Kate’s “Brontë Stone” now part of the Yorkshire landscape

Bronte Stone

Kate’s contribution to the Brontë Stones project is now available to see on one of four carved Brontë Stones in the Yorkshire landscape. Kate’s poem is inscribed on natural rock in the Ogden Kirk area of the Yorkshire moors. The letter carving was carried out by Pip Hall, and maps of the various walks to see the stones are now available at the parsonage in Haworth. Kate’s poem, dedicated to Emily Brontë, reads:

She stands outside
A book in her hands
“Her name is Cathy”, she says
“I have carried her so far, so far
Along the unmarked road from our graves
I cannot reach this window
Open it, I pray.”
But his window is a door to a lonely world
That longs to play.
Ah Emily. Come in, come in and stay.

Hikers admire Kate's Bronte Stone

Kate's rock

Kate's stone

Kate's Brontë Stone

Bronte Walk maps

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This Woman’s Work featured in The Handmaid’s Tale

Kate’s ‘This Woman’s Work‘ was used as part of the soundtrack in the Season Two opening episode of The Handmaid’s Tale on US television. Spoiler Alert for fans of that show in this article ‘The Unerring Power of ‘This Woman’s Work’ by Jen Chaney from The Vulture here.

Handmaid's Tale

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Kate to write poem as part of Brontë art installation in Yorkshire

Bronte Tribute

Kate has agreed to contribute a piece of poetry, along with poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, the Scottish makar, or national poet, Jackie Kay and the novelist Jeanette Winterson in a summer project celebrating the Brontë sisters. All four have been commissioned to write a piece of poetry or prose which will then be engraved on stones positioned over the eight-mile route between the sisters’ birthplace and the family parsonage between Thornton and Haworth. Winterson will celebrate the Brontë legacy as a whole, Duffy will celebrate Charlotte, Kay has Anne and Kate has Emily. The writers have been commissioned by Bradford literature festival, which will unveil the stones in July.

Kate says:

“I am delighted to be involved in this project. Each sister being remembered by a stone in the enigmatic landscape where they lived and worked is a striking idea. Emily only wrote the one novel – an extraordinary work of art that has truly left its mark. To be asked to write a piece for Emily’s stone is an honour and, in a way, a chance to say thank you to her.”

2018 marks 200 years since the birth of Emily Brönte and 40 years since the release of Kate’s single Wuthering Heights. The stones project may possibly be the only way Kate will be marking the 40th anniversary of her song. The other three writers are confirmed to inaugurate the stones on July 7th in Bradford by reciting their words. Read more at The Guardian here.

From the event Press Release:

BRADFORD, 26th April 2018 – Writer and musician Kate Bush, poet Carol Ann Duffy, poet and novelist Jackie Kay and novelistJeanette Winterson come together to celebrate the literary legacy of the Brontë sisters, with a new permanent multi-site public art installation set in the rugged landscape of Yorkshire, that the Brontës themselves immortalised with novels such as Jane Eyre andWuthering Heights.

Curated and delivered by Bradford Literature Festival (29 June – 8 July 2018) and originated by writer Michael Stewart, the Brontë Stones project features four new, original works of writing, engraved onto stones in different locations connecting the Brontë sisters’ birthplace in Thornton and the Brontë family parsonage, now the Brontë Parsonage Museum, at Haworth. The captivating journey along the four points, of approximately 8 miles, form what is believed to have been the route the sisters themselves often took between the two locations.

Of the four commissioned pieces, three of the works (by Kate Bush, Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay) respond to one of the Brontë Sisters (Emily, Charlotte and Anne, respectively), while the fourth (by Jeanette Winterson) responds to the Brontë legacy as a whole.

Accompanied by beautiful, hand drawn maps, created by Yorkshire cartographer Christopher Goddard, the stones take visitors on a journey in the footsteps of these extraordinary Yorkshire sisters, whose novels are recognised worldwide as some of the greatest works of literature to emerge from the 19th century. The project will leave a permanent memorial in the landscape that homed and fueled the imagination of these ground-breaking writers.

The Brontë Stones will be inaugurated this year, the bicentenary of Emily Brontë, at Bradford Literature Festival in a special launch event titled The Brontë Stones: Meet the Writers. Taking place on Saturday 7 July at Bradford’s historic Midland Hotel, writer’s Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay and Jeanette Winterson will be in attendance, presenting the first official readings of their new work. On Sunday 8 JulyMichael Stewart will lead visitors on a guided walking tour In the Footsteps of the Brontës taking in each of the four stones for the first time. Tickets for both the launch and walk are now on public sale at www.bradfordlitfest.co.uk.

Following its inauguration at this year’s festival, the walk remains for members of the public to undertake for generations to come. As a legacy project, future plans include the development of a mobile app providing a personal, guided experience of the Brontë Stones walk.

This project has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England and sponsorship from Provident Financial Group PLC.

Kate Bush said, about Emily Bronte:

“I am delighted to be involved in this project. Each sister being remembered by a stone in the enigmatic landscape where they lived and worked is a striking idea. Emily only wrote the one novel – an extraordinary work of art that has truly left its mark. To be asked to write a piece for Emily’s stone is an honour and, in a way, a chance to say thank you to her.”

Jackie Kay said, about Anne Brontë:

“It’s been a real pleasure working on the Brontë Stones project. The Brontës are part of the literary landscape of this country. The stones are exciting in that they will make the past new again, opening up along the way new paths for different readers to follow.  I particularly loved writing about Anne – she’s the most underrated writer in the family, the pioneer about whom people know the least. I liked the challenge of writing a hidden poem within the poem on the stone and working with the artist to try and achieve that effect.”

