“The Kick Inside” by Kate Bush (1978)
Release Date: February 17, 1978
Produced by Andrew Powell
Genre: Art-Rock, Art-Pop, Baroque Pop
Label: EMI (UK), Harvest (US and Canada)
Chart Positions: #1 (Netherlands), #2 (New Zealand, Belgium), #3 (UK, Australia, France), #4 (Norway), #8 (Sweden), #21 (Germany), #37 (Japan), #95 (Canada)
Certifications: 3xPlatinum (Canada), Platinum (UK, Netherlands, Australia), Gold (New Zealand)
Singles: “Wuthering Heights” #1 (New Zealand, UK, France, Italy, Ireland, Australia, Holland), #3 (Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil), #4 (Belgium), #6 (Sweden), #7 (Norway, Poland), #8 (Switzerland), #11 (Germany), #17 (Austria), #108 (US), “The Man With The Child In His Eyes” #1 (France), #3 (Ireland), #6 (UK), #22 (Australia), #23 (Netherlands), #36 (New Zealand), #85 (US)
Singles Certifications: "Wuthering Heights" Platinum (New Zealand), Gold (UK, Australia)
While attending a Catholic girls' school in South East London, in the mid-1970s, Kate’s family produced a demo tape with over 50 of her compositions, which was turned down by record labels. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd received the demo from Ricky Hopper, a mutual friend of Gilmour and the Bush family. Impressed with what he heard, Gilmour helped the sixteen-year-old Bush get a more professional-sounding demo tape recorded that would be more saleable to the record companies. Three tracks in total were recorded and paid for by Gilmour. The tape was produced by Gilmour's friend Andrew Powell (who would go on to produce Bush's first two albums) and sound engineer Geoff Emerick. The tape was sent to EMI executive Terry Slater. Slater was impressed by the tape and signed her.
Bush released her debut album, “The Kick Inside,” on February 17, 1978 when she was 19 years old, but some of the songs had been written when she was as young as 13. The production included efforts by several progressive rock veterans, including Duncan Mackay, Ian Bairnson, David Paton, Andrew Powell, and Stuart Elliott both of The Alan Parsons Project, and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.
Six different varieties of the album's cover are known and is Bush's only album to have a different cover in the UK, the U.S., Canada, Yugoslavia, Japan and Uruguay (the Uruguay cover being the rarest and most expensive - an example sold on eBay for over $400).
The Kick Inside Original British Album Cover
“The Kick Inside” was an immediate hit throughout the world reaching the Top 10 in several countries in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, including #1 in Netherlands and #2 in New Zealand. Despite this success the album failed to chart in the US.
EMI originally wanted the more rock-oriented track "James and the Cold Gun" to be her début single, but Bush insisted that it should be "Wuthering Heights". Even at this early stage of her career, she had gained a reputation for her determination to have a say in decisions affecting her work. Kate stated, "I felt that to actually get your name anywhere, you've got to do something that is unusual." The song was not initially inspired by Emily Brontë's novel but by a television adaptation, although Bush read the novel later in order to (in her own words) "get the research right." Bush reportedly wrote the song within the space of just a few hours late at night. The guitar solo is by Ian Bairnson, formerly of Pilot. In the mid-'70s, they had a #5 hit in the US with "Magic" and a chart topper in the UK with "January." Two music videos were created to accompany "Wuthering Heights". In one version, Bush can be seen performing the song in a dark room filled with white mist while wearing a white dress (which was the UK release); in the other, the singer dances in an outdoor environment while wearing a red dress (which was done for the American release). "Wuthering Heights" was officially released in early 1978 and entered the top forty in the official singles chart in the United Kingdom at number twenty-seven on 18 February, and quickly rose to number one three weeks later dethroning ABBA's "Take a Chance on Me" from the top spot. Bush became the first female artist to have a self-penned number one hit in the UK. The single release unwittingly pitted Bush against another female vocalist also charting with her first UK hit: Debbie Harry with her band Blondie and their single "Denis". Amid much public discussion about the two singers' merits, Bush came out on top, while Blondie stalled at number two. Success was not limited to the UK and became a huge hit throughout the world having reached #1 in Italy, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It also reached the top ten in many other countries including South Africa, Brazil, Poland and others. Despite it’s universal popularity the song only made it to #108 in the US. The single was certified Gold by the BPI for sales of 500,000 in the UK. Pat Benatar covered “Wuthering Heights” for her 1980 album “Crimes of Passion.”
"Withering Heights" (1978)
The album's second single, "The Man with the Child in His Eyes", was released and reached number six in the UK charts. Though not quite as big a hit as “Wuthering Heights,” the song was fairly successful making it to #1 in France and #3 in Ireland. The song tells of a relationship between a young girl and an older man. She sees him as an all-consuming figure; he's wise yet retains a certain innocent quality. He's a very real character to the girl, but nobody else knows if he really exists. Kate wrote the song because of a quality she saw in most of the men that she knew, how they are all little boys inside and how wonderful it is that they managed to retain this magic. Although the song was first released on her debut album The Kick Inside, it was actually recorded in 1975 when Kate was only 16 years old. It was recorded at David Gilmour's expense at London's Air Studios. The song was Kate’s first to make it into the Billboard’s US Top 100 reaching #85. Along with this song David Gilmour was also listed as the Executive Producer of "The Saxophone Song."
Three other singles were released over the world during next two years: "Them Heavy People", "Moving" (which reached number one in Japan) and "Strange Phenomena." “Them Heavy People” was released as a single in only the UK and Japan (under the title “Rolling the Ball” and reached #3 in Japan). “Moving” was released only in Japan while “Strange Phenomena” released only in Brazil.
Bush wrote, “Moving” for her dance teacher Lindsay Kemp. It's about how a person discovers free expression. "Strange Phenomena" speaks about déjà vu, synchronicity and how coincidences sometimes cluster together in seemingly meaningful ways.
“Kite” one of the most popular tracks from the album was used as the b-side to “Wuthering Heights.”
Fan favorite, “Oh To Be In Love” opens gently but soon gives way to diverse style which manages to blend sixties Britpop, robotic Japanese and the British brass band feel into the musical accompaniment as Kate delivers sublime vocal melodies and exquisite displays of range and tone. Kate's brother Paddy Bush played mandolin on this song as well as doing backing vocals on "Them Heavy People."
Kate Bush (1978)