The Big Sky

Album: Hounds Of Love (1985)
Charted: 37
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is about someone sitting and watching the clouds change, like many of us have done as a child. Sometimes the clouds will change into shapes that remind you of a person or object. "I think we forget these pleasures as adults," Bush explained in a 1985 fan club newsletter. "We don't get as much time to enjoy those kinds of things, or think about them, we feel silly about what we used to do naturally. The song is also suggesting the coming of the next flood - how perhaps the 'fools on the hills' will be the wise ones." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lee - Ottawa, Canada
  • Bassist Martin "Youth" Glover of the British rock band Killing Joke brought a rock-and-roll energy to the track. Bush had a lot of trouble figuring out what the song should sound like and went through a few arrangements and melody lines before she pinned it down. Del Palmer, Bush's longtime bassist/engineer who manned the drum machine on the tune, credits Youth for bringing the right sound. Palmer told Musician in 1985: "He plays that particular style that's just perfect for that kind of track. That was very much a case of getting the right person for the right thing on the right track. Horses for courses."
  • The music video, directed by Bush, finds the singer on rooftops peering at the sky through giant binoculars. She ends up in a crowd of sky-bound travelers, including aviators, astronauts, and even Superman, then heads to the stage for a performance. Bush put a call in to her fan club to round out the audience for the scene. "Two hundred beautifully behaved people arrived on the day of the shoot," she recalled. "It was very moving, they filled us all up with energy - It made it feel like a real concert."
  • The clip was nominated for Best Female Video at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards (Madonna took the prize for "Papa Don't Preach").
  • This was the album's fourth and final single. It had its greatest chart success in Ireland, where it peaked at #15.
  • Martin "Youth" Glover told Mojo magazine about his contribution to the song:

    "She sent a car to take me over to her family's house in Welling. My bass rig was basically a half PA, so we loaded it whole into the back of this Volvo estate, and I think Kate was quite impressed. I'd shared a rehearsal space with Motorhead, and I was trying to sound like 'Family Man' Barrett [from Bob Marley and the Wailers] crossed with Lemmy [of Motorhead], who played it more like a guitar, and if you hear my one part that got used, on 'The Big Sky,' it's got a quite a fierce, metallic sound. And then, if you hear the drum overdubs towards the end, they're very tribal, very Killing Joke."

Comments: 3

  • Jim from New Jersey, UsaIf I recall correctly, she confessed in a contemporaneous interview to being a little inebriated when she did the screaming overdubs.
  • Jason from Ibiza, SpainYou're more or less right, Simon. It was Kate's way of responding to hte critical slating of her previoius album The Dreaming; with this song she tries to convey that her music is wide and open and not as aclectic and inaccessible as on The Dreaming LP.
  • Simon from Southampton, EnglandI always thought this song was about Kate's relationship with the press and how they have never understood her. 'The Big Sky' reffers to her artistic flare, and how the press 'look down at the ground, missing'
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