This is about the fear that rules all of us in one way or another, in particular the fear of love. The hounds of love that are hunting you is imagery for love itself as something to be feared, to run away from lest it catch you and rip you up. At the same time, it says that perhaps the hounds are friendly and one should not fear love ("I've always been a coward, and never know what's good for me").
The song was inspired in part by an old black and white movie which was sort of a cult classic in Kate's family titled Night Of The Demon. The movie was about demons who hid waiting in trees - the song's opening line (in a male voice) "It's coming! It's in the trees!" is taken directly from the movie.
The title track from Bush's most commercially successful CD, this was one of the songs from the first portion of the album of which 4 songs had UK chart success. The first 5 songs are very much separate pieces ("Running Up That Hill," "Hounds of Love," "The Big Sky," "Mother Stands for Comfort" and "Cloudbusting"). Of these 5, only "Mother Stands For Comfort" was not a hit. The last 7 songs are a conceptual suite written to be one piece of music. A remaster of the album was released in 1996 with 4 additional songs from the same period.
Lee - Ottawa, Canada
The album was recorded in a windowless studio that Bush had constructed in a converted barn near her parents' house in semi-rural East Wickham, south east of London. Kate Bush (from Q magazine): "People commented on how the album seems very elemental. And I can't help but put quite a lot of that down to the fact that I moved out into the country. The visual stimulus coming in was that of fields and trees, and seeing the elements doing their stuff."
Kate Bush: "The hounds of love are an image really, someone who's afraid of being captured by love; and the imagery is love taking the form of hounds that are hunting them, so they run away because they're afraid of being caught by the hounds and ripped to shreds." (Source NME)
The shot of Kate Bush reclining on the Hounds of Love
album cover was taken by her brother, John Carder Bush. He also supplied backing vocals on "Cloudbusting
" and the narration on "Jig of Life."
An indie-rock cover of this song by The Futureheads was released in 2005, and became that band's first major commercial hit, reaching #8 on the UK Singles chart and getting named Single of the Year by NME magazine.
The hounds of love on the album cover are Kate Bush's two dogs, Bonnie and Clyde. According to an interview with the singer, it took all day to get the hounds to settle down. When the final picture was taken, one of the pooches actually fell asleep on her. On the album sleeve notes Kate gives, "A big woof to Bonnie & Clyde."