(born Catherine Bush
) was born in Bexleyheath, Kent, to English physician Robert Bush
and his Irish wife Hannah Daly
. Music took became an integral part of her life, as her two brothers, Paddy
were involved in the local folk music scene. Her musical family began to influence the young Kate
who had taught herself piano at age 11. She began to write her own songs, encouraged by her family who also helped her record a demo tape. Though turned down by numerous record labels, it was eventually heard by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour
who helped her record a more promising demo to send to record companies. She was then signed by EMI
who gave her two years to discover who Kate Bush
truly was. After the contract signing, EMI forwarded her a sizable advance which she used to enroll in interpretive dance classes taught by Lindsay Kemp
, a former teacher of David Bowie
, and mime training with Adam Darius
. She began recording her debut album in August 1977.
The Kick Inside
was released in 1978 with songs written from when she was 13 and on. Kate insisted that "Wuthering Heights
", based on the novel of the same name should be the opening single, and eventually won out on EMI. With "Wuthering Heights" Kate became the first woman to reach number 1 on the UK charts. Quickly following the success of The Kick Inside, EMI pushed Kate to release another album in late 1978 to capitalize on her success. The sophomore album, Lionheart did not fare as well as The Kick Inside, but still gained Kate radio play with songs like "Wow
" and "Hammer Horror
". With two albums under her belt, Kate was ready to tour with song, dance, mime and even magic acts. Called "The Tour of Life
", it was immediately successful, but was the only tour Kate would ever give in her career.
Disliking the celebrity lifestlye, Kate started to withdraw from the public eye, working hard on her next albums. Now having almost full control over her work, she released Never for Ever in 1980. One of the first artist to utilize the Fairlight CMI, Kate became a pioneer in her music providing the public with unusual singles such as the satiric "Army Dreamers" and the ironic rock song, "Babooshka". The album reached number 1 on the UK charts, making her also the first woman to do so.
Riding on the success of Never for Ever, Kate was given full control of her work, and worked on her next album for two years, once again dropping out of the public eye. 1982's The Dreaming proved to be her most experimental work which upon release received mixed reviews. (It did chart the US Billboard 200, a first for Kate.) The singles did not fare well, but the album is now considered an extremely important work due to Kate's innovation in sound and lyrics. Kate was disheartened by the mixed reviews and retreated back to her private studio, where she would not release another album until three years later.
In 1985, Kate performed "Running Up That Hill", the lead single from her new album Hounds of Love on The Wogan Show. The album became an instant hit, considered her masterpiece and a classic by many. The album had four singles, and also four music video as well. Kate had taken full control of her music, and soon became interested in film as well. "Cloudbusting" became a hit, propelled especially by the video staring Donald Sutherland. The second side of the album was entitled "The Ninth Wave", a suite about a woman drowning. It is also viewed as an important contribution to the "concept album" genre.
The personal tone of her writing grew stronger, with Kate relying less on other material for her work. The Sensual World was released in 1989, included "This Woman's Work", a song for the movie "She's Having a Baby". It would later be famously covered by singer, Maxwell. In 1993 she released The Red Shoes, influenced highly on the movie of the same name. It became her highest chart listing in the US, and the song "Rubberband Girl" reached number 88. "The Line, the Cross, and the Curve" was a film directed and written by Bush using six songs from the album, and co-starring Miranda Richardson.
12 years would pass before Kate's next album, Aerial as she continued to shun the public eye and focus her attention on her son, Bertie. Though she carried out very little promotion for the album, it fared immensely well on the charts and also was critically well received, some calling it her "masterpiece". As with Hounds of Love, the album is split into two sections, the first having isolated songs and the second featured thematically related songs linked by a bird song. The single "King of the Mountain" became her third highest charting single, and "A Coral Room" is often cited as her most honest and beautiful piece since "This Woman's Work".
With a career spanning over 30 years, Kate Bush became one of the most successful British female artist of all time. Her innovation in sound and the genre of art rock make her one of the most prominent female figures in music, heavily influencing artists such as Coldplay and Tori Amos. There was never quite anything like Kate Bush in 1978, and there perhaps never will be.