|I put this moment
here. Kate Bush, Jig of Life
For some reason, British singer Kate Bush has never really caught on in the United States. Here she may be best known as the angelic voice on Peter Gabriels Dont Give Up, or as the songwriter behind Pat Benetars Wuthering Heights.
The story is different in England and Europe. Kates own recording of Wuthering Heights was a sensation throughout Europe. Giant recording company EMI said she was the labels most important British female pop artist during the 1980s and early 1990s.
She has attracted a cult following in the United States. Strangely enough, many members of the cult remember where they were on the night of December 9, 1978.
I know where I wasI was watching Saturday Night Live. The program has a different celebrity guest host each week. On this night, the guest host was Monty Pythons Eric Idle. When he introduced the nights musical guest, a young woman from England, I didnt catch her name.
She sat atop Paul Shaffers piano, wearing a gold body stocking. She was twenty years old, but she seemed to me to be only about sixteen. She sang in a high registerthe voice of a little girl. She sang a subtle, sultry and spooky song called The Man With the Child in His Eyes. Hypnosis.
I picked up the TV Guide to see who this woman was. Kate Bush. I knew I had to buy her record. Later in the program she performed Them Heavy People, which I didnt like very much, and I forgot my resolve to rush out and buy her record. It didnt matter. I had already been hypnotized.
More than two years later, on December 17, 1980, a friend stuck a tape into his car stereo and said, Listen to this. The song was unfamiliar, but something about the voice stirred a long-forgotten memory.
Is that Kate Bush? I asked. Searching for a memory I hadnt realized I had, I asked, Did she do a song called The Man With the Child in His Eyes? I explained to my friend that I had seen her on Saturday Night Live years before, and hadnt heard anything by or about her since.
A couple weeks later, my friend brought me a tape he had put together with a sampling of Kate Bush songs. At the time I had a tape player at work, and I listened to the tape. The music seemed pleasant enough, but I wasnt greatly impressed with anything I heard. Then we came to The Man With the Child in His Eyes. Hypnosis! I listened to the song, then rewound the tape and listened to it again. Then I rewound the tape and listened again. And again. And again. On my way home from work I stopped at a record store and bought The Kick Inside, my first Kate Bush album.
I have never been quite right since.
Listen. Rinse. Repeat.
Kate is a studio artist. She did one concert tour early in her career, with elaborate effects, costumes and dance routines, but she hasnt done a concert tour since. A woman from Poland told me she had seen Kate in concert in Paris.
She told me that she first heard Kate on a Polish radio station. The announcer asked everyone to listen carefully, then played Wuthering Heights without identifying the song or the performer. After playing the song, the announcer said, You probably hated that, right? You were probably trying to adjust the tone in some way to make it sound right. Now listen to it again. The song played a second time, then the announcer said, Now you probably find that youre getting used to that high-pitched voice. Now, listen to it one more time, and youll find that you love this music, and cant do without it. The song was played a third time, and my Polish friend was hooked. Hypnosis!
Its been a long time since Kates last album, and the number of fan websites seems surprisingly small. GaffaWeb seems to be fairly stable. Here are a few additional sites that might help you on your voyage of discovery: