Born in Southeast London, Kate grew up in a family immersed in music, art and literature. She learned to play violin at age 11 but didn't like it; she began to set her poems to her own chord formulations.
She started playing the piano a lot by age 12 to accompany her brother Paddy's fiddle playing and to generally let out her frustrations. By age 13 she had written many songs, some of which would later appear on her first 2 records.
At age 14 Ricky Hopper, a family friend with connections to the music business, took her tape of 30 songs to all major record companies, with no success (her music was deemed too morbid and uncommercial). Kate seriously considered a career in psychiatry or social work, while Hopper took the tape to an old friend from Cambridge University, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Gilmour was impressed, and by age 15 Kate was recording demos in Gilmour's home studio. Again there is no interest from the record companies. Refusing to give up, Gilmour put up the money for a three-song demo done to full professional standards. This did the trick and EMI signed her a short while later. In an unusual move, EMI paid Kate to take a series of lessons to improve her already inventive songwriting as well as singing and dancing. Finally in 1978 "Wuthering Heights" was released and went straight to #1 in the UK. This made her an overnight sensation and sent her subsequent album, The Kick Inside
, to #3, selling over 1 million copies in the UK.
Lee - Ottawa, Canada, for all above
When "Wuthering Heights
" rose to #1 in 1978, Kate Bush became the first female to top the UK charts with a self-composed song.
Bush rarely performs live and toured just once: a 24-show trek of Europe in 1979. Those shows were divided into three acts and interspersed with poetry, dancing, and magic.
Instead of doing another tour, she turned her penchant for stagecraft into elaborate music videos and other visual elements to go along with her songs. In 2014, she staged a grand production called Before The Dawn at the Eventim Apollo in London, where she performed her songs amid a dazzling display of visual elements. It ran for 22 performances and caused such a stir that eight of her albums returned to the UK Top 40, making her the first female artist with that many albums on the chart simultaneously.
Her 1980 album, Never For Ever, was the first commercially-released album to incorporate the Fairlight CMI digital sampling synthesizer. Bush incorporated the Fairlight on many of her subsequent releases, and the device achieved ubiquity in pop music of the decade.
She rejected a song John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, wrote for her called "Bird In Hand." It was about rescuing parrots from the parrot trade in Brazil.
Her 12-year hiatus between the releases of The Red Shoes and Aerial inspired the 2007 documentary Come Back Kate.
She began producing her own albums with her fourth release, The Dreaming
, in 1982. Featuring the hit lead single "Sat In Your Lap
," the album peaked at #3 in the UK, but was widely criticized for being too experimental and not commercial enough.
Never For Ever, Hounds Of Love, and The Whole Story all hit #1 in the UK. The remaining eight albums landed in the Top 10.
She had a longtime romance with her bassist/sound engineer Del Palmer until the early '90s. In 1992 she met guitarist Danny McIntosh while recording her album The Red Shoes and the pair married not long after. They welcomed a son, Bertie, in 1998.
Although she's been nominated three times, Bush has never won a Grammy.
She was asked to record the theme song
to the James Bond film Moonraker
but declined because she was about to embark on her 1979 Tour of Life. The gig went to Shirley Bassey.
Kate Bush attended St Joseph's Convent Grammar School, Woolwich Road, Abbeywood in SE London. She wrote poems for the school magazine, including The Crucifixion, Blind Joe Death and Epitaph for a Rodent. Kate left school in 1976 walking away with 10 O-levels.
Kate Bush was known as Cathy until she left school.
Kate Bush made her first television appearance
in Bio's Bahnhof
, a German live music talk show presented by Alfred Biolek in a former train depot. She appeared, along with Udo Lindenberg and Vicky Leandros, on the ARD show's first ever episode dated February 9, 1978.