Ten Things About... Kate Bush
When Kate Bush released her tenth studio album 50 Words For Snow this week, we put aside our contrary tendencies and gladly fell in line with the avalanche of critical opinion in our praise.
Bush has flitted in and out of public life in recent years, so to celebrate her return in 2011, we've taken a look back at her career to give you ten fast facts about one of pop's most enigmatic stars.
1. Kate was born Catherine Bush on July 30, 1958 to a musical family in Bexleyheath in Kent. Her mom Hannah was a dancer, her dad Robert played piano, and her brothers Paddy and John were steeped in the local folk scene. An early nickname Kate picked up was 'Ee-ee', because of her squeaky kia (battle cry) when practising karate at the club in Goldsmith's College.
2. In her early teens, Kate made a demo tape with loads of tracks which was turned down by countless labels, before it ended up in the hands of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. His chum Andrew Powell produced a new demo and EMI snapped her up. She stayed at school after picking up her O-Levels, but the deal meant that no other record companies could get their grubby paws on her in the meantime.
3. Rather than waste it all on White Lightning and Marlboros, Bush spent a thwack of her advance on mime training, as well as interpretive dance lessons from David Bowie's former teacher Lindsay Kemp. The work came in super-handy when filming videos for songs like 'Running Up That Hill' and 'Babooshka'.
4. Rumor has it that EMI pushed for the rocky 'James and the Cold Gun' to be Bush's first single, but - singleminded as ever - she insisted on the quirky 'Wuthering Heights' being her debut. I think we can say that she was proved right on this one!
5. Elton John and Stephen Fry appear on Bush's new album, but they're certainly not the first duets she's recorded. As well as appearing on a clutch of tracks on Peter Gabriel's self-titled 1980 album - including the fab 'Games Without Frontiers', they recorded the heartbreaking 'Don't Give Up' six years later after Dolly Parton turned him down.
6. Outkast's Big Boi, Nicola Roberts and even X Factor star Johnny Robinson could one day get their wish of a duet. Bush's The Red Shoes in 1993 featured an all-star cast, including Prince, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Lenny Henry. Belated follow-up Aerial in 2005 went one better, boasting the didgeridoo and vocal talents of R.. Ro... Rol... can you tell who it is yet? Rolf Harris!
7. Kate Bush did turn down one hook-up... with 007, having been approached to lend her pipes to the theme for Moonraker. Johnny Mathis, and eventually, Shirley Bassey took on the job for the 1979 Bond film.
8. We'd love to see Bush strutting her stuff on the stage, but we're not holding our breath. Her only proper jaunt was 1979's Tour of Life. Various reasons for her reluctance to play live have been suggested - from her desire to control everything to the sad death of lighting director Bill Duffield. She's only played the odd song since then, with highlights being some duets with old pal Dave Gilmour and a hook-up with Rowan Atkinson for charidee.
9. Kate is a vegetarian who doesn't wear fur. If you think her new album images show her breaking that rule, you're mistaken! Ms Bush made the point of letting her fans know in a recent open letter that she's wearing the fake stuff in her promo shots for the record.
10. That brilliant sample at the start of 'Hounds of Love' ("It's in the trees... It's coming!!") comes from classic 1957 Brit horror film Night of the Demon. No, we've not seen it either, but it gets a namecheck in The Rocky Horror Show's 'Science Fiction/Double Feature' and was once ranked by Martin Scorsese as his 11th favorite horror film.