When Kate wrote this song she was trying to emulate the Pink Floyd sound - "something spacey." David Gilmour of Pink Floyd helped nurture her career by financing her demo tapes and helping her land a record deal.
This is a song about show business, not just rock music but the entertainment world in general, including acting and theater. Bush is portraying a female movie star (probably a sex symbol) and the song is a send-up to various aspects of show business. "People say that the music business is about ripoffs, the rat race, competition, strain, people trying to cut you down, and so on, and though that's all there, there's also the magic," she explained in a 1979 Kate Bush Club newsletter.
The line, "He's too busy hitting the Vaseline," refers to the fact that there are a lot of homosexuals in show business. She did not mean this as a criticism, but just as an observation.
Lee - Ottawa, Canada, for all above
In the original music video, Kate appears in a darkened studio, twirling out of thin air. When she hits the chorus, she's illuminated by spotlights. One gesture got the clip censored by the BBC: When Kate sings the line about Vaseline, she suggestively pats her behind (implying its use as a sexual lubricant).
A second video was made when the song was included on her 1986 compilation album, The Whole Story. That version features a montage of Kate's live performances.
Kate performed this on the TV special ABBA in Switzerland in April 1979.
The album was recorded from July to September of 1978, and Kate struggled under the time constraints. She became more self-conscious and wanted to do multiple takes of the songs until she was satisfied, much to the dismay of her producer, Andrew Powell, who preferred one-take vocals. Powell recalled to MOJO in 2003: "For 'Wow' she did a very musical guide vocal, but she sang it maybe four or five times an hour ten hours a day for a week. At times one would try to convince her that her performance was great, but if she was really unhappy she had to have the chance to do it again. She was optimistic every time. Not necessarily easy to share. Physically very demanding and intensely frustrating for her."