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Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

Album: The Kick InsideReleased: 1978Charted:
1
  • This is based on Emily Bronte's classic book of the same name. The song pretty much tells the same story as the book, only squeakier.

    In the book, two young people, Catherine and Heathcliff, are brought together and become lovers. Along the way, they struggle with issues of class and family. Wuthering Heights was Bronte's only novel, although she did publish some poems.
  • This was the first song Bush recorded for a label. It was released as a single, and while the music press dismissed the song as a novelty, it hit #1 in Britain. It stayed there for 4 weeks and launched her career at age 19.
  • Kate Bush and Emily Bronte share the same birthday, July 30th.
  • Kate started playing piano at age 11 and wrote her first song at 13. By the time she recorded the album, she had about 50 songs to choose from, but this wasn't one of them. She came up with it shortly before recording the album. She claims she wrote the song in one night under a full moon.
  • This was a huge hit everywhere except the US. This is the way it remained for Bush, who has never been able to break the US market.
  • Bush's label, EMI, wanted to release "James and the Cold Gun" as her first single, believing that radio stations wouldn't play this because it sounded too odd. When Kate found out, she insisted that "Wuthering Heights" be released first, but as a 19-year-old who had never released a song, she didn't have much say in the matter. Her label boss decided to let her have her way, figuring the song would flop and he would prove to Bush that he knew how to do his job better than she did. He was proven horribly wrong, and Bush was allowed to select her next single. Her choice was "The Man With The Child In His Eyes."
  • When this rose to #1 Kate Bush became the first female to top the UK charts with a self composed song.
  • Pat Benatar covered this on her 1980 album Crimes of Passion.
  • The guitar solo is by Ian Bairnson, formerly of Pilot. In the mid-'70s, they had a #5 hit in the US with "Magic" and a chart topper in the UK with "January."
  • Engineer Jon Kelly recalled Kate Bush's recording of the song in the book Classic Tracks: The Real Stories Behind 68 Seminal Recordings by Richard Buskin. "In the case of 'Wuthering Heights' she was imitating this witch, the mad lady from the Yorkshire Moors, and she was very theatrical about it.," he recalled. "She was such a mesmerising performer – she threw her heart and soul into everything she did – that it was difficult to ever fault her or say, 'You could do better'."

    "You couldn't keep Kate away from the sessions even if you had wild dogs and bazookas," Kelly added. "She was just drinking it all up, learning everything that went on. The first moment she walked into the control room, I could tell that's where she wanted to be; in control of her own records. She was astute, and she was also phenomenally easy to work with."
  • Bush re-recorded her vocal late one night, doing two or three takes from which producer Andrew Powell chose the best. "There was no compiling," Kelly confirmed. "It was a complete performance. We started the mix at around midnight and Kate was there the whole time, encouraging us," Kelly remembered. "You couldn't deny her anything. So we got on with the job and finished at about five or six that morning."
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Comments: 28

