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The Man With The Child In His Eyes by Kate Bush
Album: The Kick InsideReleased: 1978Charted:
The song tells of a relationship between a young girl and an older man. She sees him as an all consuming figure; he's wise yet retains a certain innocent quality. He's a very real character to the girl, but nobody else knows if he really exists. Kate wrote the song because of a quality she saw in most of the men that she knew, how they are all little boys inside and how wonderful it is that they managed to retain this magic.
Although the song was first released on her debut album The Kick Inside
, it was actually recorded in 1975 when Kate was only 16 years old. It was recorded at David Gilmour's expense at London's Air Studios. He had, through a mutual friend, become involved in trying to get Kate's career off the ground.
It was revealed in September 2010 that this song was written about Steve Blacknell, Bush's first boyfriend. Blacknell told The Daily Mail September 24, 2010: "By the spring of 1975 she had become my first true love. All I really knew about her was that she wrote songs, played the piano and lived in a lovely house with an equally lovely family."
Blacknell was working at the time as a toilet cleaner in a local hospital, but was planning a career in the music industry. He said: 'She had her heart set on becoming a global star and I was going to be a flash DJ. One day I would introduce her on Top Of The Pops. In the summer of 1975, I finally got my break and landed a job as a marketing assistant with Decca Records.
It was then that I finally thought I was equipped to hear her music and it was a day I'll never forget. I went round to her house and she led me to the room where the piano was. I thought 'Oh my God'. What I heard made my soul stand on end. I realised there and then that I was in love with a genius."
He added: "As things hotted up for her, so our relationship cooled and we drifted apart. But I've been told by those around her that I was indeed The Man With The Child In His Eyes and I know that those words were given to me by someone very special."
Blacknell himself went on to have a successful career in music and TV as a presenter on various satellite channels. In 2010, he offered Kate Bush's original handwritten lyrics for the song for sale through music memorabilia website 991.com.
This won the 1979 Ivor Novello award for Outstanding British Lyric.