Experiment IV

Album: The Whole Story (1986)
Charted: 23

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about how sometimes scientists get so caught up in the pure science of what they are developing that they don't realize what purpose others may have for it. For example,when scientists started splitting atoms they probably did not think of the possible future applications as weapons.
  • The origin of this song came from Kate's consideration of music as such a beautiful thing and a positive force. The idea of something so beautiful being used to kill people was fascinating. There likely are sonic experiments of a similar type actually being carried out by militaries somewhere.
  • The Whole Story is a greatest hits album. This was the only new song included with songs from previous albums. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lee - Ottawa, Canada, for all above
  • The music video marks Bush's third directorial effort, following "Hounds Of Love" and "The Big Sky." The clip tells the story of a sound monster that destroys a secret military facility. The singer makes a small cameo as an orderly serving tea, but several other recognizable faces show up, including actors Hugh Laurie, Peter Vaughan, Gary Oldman, and actress Dawn French, along with Bush's bass guitarist Del Palmer. Bush's brother Paddy also appears as a disturbed patient. The video was filmed at an abandoned military hospital near Blackheath that was allegedly co-designed by the iconic nurse Florence Nightingale. Bush recalled the experience in a 1987 fan club newsletter: "There were some wonderful moments, like filming in East London. We had a field full of 'dead bodies' who kept moving about to get more comfortable, so we had to shout out over a loud-hailer, 'Stop moving - You're supposed to be dead!'"
  • A faux music shop was created for the video as a secret entrance to the facility. It was so realistic, Bush said, that passers-by kept popping in wanting to buy some of the instruments.
  • Top Of The Pops refused to air the video because it was deemed too violent.
  • The video was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video, but lost to Genesis' "Land of Confusion."

Comments: 5

  • Rod from Gainesville, FlREMINDS me of the use of horrible musci to torment Noriega into surrendering when he was holed up under catholic church protection, or the use of loud music to induce sleep deprivation. LET me also hear pledge my eternal devotion to our Kate!
  • Mikey from London, EnglandThis song is based on secret Government experiments during the 40's and 50's to develop a weapon that would play a sound that could kill someone from a far distance. According to rumours, the sound they discovered that could manage this was the sound of a woman's screams when she was just told that her baby had died.
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyNo longer science fiction, it's beginning to appear that the US Navy's experimental ocean broadcasts of special sonar to detect enemy submarines is killing whales and dolphins by the hundreds. The sea mammals are washing ashore, dying of hemmoraged brains. Of course, the Navy denies their sonar is responsible and refuses to stop the development and use. Sounds can already kill, and I've no doubt the military won't stop at sea mammals, with something so prospectively 'useful.' Do a web search using the words 'sonar' 'navy' and 'mammals' for more info.
  • Andrew from Salem, MaThe video for this song stars well known British actors Peter Vaughan, Richard Vernon, Dawn French and Hugh Laurie, a traditon Kate began with Donald Sutherland for the 'Cloudbusting' video and continued with 'This Woman's Work, featuring Tim McInnerny.
  • Andy from Hunterdon, NjThis "might" be a reference to Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" (written some 30+ years earlier). In that novel, the evil government engages a brilliant (but cowardly and immoral) theoretical scientist to develop technology that is then used to create a top-secret weapon nicknamed "The Xylophone". The "Xylophone" uses soundwaves to kill living things stationed at a far distance from the weapon.
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