The making of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights”

We celebrate Kate's birthday with the story behind her landmark No #1 single...

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ANDREW POWELL (Producer, Arranger, Bass): In 1975 I got a call from David Gilmour, saying he’d got this artist and he just thought she was something really special. This was substantially prior to Kate signing to EMI. Initially he said he was going to produce her, but in the end Dave put up money for some sessions. These were really superior demos, and I ended up producing them, including “The Man With The Child In His Eyes”. A couple of years later I went in to do the album. She had so many songs. I’ve still got some of the cassettes. I must have 100 songs here, still, written pre-The Kick Inside.

BRIAN BATH (Guitarist in KT Bush Band): She wrote “Wuthering Heights” at her flat at Wickham Road in Brockley when she was living with [KT Bush Band bassist] Del Palmer there. At the time [their relationship] was all a bit hush-hush, a bit keep it careful.


POWELL: My memory is that “Wuthering Heights” was written very close to us going into the studio. I think it was only a matter of a few days before. Kate came around to where I was living and said, “What about this one?” She sat down at my piano and out it came. It was obvious to me immediately that it was something extraordinary.

DAVID PATON (12-string guitar): Andrew gave us a brief outline as to what Kate was all about, Dave Gilmour nurturing her and all that. He said, “She’s very young but EMI are really excited about her, she’s really special.” I remember him saying the music was a bit wild, a bit wacky even. We arrived at the studio, Kate introduced herself, and Andrew just said, “Sit down and play them the song,” and that’s how it was done. She sat down at the piano, said, “It goes like this,” and just played. We were all gathered around the piano with our jaws dropped, because it was a stunning performance. Faultless, absolutely faultless, and she could do that time and time again. It sounded fantastic, there was just a great vibe in the studio.

IAN BAIRNSON (Guitar): She sat and played the piano and sang the guide vocal. We wrapped ourselves around her, looking for ways to embellish it or give it direction. For us it was a very refreshing thing, because it was wide open.

PATON: Talking about Cathy and Heathcliff was so clever. I didn’t like to ask her, “What’s this song really about?” That book must have had a huge impact on her to influence her in that way, but she kept her vision to herself. A lot of artists you work with you usually find that they’re besotted with themselves – like Freddie Mercury, all he could do was talk about himself all the time. She wasn’t like that at all. She didn’t say, ‘”I want to do this and that, me, me, me, me.” She wasn’t that kind of person at all and that in itself was very refreshing.

BAIRNSON: I didn’t pay a lot of notice to the lyrics. It was only about a year ago when I read the lyrics and appreciated them so much more.
Jon Kelly: The depth of her lyrics and the originality of her melodies were just so different from anything else that was around.

PATON: Her influences were pretty unique, pretty stylised. And that high–pitched voice. It wasn’t until I was listening to “Wuthering Heights” on the radio that I really realised, Woah, that’s really high pitched! When she sat and sang live for us I didn’t really notice anything unusual about it, I just felt her style was very unique.


POWELL: I loved it, I was very much in favour of it. She was doing some very interesting things with her voice. She was experimenting more and more in all sorts of directions – vocally, lyrically and musically.


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