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
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.”
A treasure trove of amazing images surfaced for the first time over the last couple of years – the work of photographer Max Browne, who had the privilege of documenting the final three nights of Kate’s run of shows at the Hammersmith Odeon, 12th-14th May 1979, to round out her legendary Lionheart tour. Of course, she famously never performed a full show of her own again till she returned to that very same stage 35 years later in 2014.
In what he calls “a lockdown self-published special”, Max has now produced a large format hardback landscape book with dust jacket, sized 13×11″, with all proceeds beyond the cost of this edition to be donated to charities supporting the “endangered animals of our world disadvantaged by Man.” The book is titled “Three Nights in Hammersmith“. The book images, consistently stunning, are presented in performance order, as Kate sang each song. Renowned photographer Jill Furmanovsky has contributed the foreword. The book can be ordered here.
From the press release: Industry comments on the photographs: ‘ . . a new book which will showcase his incredible photographs.’ (KateBushNews) ‘ . . a revelation to many:’ (Record Collector magazine) ‘ . . the best live shots of her . .’ (Jill Furmanovsky, RockArchive) ‘This is a treasure trove!’ (Guido Harari, Wall of Sound) ‘Nice stuff Max . .’ (Del Palmer)
From the site: “This book is a photographic presentation of the last three concerts of a tour that is now regarded as one of the greatest in Rock Music history. The 250 photographs by Max Browne included here illustrate why, song by song, as Kate Bush sings, dances and role-plays her way into legend at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, in 1979.”
A pair of creative collaborators from Ireland, Michael Byrne and Marius Herbert, have today 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”. The book is titled: Finding Kate and is described as a visual celebration of the music of Kate Bush. This is an unofficial book, not associated with Kate herself, but Michael has been a long time fan and admirer of Kate’s music – I’ve seen some pieces from the book and the writing is strong, obviously written with care and from a fan’s perspective. The illustrations promise to be “exciting illustrated visuals that will be new to her fans.” As with book crowdfunding campaigns of this sort, rewards for backers include having your name printed inside the book as a funder.
From the launch site: “Michael has been a long time fan and admirer of both Kate Bush’s music and creative spirit and in this book ‘Finding Kate’ he picks a selection of his own particular favourite ‘Kate’ songs, each one visually conceptualised as double page spreads with accompanying text detailing some song facts, together with his own personal insights into the music – all beautifully digitally illustrated by Marius. Plus there will be other interesting Kate related content and also a history by decade of her recorded work to date.”
“This will be a large coffee table style book with a page size of 300mm x 300mm (12 inches square). It will be a premium production and will contain 96 pages + cover of text and lavishly produced illustrations of different styles to the following spec:
Size 300mm x 300mm
Laminated picture wrap cover
Head & tail bands
Printed end sheets
Printed throughout on top quality 170gsm Gardamatt Silk paper.
It will be printed & produced to the highest standards by one of Europe’s leading book printers based in Italy and will ship worldwide.”
The May 2021 edition of Mojo Magazine features Kate on the cover and includes an article and unpublished archive interview. From the press release: “The genius of Kate Bush is explored from fresh angles: an unpublished interview, revelations from key collaborators, and the 40th birthday of Sat In Your Lap – the song that changed everything. In MOJO’s Kate Kompendium, the artist casts light on her creative urges in an unpublished interview. Plus: surprising new takes on Hounds Of Love, the Tour Of Life and a poignant window on her wilderness years.”
The editor tells me that “the main story is a long interview done in 1989 that was partially published in the Netherlands at the time. It’s around The Sensual World, but goes a fair bit deeper than most of the other interviews I have read from around that time. There are a bunch of other pieces, which include a very specific one about the making of Sat In Your Lap for its anniversary (new interviews with Hugh Padgham, Nick Launay, Geoff Downes). A good one about her videos, which talks to her collaborators and directors. A piece that touches on “druid philosophy” by Youth. Something about her in 2001. A bit more about the first tour. Lots to enjoy, hopefully.”
Pre-orders being sent out from 16th March 2021 from the Mojo site here. Appropriately enough, the cover photo is from her 1981 Company magazine feature shoot with photographer Clive Arrowsmith. You can read more about that session at his site here.
Update: Meanwhile, Mojo Magazine subscribers have been receiving a unique, enhanced design version of the latest issue which features a Kate Bush cover (below right), without all the usual text that appears on the regular edition (below left).
Brown Star Records in cooperation with Record Collector Magazine and the Kate Bush News website are delighted to announce the winners of the GRID OF LIFE Crossword Competition from the Kate Bush Record Collector special issue. The following five entries were chosen at random and all will receive a copy of the very limited edition I WANNA BE KATE: The Songs of Kate Bush – Remastered & Expanded EP, on heavyweight translucent aqua vinyl.
Lars Skovmand, Denmark
Paul Saxon-Shaw, England
Hanna O’Rourke, England
John Thomas, Wales
David England, England
We would like to thank everyone who participated and submitted an entry to the competition. It was always very exciting when another one would show up in the inbox! It is truly regrettable that the delays in the postal services as a result of the current public health emergency and Brexit, and compounded by the Christmas holiday shipping season, has resulted in many people not having received their copies of the magazine in time to complete the crossword and submit an entry. We chose to extend the closing date from 30 January 2021 to 28 February 2021. Additionally, ALL the people who entered the competition will receive a unique code to download all 24 songs from the I Wanna Be Kate project with our complements. As the competition is now closed, for anyone who didn’t get a copy of the magazine, here is the crossword puzzle – enjoy! With thanks again to Jamie Atkins and everyone at Record Collector Magazine, this was so much fun! – Thomas Dunning
The new edition of Classic Rock Magazine (April 2021 with Pink Floyd cover) has a 6-page feature on Kate’s Tour of Life. It would seem to be the same article that appeared in the May 2014 issue of Prog magazine, also by Dave Everly, featuring interviews with Brian Southall of EMI and dancer/choreographer Stewart Avon Arnold.
The artwork from the Remastered in Vinyl box sets, previously displayed at the Remastered pop-up shop in December 2018, have finally been made available as lithographic prints on Kate’s official site. They include the covers of the vinyl box sets which featured album artwork from Aerial, The Sensual World and The Dreaming unadorned by any text. Also included are the beautiful portraits of Kate from the 12″ Mixes album and from the cover of the In Others’ Words collection. They can be ordered here: https://www.katebush.com/shop/Prints
Rather unexpectedly, no less than three Kate Bush books have already come along in rapid succession from smaller UK publishers in 2021. Hot on the heels of the “Kate Bush On Track: Every Album, Every Song” book by Bill Thomas (see news item and brief review here) there are two more slim paperback titles being released in March about Kate’s work.
First up is “The Kick Inside: In-depth” by Laura Shenton (Wymer Publishing). The press release states that “The Kick Inside is one of our first four titles in our In-depth series launched in March 2021. The book takes an in-depth look at the album; the history behind it; the story about its creation; the songs, as well as detailed discographies listing release variations around the world….author Laura Shenton MA LLCM DipRSL offers an in-depth perspective on The Kick Inside from a range of angles including how the album came to be, how it was presented and received at the time (live as well as on record), and what it means in terms of Kate Bush’s legacy today.“
The publishers were kind enough to send me on a review copy and the author sets out her approach in the preface – that no weighty personal opinions or analysis will be included from her, rather that “throughout this book you’re going to see lots of quotes from vintage articles.” And this 112 page book is indeed a rich smorgasbord of quotes; from interviews, articles, KBC fan club magazines, TV appearances and promotional materials – a resource writers and researchers now enjoy thanks to the vast archives of fan-curated info on the likes of Gaffaweb and the Kate Bush Encyclopedia site. All quotes are cited up front right there in the text.
In fact, the author relies so much on the quotes to do the heavy-lifting of narrating the story of Kate’s first album that perhaps she assumed they cover the whole album “in-depth”. This approach falls short of that; the songs L’Amour Looks Something Like You, Feel it and Room For The Life aren’t even discussed, which is a pity. There is a lot to be said for the tried and trusted track-by-track approach most other books take when considering albums. On the plus side, while I originally wondered why so much space was given to discussing Lionheart and that album’s singles, it actually feels very appropriate in the light of the later pages covering the Tour of Life – a big part in the story of The Kick Inside, after all. I only noticed a couple of factual errors in the text (not every song from The Kick Inside was performed in the 1979 shows – Oh To Be In Love wasn’t) and the 8-page photo section includes some nice photos of the various album cover and single cover variations from 1978/79. The book is published 12th March 2021 (priced at £14.99) and can be ordered direct from the publishers at the Wymer Publishing site here or on Amazon Kindle edition here.
The second book, “Kate Bush: Song by Song” by John Van Der Kiste, is one I have yet to see a copy of myself, but has already been delivered to some fans via Ebay and other sites. This is a 164 page paperback, that seems remarkably similar in structure and approach to the recent Bill Thomas book in that it “provides a thorough examination of the songs on all her singles, albums, and occasional recorded collaborations with other artists.” I’ll update this article with my thoughts about the book when I’ve seen a copy, but this again features a spread of 50 colour photographs and unlike the Thomas and Shenton books appears to include article citations in the endnotes section for those wanting to read further. Kate Bush: Song by Song by John Van Der Kiste (priced at £18.00) can be ordered from the publisher, Fonthill Media here or on Amazon UK here. As an Amazon Associate this site earns revenue to support running costs from qualifying purchases.
The latest episode of The Lyric Show podcast, which explores “the art and business of song”, presented by David Bailey features Kate Bush fans discussing what Kate’s powerful classic song, Running Up That Hill, means to them. So lovely to hear familiar voices like Paul Thomas, Thomas Dunning, Sky Boswell and Ben McGarvey on the show! The discussion about Kate happens 20 minutes in to this episode. Listen on Mixcloud here or below.