Jeanette Winterson said, about the Brontës:

“When I was growing up in Lancashire and roaming the hills in the rain, and feeling both passionate and misunderstood (like all teenagers, well, maybe some have better weather), I read the Brontës and felt their spirit stand by me. For me, reading is about connection – and connection that works across time too. Good books live in the present, regardless of when they were written. The Brontës showed me that hearts beat like mine, that the struggle to know who you are happens across time and generations, and gender. They showed me that writing needs the power of the personal behind it – but that somehow the story one person tells has to become a story many people can claim as their own. And the Brontës are women. As a woman I needed those ancestors, those guides. I still do.”

Syima Aslam, director of Bradford Literature Festival, said:

“It has been a huge privilege to curate and deliver the Brontës Stones project as part of the Festival this year. The Brontës are an integral part of the literary landscape of Bradford, and the inspiration for our annual Bronte Heritage strand of events. It is therefore an honour for Bradford Literature Festival to bring the legacy of the extraordinary Bronte sisters to life in this exciting new way. It’s a matter of great pride for us that the Stones will stand in some of the most beautiful places in the county, bearing these moving, mysterious and playful literary works, that the public can enjoy for years to come.”

Other events related to the Brontës taking place at Bradford Literature Festival 2018 include:

  • An event co-programmed with the Brontë Parsonage Museum focusing on Ann Bronte.
  • A panel discussion on whether Emily Brontë was a heretic or a mystic.
  • A panel discussion focusing on the Gothic elements in the work of Emily Brontë.
  • A panel discussion on alternative readings of Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights.

Michael Stewart, project originator said:

“I first conceived of the Brontë Stones project in October 2013. I live in Thornton and have long wanted my village to receive recognition for its place in the Brontë story. All three literary sisters and their wayward brother were born here. They were a happy family, but very shortly, after their move to Haworth in 1820, tragedy struck. First the death of their mother, then the two oldest siblings. I was also aware that Anne Brontë was buried in Scarborough many miles from the rest of her family and I wanted a stone to mark her return. It’s fantastic to see the project come to fruition.”

Kitty Wright, Executive Director of the Brontë Society said:

“We are thrilled to be playing a part in this exciting project and are delighted that the Anne Stone will be situated in the grounds of the Parsonage, where Anne spent almost all of her life.  Haworth and the Yorkshire landscape are of immense significance to the Brontë story and we are sure local residents and visitors will enjoy making their way along the Brontë Stone trail for years to come. We look forward to building on our partnership with Bradford Literature Festival as together we continue to celebrate the legacy of Anne and her sisters.”

Bradford Literature Festival, in association with Provident Financial Group, takes place 29 June – 8 July 2018View the full programme at www.bradfordliteraturefestival.co.uk. Booking is open now online or via 01274 238525.

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Kate Bush nights happening in Melbourne, Australia and Manchester, UK in June


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.

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KT Bush Band gig and Rachel Sinnetta & Rubber Band tour updates

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 hereKT Bush Band 2018

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.

Rachel Sinnetta dates dates

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Hello Earth featured in Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

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.

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Baby Bushka from San Diego tour UK and Ireland, autumn 2018

Baby Bushka

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.

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Legendary piper who famously worked with Kate, Liam O’Flynn, has died

Liam O'Flynn

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.

Liam O'Flynn

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.

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.

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Del Palmer to join The Kate Bush Song Book on tour in Ireland in October!

Kate Bush Song Book Irish Tour

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!”

Dates include:

KilkennyThe Set Theatre – Wednesday 17th
Limerick – Dolans – Friday 19th [Tickets]
GalwayMonroe’s Live – Saturday 20th
Dublin – The Sugar Club – Wednesday 24th [Tickets]
BelfastThe Belfast Empire – Thursday 25th
Cardiff – Acapela – Saturday 27th [Tickets]

Look for more updates at: The Cloudbusting website

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Del Palmer plays Kate Bush songs live for the first time in decades at 40th anniversary concert!

Cloudbusting at Islington

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, BreathingNight 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

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 PhenomenaKite 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

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 ItOh 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.

Del Palmer in Islington

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

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.

Sean at The Kick Inside canvas

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.

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The Kick Inside is 40 years old today! The story behind the iconic “kite” cover artwork

The Kick Inside

“…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.

The Kick Inside international covers

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:

Jay Myrdal

Jay Myrdal

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.

Jay Myrdal photo 2

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.

Jiminy Cricket in Pinnochio

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.

Jay Myrdal photo 3Again… 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 kite concept

Del Palmer’s original concept sketches for his flying man kite illustration

Del Palmer Kite symbol

Del Palmer - Kite detail

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.

Wuthering Heights single cover

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!

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Australian radio broadcasts two-hour 40th Anniversary special on Kate!

Double J Radio Illustration by Katherine Brickman

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.”

They write:

“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.”

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Classic Pop 40th Anniversary Magazine Special features Katebushnews.com!

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.

Kate Bush News in Classic Pop

Kate Bush Special - Classic Pop

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Kate Bush UK tribute shows in 2018 so far – a round up!

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!

KT Bush Band

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:


Cloudbusting 2018 dates

Them Heavy People are an established KB tribute band that you should be aware of, check out their next gig on 13th July in Shrewesbury or see loads more about this hard working band at their site here: https://www.themheavypeoplekatebushtribute.com/

Them Heavy People

Them Heavy People

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

Rachel Sinetta KB tribute

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.

The Kick Inside Tribute

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.

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Classic Rock Magazine features Kate on one of 5 covers this month

UK magazine Classic Rock features Kate on one of five collectable covers featuring “Rock’s First Ladies” – a 4-page article on Kate is included. You can order the magazine online here.

Classic Rock Magazine

Classic Rock - 5 covers

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