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2 September 2014
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Kate Bush by Trevor Leighton
© Trevor Leighton / National Portrait Gallery, London

Biography: Kate Bush

Kate Bush is the grand dame of British pop. Born in 1958 in Bexleyheath, she is known for her unique four octave voice, idiosyncratic lyrics and eccentric performances.

Kate notoriously does things her way – from writing and performing all her music to building her own studio in which to produce it. She shuns the media and rarely tours yet has released eight albums to critical acclaim. After a 12 year hiatus, she returned triumphantly last year with a new album, Arial.

Renowned For

Whilst every other teenager in the country had a mohican, Kate pirouetted onto TV screens in 1978 clad in a leotard with twigs in her hair, singing an ode to Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. She topped the charts for four weeks and was the first female artist to do so with a self-penned song.

Cultural Impact

Probably the only pop artist to enter the Top 20 referencing James Joyce and Gurdjieff, Kate made singing about literature cool and her pop videos into mini epics. She has influenced musicians as diverse as Tupac Shakur, Prince and Madonna.

Her fey, experimental look, coupled with her balletic dance-style, personifies the kind of ‘kooky’ British individualism for which we are famed abroad. She made wearing a leotard past the age of nine acceptable and became an object of desire for British schoolboys.

In Her Own Words

"I think quotes are very dangerous things"

Pub Quiz Trivia

Kate pioneered the celebrity cameo with Donald Sutherland appearing in the Cloudbusting video.
Antony of Antony and The Johnsons by Pieter Van Hattem
The first time I heard a Kate Bush song was when I heard Wuthering Heights and I was instantly seduced. There's a slow mo cartwheel she does in a white dress. I used to gather everyone around and mime to the music video. That's why I learned to do a cartwheel.

Antony from Antony and the Johnsons


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