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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BAIRNSON: Whether she was putting on an unusual voice – or voices – on “Wuthering Heights”, or whatever, it still came across as genuine and we accepted it. That is what made her stand apart. The fact that her talent had so many facets to it and each one was so believable.

POWELL: Did she twirl around all the time? No, she didn’t. I know singers who do, but she’d just stand there and sing and concentrate on what she was doing. She wasn’t one for doing the dance of the seven veils while she was doing her vocals, it wasn’t that at all.

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BAIRNSON: I never saw her pick up the guitar, but she loved the guitar. On “Wuthering Heights” I built a solo and endeavoured to make it part of the song.

PATON: I didn’t play bass on the song. That was at Andrew’s insistence! He was a bass player in his youth and he plays OK – he’s a bit busy – and as a consolation prize he said, “Davie, you can play 12-string.” Hmmm. I must say he’s a very accomplished musician all round.

POWELL: I played bass. Partly because I had a good idea for a part, and also because Ian had sprained his wrist or broken a finger or something. Normally I’d have had Ian play acoustic and David play bass, but Ian couldn’t play barre chords – and “Wuthering Heights”, being in F#m, it’s all barre chords – so David ended up playing guitar. Rather than having to double track his own performance, I just had an idea and thought, Hang on a minute, can I have your bass? Actually, I think I used my own in the end because I re-did it.

JON KELLY (Engineer): Andrew was a superb musician and arranger. All the parts were written out and he would hand them to the rhythm section, they had chord charts and a brief outline of what he wanted. He’d worked with Kate on the arrangement beforehand and how he wanted it to turn out. It was an absolutely brilliant job, a first class record.

POWELL: EMI wanted “James And The Cold Gun” to be the first single. It was the most obvious song on the record, and it would have been one of the worst choices. I mean, it was a fun thing to have on there, and it was one of the few songs of hers that she’d already played live with the KT Bush Band, but she stuck to her guns on “Wuthering Heights” and she was absolutely right.

KELLY: It was on Kate’s insistence that “Wuthering Heights” should be the first single, and good for her. Quite right. It was fabulous.

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BAIRNSON: I remember thinking, “This is really good, but God, I wonder how people will react?” It was going to be all or nothing. You can never pre-judge the great British record buying public.

BATH: I remember going around to her flat when “Wuthering Heights” was first played on Capitol Radio. Kate said, “Oh, they’re playing my song tonight.” We were all sitting round there and the DJ said he’d found this really odd song, or something like that, and played it. We couldn’t believe it was coming out of the radio. And then he kept playing it. You could phone Capitol to vote for the song you wanted to hear that day. I was round at her parent’s farm pretty much every day, there was always something to do, and Kate’s mum would say, “Have you phoned Capitol radio yet? Use the phone! Do it now!” It kept getting played and played and all of a sudden it just exploded.

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