Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kate Bush, artist extraordinaire

 Kate Bush rocks. Well, its not exactly rock. But she rocks nonetheless. In my book anyway. Did I HAVE to use THIS photo of Kate to start this blog with? Oh, God yes.
From "Babooshka"
Wikipedia: "Bush's music is eclectic, using various styles of music even within the same album. Her songs have spanned across genres as diverse as rock, pop, alternative and art rock. Even in her earliest works where the piano was a primary instrument, she wove together many diverse influences, melding classical music, rock, and a wide range of ethnic and folk sources, and this has continued throughout her career."

I first heard about her when she was first hitting the US and I was working at Tower Records in 1980. I was actually next door at Tower Posters, but we were all one family.

I had known Pat Banatar's 1980 "Crimes of Passion" album that featured a changed-tempo cover of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights". I liked Pat's version and the album a lot. Some of the girls at work turned me on to Kate's album with Wuthering Heights on it and I simply couldn't take at the time, Kate's five octave range. I brought the album back and got my money back. The girls at work were horrified. They explained to me that "Pat ripped Kate off on that song." I said, "Oh, but didn't she also get Kate a lot of attention by doing that?" They said, "Oh, well, I suppose so, but she ripped her off!" They weren't pleased it would seem.

Never for Ever album
I went through college. When I got out in 1984, I went back to Tower, and worked at their new Video store. It was then that I discovered the video collection of Kates, with many of her song I had heard before, including "Wuthering Heights", only now in video, displaying Kate's exceptional looks, style, mime, dance and singing skills. I was blown away. Now it all made sense. The more I looked into Kate, the more I found how talented and intriguing she was as an artist and a woman.

I acquired her "Live at Hammersmith Odeon" stage performance and "The Single File" video collection. I still have them and I'm very attached to them. The next notable video and song she did back then was with Donald Sutherland acting in the video, "Cloudbusting". A song (and video) I found emotional along the lines of Harry Chapin's Cat's Cradle song.
"Them Heavy People" Japanese single release
Interesting tangential side note, Pat Benatar played the character Zephyr in Harry Chapin's futuristic rock musical The Zinger. Set in a recording studio sometime around the year 2000, the production, which debuted on March 19, 1976, at the Performing Arts Foundation's (PAF) Playhouse in Huntington Station, Long Island, renamed the Harry Chapin Center, ran for a month and also featured Beverly D'Angelo and Christine Lahti.

My kids have known about my videos of Kate's for years as I wanted them to experience her artistry and ingenuity.

More from Wikipedia:

"Kate Bush (born Catherine Bush 30 July 1958) is an English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer. Her eclectic musical style and idiosyncratic vocal style have made her one of the United Kingdom's most successful solo female performers of the past 30 years. Bush was signed by EMI at the age of 16 after being recommended by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. In 1978, at age 19, she topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single "Wuthering Heights", becoming the first woman to have a UK number-one with a self-written song. She was also the most photographed woman in the United Kingdom that year.

"After her 1979 tour — the only concert tour of her career — Bush released the 1980 album Never for Ever, which made her the first British solo female artist to top the UK album charts and the first female artist ever to enter the album chart at No. 1. In 1987, she won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Solo Artist. She has released nine albums, three of which topped the UK Albums Chart, and has had UK Top 10 hit singles with "Wuthering Heights", "Running Up That Hill", "King of the Mountain", "Babooshka", "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" and "Don't Give Up".

"Bush provided vocals on two of Peter Gabriel's albums, including the hits "Games Without Frontiers" and "Don't Give Up", as well as "No Self-Control". Gabriel appeared on Bush's 1979 television special, where they sang a duet of Roy Harper's "Another Day". She has sung on two Roy Harper tracks, "You", on his 1979 album, "The Unknown Soldier", and "Once", the title track of his 1990 album. She has also sung on the title song of the 1986 Big Country album The Seer, the Midge Ure song "Sister and Brother" from his 1988 album Answers to Nothing, Go West's 1987 single "The King Is Dead" and two songs with Prince – "Why Should I Love You?", from her 1993 album The Red Shoes, and in 1996, the song "My Computer" from Prince's album Emancipation.

"In 1987, she sang a verse on the charity single "Let It Be" by Ferry Aid. She sang a line on the charity single "Spirit of the Forest" by Spirit of the Forest in 1989. In 1995, Bush covered George Gershwin's "The Man I Love" for the tribute album The Glory of Gershwin. In 1996, Bush contributed a version of "Mná na hÉireann" (Irish for Women of Ireland) for the Anglo-Irish folk-rock compilation project Common Ground: The Voices of Modern Irish Music. Bush had to sing the song in Irish, which she learned to do phonetically.

"Artists who have contributed to Bush's own albums include Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Nigel Kennedy, Gary Brooker, and Prince. Bush provided backing vocals for a song that was recorded during the 1990s titled Wouldn't Change a Thing by Lionel Azulay, the drummer with the original band that was later to become the KT Bush Band. The song, which was engineered and produced by Del Palmer, is available for download and will be on Azulay’s upcoming CD

"In 2010, Bush provided vocals for Rolf Harris's cover of a traditional Irish Song entitled "She Moves Through The Fair". Harris who described the collaboration the "best thing I’ve done" is unsure of how to release the track."

Kate has since lost her range and last I heard is down to only four octaves, but she is stil and always will be a consummate and favorite, artist of mine.

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