One of the most searingly affecting uses of Kate’s music on a television series in recent memory was on the phenomenally successful Channel 4 drama series, “It’s a Sin“. The acclaimed five-part miniseries, written by Russell T Davies, is set from 1981 to 1991 in London and depicts the lives of a group of gay men and their friends who lived during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United Kingdom. The drama was the most-watched in Channel 4’s history. In a feature in today’s Guardian newspaper, Davies and director Peter Hoar discuss the 80s music used in the soundtrack, and how Kate personally gave permission for the use of Running Up That Hill for the episode:
Peter Hoar: I knew I was being cheeky putting Kate Bush in. Russell had written [songs] in and everyone knew that as they were in the script and were going to be paid for. Others such as Kate Bush hadn’t. But this song felt right. We initially had it over the scene with them all sat around the table. I’m glad it’s not there now as the song is saying the same thing as that scene. They’re sat there just thinking: we don’t know what to do. Jill is taking responsibility, but what can they say? That song is about women and men swapping places, and certainly the idea of taking someone’s place is pertinent. It could have been any of them. Ritchie hasn’t been perfect, but he’s done nothing wrong. He’s behaved in a way that he had every right to. It just so happens that in this particular instance there was something else going on and he fell foul of it. He regrets it, as you can see, but he’s proud in lots of ways.
Russell T Davies: We took the song off at one point, do you remember? Someone said they weren’t sure about it and Peter very kindly took it off. The whole scene fell apart.
Peter Hoar: And then, of course, the wonderful Kate Bush gave Russell permission to use it directly.
Russell T Davies: You do have to ask permission and she doesn’t often give it.
It’s a Sin can be watched in the UK and Ireland on the All4 player.
As in 2018 Kate has once again made the list of nominees for the 2021 Induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the USA – a nice acknowledgement of her work of course, and there is an element of public voting (see fan vote here) BUT it’s probably unlikely Kate will receive the honour. The announcement has been widely reported across the music press this afternoon.
Kate joins an eclectic short-list for the honour which also includes Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Rage Against The Machine, Iron Maiden, Carole King, Chaka Khan, Devo, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, New York Dolls, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, Mary J Blige and Todd Rundgren.
In order to qualify for the honour, the Hall requires an individual artist or band to have released their first commercial recording at least 25 years before their first nomination.
The Class of 2021 will be announced in May, decided by a voting body comprised of more than 1,000 artists, historians, and music industry members, as well as a fan vote on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s website.
Next month Sonicbond Publishing in the UK publish the latest in their series of “On Track” books, this time about Kate’s recorded work, written by Bill Thomas. It gets a UK release on February 12th and is released in the US on March 26th. A handy paperback guide for the casual music listener as much as for Kate’s fans, the book is freed from the demands of a full-blown biography of the artist. From the press release: “With a string of platinum albums and hit singles to her credit, Kate’s is a fascinating journey. This book examines her entire recorded catalogue from The Kick Inside through to Before The Dawn, hoovering up all the B‐sides and the rarities along the way. It’s a comprehensive guide to the extraordinary music of Kate Bush.” The book can be ordered here.
I’ve read a preview copy and the author has clearly researched his short pieces on each album/song very well, making this book bang up to date for 2021 readers. He generously uses quotes from Kate’s interviews over the years to allow her to speak about the work but his own observations and commentary are considered and warmly engaged with Kate’s music – he writes as a clear fan of her work. He includes a wealth of information about chart positions and single formats as well as discussing b-sides and other tracks related to each album era. Factual errors are almost non-existent (always nice to see) and this slim 128 page volume additionally includes 16 colour photo pages in the centre. Selling for £14.99, overall this is a nice addition to your Kate Bush book shelf.
An alternate of the main publicity shot Kate took for the Aerial album has surfaced online, by photographer Trevor Leighton. How’s your lockdown hair game this morning? Mine…not quite as lustrous as Kate’s, I’m afraid!
December Will Be 40! Seán introduces another Christmas special from Bush Telegraph, covering all things ‘December Will Be Magic Again’, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this month. Paul and Darrell, chatting transatlantically, reminisce about the first time they heard and saw Kate perform this song on TV as a guest on the ‘Showtime Special’ in December 1979. This version (fondly known as the ‘Bongo Version’) was recorded at Abbey Road in November of that year. Its official release came a year later with a new arrangement and vocal. On this podcast we get to hear the first version, as well as a live version from the ‘Kate Show’ in 1979. The lads also reminisce about rushing out after school to get the single, and they discuss reviews and chart stats. There is also a great cover of this song on the podcast. For a Christmas ‘bonus’, we also get to hear the two jingles Kate sang for Capital One and Radio 1.
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.