The "fact" about Kate being given a Steinway is nonsense. It doesn't appear in any printed source until post 2000. She bought a 7000 pound Steinway with the money she made from The Kick Inside.James - None Of Your Business, Australia
I heard Pat Benatar's version first. Then a school friend, who's dad worked at Capitol Records in Hollywood, got us the original version. I was floored and have been a fan since..Jim - Long Beach, Ca
I absolutely love this song, when im feeling down i play it and it always cheers me up!! My son is called Hindley and my daughter is called Catherine. I did make my husband change his name to Heathcliff, but sadly i think that was the last straw for him and he left me. But i shall carry on looking for my Heathcliff and this wonderful book shall help me.Ellie - Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
i read this book, all the time, i say at home all day reading and pretending to be catherine as i love her so much i feel like i am her, and she is me, my husband (heathcliff) also loves this define book, we have a son called hareton and anotehr called edgar however we are trying to make him have t.bJenny - Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
In the 1992 Movie Wuthering Heights, Juliett Binoche NOT Cate Blanchard starred with Ralph Fiennes. She was the perfect Catherine.Kim - Ny, Ny
Josh Pyke covered this song as part of a tribute albulm, where men covered some of the most influential songs sung by women called 'No mans Woman'Lauren - Melbourne, Australia
Ian Bairson; who plays fading solo is also guitarist (a fine one by the way) from Alan Parsons ProjectVictor - Mexico City, Mexico
Romantic at heart, seen both movies. The song is timeless as is the story. It should remind us of the delicate balance between love and hate. Francis, Windsor OntFrancis - Windsor, Canada
I love this song. I fisrt heard it when it came out and I hated it. Over the years it grew on me. I heard the Angra version and its wonderful for what it is.. I have an album by a Sydney performer called Franky Valentyn who does an absolute replica. The voice is uncanny...for a GUY.Percy - Sydney, Australia
"Discovered" by David GilmourTheo - Jacksonville, Fl
Kate actually wrote this song based on the film (the black & white version). She is quoted as saying this and that she later would read the book "to get the research right". She was signed to EMI for over a year before releasing any materail, it allowed her to finish school; she did mock A levels and left school with 10 O levels. During this time she had recorded over 100 songs, some of which can be found on www.dongrays.com/kate-bush/mp3 and are often referred to as The Phoenix Sessions.Jason - Ibiza, Spain
great novel, great movie (the one with ralph fiennes and juliette binoche) - and a BEAUTIFUL song! one of the best kate's songs... how could you leave me when i needed to posses you, i hated you, i loved u too......Emilia - Gdańsk, Poland
I've only read part of the book but i loved the movie. This is my favorite kate Bush song.Christine - Sunderland, England
I always thought that Dave Gilmore played the solo..certainly sounds like him.Erobert - Auckland, New Zealand
Whats makes this song extra special is the musical climate in Britain at the time. It was the height of punk. Kate defied eveyone. This 19 year girl writes and sings her own song, performs on Top of the Pops (the main weekly music programme at the time) with a ballad about characters from a famous novel. If you were around at the time and heard and saw this performance it was quite incredible.Robbie - Bristol, England, United States
My mother had this on vinyl and on 8-track....this is the first song that ever made me cry....I was only about 9 and I hadn't read the book yet but I just got that it was about longing....in the right moment it can still give me chills, although "James and the Cold Gun" is probably my favorite KB song...Greer - Somerset, Nj
There's some female voices that drive tears to my eyes whenever I hear them. This is one of them.Tom - Freiburg, Germany
i love the movie and this bookNathalie - Laguna, Ca
There are at least three different videos for Wuthering HeightsLee - Ottawa, Canada
Where is Kate Bush now how can I contact her? Please helpMarama - Sydney, Australia
Kate recorded new vocals for this wonderful song for her 1986 "greatest hits" compilation; "The Whole Story". A much more mature vocal, it still has the impact of the original.

And yes, EMI DID want "James and the Cold Gun" as the first single, Damien. Kate Bush disagreed and actually cried in the office of the man responsible for the decision, and EMI relented and release "Wuthering Heights". This is documented in several magazines over the years, including New Musical Express, Sound on Sound, and Mojo.
Geoff - Greeley, Co
The Brazilian Prog-Metal band Angra did a fantastic true-to-the-original cover of Wuthering Heights in their album "Angels Cry". What makes this exceptional is that their singer Andre Matos, a man, manages to come eerily close to the operatic vocal histrionics of Kate Bush.Peterpan - San Jose, Ca
EMI wanted to release THE MAN WITH THE CHILD IN HIS EYES first, JAMES & COLD GUN was never up for a single release.Damien - London, United States
Also covered by Haley Westernra, a rising opera star from New Zealand who's only 17Mel - Hokitika, New Zealand
Brilliant how she took the classic story and spun it in this manner. When she sings," Heathcliff, it's me your Cathy I've come home.....let me in your window....I'm so cold...." breaks your heart.Geri - Nova Scotia, Canada
Ataraxia covered this song. The cover is called "La Nuova Margherita"Ok...next... - Somewhere?, Europe
Correction - the 1992 version of Wuthering Heights starred Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche (both starred in The English Patient for which Juliette won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.)Lp - Tampa, Fl
Ralph Fienes and Cate Blanchard starred Wuthering Heights in 1992, (both also starred The English Patient)Tita - Bandung, Indonesia