’s cup of tea… 🙂

  13. Harry Horton says:

    Where could Kate Bush be her biggest besides America? Getting wierd on the subject:.How about the star Sigma Tau in the Sagittarius constellation. The late 1970’s were famous in part for two similar developments. Kate Bush released her song in March 9,1977 called WOW. WOW would be one musical piece on her album the Whole Story. Additioanlly, in August 1977, Ohio State researchers detected the WOW signal, a totally unduplicated structured outerspace origin signal apparently coming from the star Sigma Tau in Sagittairus that could be expressive of extrraterrestrial life. The WoW singal wikipedia carries more thorough info on this phenomena. Some quotes from the wikipedia article: “Therefore both the length of the WoW! signal, 72 seconds and the shape of the intensity graph may correspond to a possible extraterrestrial origin….The circled alphanumeric code 6EQUJ5 describes the intensity variation of the signal….[Eheman] (the OSU researcher) further research showed an earthbourne signal to be very unlkikely..”end quote. Kate Bush’s WoW video opens up with a continous alternation of tones that is resemblant of a radio signal; hence this radio signal like musical progression starts the song with her also twirling on some stairs. Like a signal in outerspace

  14. Harry Horton says:

    Correction on earlier post: Kate Bush released the single Wow on March 9, 1979, not 1977. Computer battery problems created a hurried rush to send this post so didn’t get a chance to make corrections like on spelling and dates. In anycase in the video Wow, Kate Bush actually vanishes in thin air as if she is spiritually travelling through the universe or spiritual worlds; (like Nik Kershaw in the Greenback version of his song: ‘Wouldn’t it be good’, where he vanishes into thin air likewise around a countryside satellite dish that is sending ‘a beam of light signal’ for the purpose of contacting extraterrestrial stars and ailen life, whether spiritually or corpeal). Additionally Kate Bush possibly appears in bodily form at the outset of the video, appearing from thin air. She sings the word ‘unbelievable’ with the flood of lights like an array of stars in a constellation roughly appearing behind her in a grid arrangement. Who knows there could be some substance to the OSU Wow signal indigenous to Kate Bush’s song Wow. As for ‘the Wow signal’ , in more specific manner the signal came from ‘the chi sagittari ‘, which are sets of three stars in the Sagittarius constellation.

  15. Andrew S. says:

    I’ve been following this article and there’s been two responses, especially from one from Ann Powers.
    I think at first I over-reacted a bit, but now I’m calmer about about the points being made.
    I still feel the British accent argument is too hasty and very weak. Perhaps the weakest of all the five arguments. Reading it over and over again, I think there’s humor, but tea and crumpets and Kate living in a cottage with an Igor Novello award I don’t think has anything to do with Kate’s level of success in the United States.
    How do you get “Running up that Hill with no problem” with “Running up that Hill with no tea and crumpets”?

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