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Here’s Kate Bush’s best songs to celebrate her 65th birthday

With Kate Bush's 65th birthday today, here's a look back at some of the finest work from one of Britain's greatest songwriters.

Image via EMI

At the age of 19, Kate Bush released her first album, The Kick Inside. The album was critically acclaimed and marked the start of an incredible career that saw Bush repeatedly prove herself to be one of the greatest living songwriters. On July 30, she turns 65 years old.

Here is a list – though by no means an exhaustive one – of 10 of her best songs.

10. “The Man With The Child In His Eyes” (1978)

Bush wrote “The Man With The Child In His Eyes” when she was just 13 years old, and recorded it at the age of 16 (collaborating with Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame). Gilmour feared that record companies might not appreciate Bush’s unique sound, but the floaty piano accompanied by Bush’s airy vocals made the song a hit.

The strength of the song helped to make Bush’s debut album The Kick Inside a huge success.

9. “Them Heavy People” (1978)

Another from The Kick Inside, “Them Heavy People” is a quirky and upbeat song about trying to learn all you can from various religious teachings. “It’s nearly killing me, but what a lovely feeling!”

The song also has one of many great music videos produced by Bush over her career, featuring some characteristically creative dancing – not to mention Kate getting a bottle smashed over her head.

8. “Wow” (1979)

A song about show-business, “Wow” has more of Bush’s trademark celestial vocals, and it all leads into an explosive, triumphant chorus of the song’s title being repeated over and over. As with many of Bush’s songs, the track is a brilliantly-crafted piece of pop that nevertheless retains a creative, artistic quality not often seen in popular music.

And, as ever, the music video is worth a look for a perfect example of Bush’s unique artistic dancing, which manages to be both captivating and hilarious.

7. “The Big Sky” (1986)

A piano-driven masterpiece that soon turns into blazing guitar riffs and a driving bassline, “The Big Sky” is another perfect example of Bush’s ability to write superb pop that still retains a unique art rock twist. The song comes from the 1986 album Hounds of Love – not only arguably Bush’s greatest album, but perhaps one of the best albums ever created.

Bush’s talent for wonderfully dreamy, poetic lyrics is put to good use too – mixing a sense of playfulness and genuine emotion, as the singer looks up at the clouds and realises “you never understood me, you never really tried.”

6. “Army Dreamers” (1980)

An anti-war waltz from the perspective of a mother grieving the loss of her son, “Army Dreamers” is a protest song like no other. The hard-hitting lyrics and haunting backing vocals match with the steady pace of the waltz to convey a true feeling of unease and despair.

Once again, the accompanying music video is a must-watch – Kate gets blown up at the end, and pulls off one of the most dramatic stunt falls in music video history.

5. “Hounds of Love” (1986)

The title track from “Hounds of Love” combines a beautiful melody with a powerful drumbeat and more of Bush’s outstanding vocal work. Like the album that shares its name, the track is full of awe-inspiring, rich melodies and powerful vocals.

Bush directed the music video herself, and took inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps.

4. “Cloudbusting” (1986)

Inspired by the 1973 memoir of Peter Reich, titled A Book of Dreams, “Cloudbusting” is yet another extraordinary piece of baroque pop from the titanic “Hounds of Love” album. With dreamy vocals and swirling melodies, the song represents the moment that the album truly becomes transcendent.

The music video is as lush as the song itself. A short film planned by Bush and Terry Gillam (of Monty Python fame), the video casts Bush as Peter Reich and Donald Sutherland as Wilhelm, Peter’s father.

Peter himself was elated. He told Dazed: “quite magically, this British musician had tapped precisely into a unique and magical fulfilment of father-son devotion, emotion and understanding. They had captured it all.”

The ethereal line “I just know that something good is gonna happen” was famously sampled by Utah Saints for their house classic “Something Good” – the only time Bush has ever officially approved the use of a sample of her music.

3. “Babooshka” (1980)

Telling the story of a woman who sends her husband love letters under an alias to test his loyalty, “Babooshka” is an outstanding piece of songwriting. With a slow, deliberate verse that builds into a spectacular chorus, the song represents yet another moment in which Bush was able to effortlessly combine catchy pop with some truly unique songwriting.

A great song needed a great video, and Bush’s interpretive dance skills are once again used to great effect, with the aid of a dramatic costume change and a giant spinning cello.

The sound of glass shattering at the end is one of the first ever samples created on the then-new Fairlight CMI synthesizer.

2. “Running Up That Hill” (1985)

One of Bush’s best and most beloved songs, and her first ever Top 40 hit in the USA, “Running Up That Hill” is a classic piece of synth-pop. Bush wrote the song in a single evening, and in doing so created one of the standout works of her career.

The song enjoyed renewed fame last year after featuring in Stranger Things. This resurgence in popularity was such that it allowed the song to re-enter the charts, and introduced a whole new generation to Kate Bush.

1. “Wuthering Heights” (1978)

Based on Emily Bronte’s classic novel (which Bush had never actually read at the time of writing the song), Bush wrote “Wuthering Heights” at the age of 18 over the course of a few short hours. With a song this good released as her debut single, Bush’s career as a music legend was pretty much guaranteed from the start.

Starting with a haunting piano and gradually ramping its way up into a gothic masterpiece, “Wuthering Heights” is one of Bush’s trademark songs for good reason. The vocal, sang from the perspective of the ghost of Catherine, is an extraordinary piece of work, showing off Bush’s incredible range.

“Wuthering Heights” is best experienced alongside its music video, in which Bush’s legendary interpretive dance skills brilliantly convey the emotions of Catherine’s ghost. The video came out in an era when music videos were rare, and its overwhelming popularity proved a milestone for the medium.

Matthew Doherty
About the author

Matthew Doherty

Matthew Doherty is a writer at We Got This Covered. His work has also appeared on WorthPoint and The Collector. Matthew loves to write about anything TV and movie related, but has an obsession for all things Star Trek. In his spare time, he is writing a science fiction novel that will be finished at some point in the 22nd Century.