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Strange Phenomena: 10 Kate Bush Facts You Need To Know
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Strange Phenomena: 10 Kate Bush Facts You Need To Know

Think you know everything there is to know about the pop visionary? These Kate Bush facts may surprise you…

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Since emerging in 1978 with her smash hit debut single, Wuthering Heights, Kate Bush has not only been one of the most beloved musicians on the planet, but also one of the most fascinating. Fans have followed her career with a devotion rare in the pop world, but here are ten Kate Bush facts even they may have missed…

Listen to the best of Kate Bush here, and check out the Kate Bush facts you need to know, below.

1: David Bowie’s final Ziggy Stardust gig was a formative influence on her

Kate Bush learned from the best. Shortly before her 15th birthday she attended one of the most notorious gigs of all time – the 3 July 1973 show that saw David Bowie “kill off” his Ziggy Stardust persona. After Bowie’s death, Bush told The Guardian: “He created such staggeringly brilliant work, yes, but so much of it and it was so good. There are great people who make great work but who else has left a mark like his? No one like him.”

2: She was the 70s’ answer to The Karate Kid

Kate’s eldest brother, John, was an instructor at Goldsmiths College Karate Club, and the young singer practiced the martial art in between writing scores of songs and poetry for the school magazine. At the club she earned the nickname “Ee-ee” because of her squeaky kiai – the battle cry shouted by combatants when performing an attacking move.

3: James Bond producers asked her to sing the theme to ‘Moonraker’

The theme tune for Moonraker, the 11th film in the James Bond franchise, had a bumpy ride to the big screen. Firstly, Frank Sinatra was considered to sing it, before crooner Johnny Mathis signed up. When Mathis became unhappy with the song, producers turned to Kate Bush – the hottest property in pop after the release of Wuthering Heights. But her record label said she was too busy to do the honours. Bond veteran Shirley Bassey eventually recorded it, turning it into one of the best James Bond theme songs in the process.

4: Kate Bush interviewed herself for fan-club newsletters

In the 20th and 21st issues of the Kate Bush Club magazine, both published in 1987, Kate was interviewed by two fictitious characters – her aunt Hetty and cousin Zwort Finkle. Well, why not? When “Zwort” asked Kate why she didn’t do many interviews, her answer was revealing: “I find it very difficult to express myself in interviews,” she said. “Often people have so many preconceptions that I spend most of the interview trying to defend myself from the image that was created by the media eight years ago.”

5: Fleetwood Mac asked her to support them on their ‘Rumours’ tour

In 1978, Fleetwood Mac were the biggest act in the world, thanks to the runaway success of their 11th album, Rumours. The band approached Kate Bush and asked her to support them on their massive US tour in support of the album, but Kate declined, preferring to concentrate on developing her own shows. In a 2011 interview with BBC Radio 2, Stevie Nicks picked one of the best Kate Bush songs of all time, the Hounds Of Love single Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God), as one of her own favourite songs, saying, “That song I really loved because, what a great writer she is, and Running Up That Hill was one of those songs that, when I first heard it, I went, ‘Oh I wanna record that song someday.’”

6: Kate Bush pioneered the use of wireless mic headsets

While wireless mics had been used in concert from the mid-70s by acts including The Rolling Stones and Todd Rundgren, Kate Bush was the first artist to have a headset made with a wireless mic included. The technology meant that Kate was free to perform the expressive dance routines she’d envisaged for her 1979 Tour Of Life shows without missing a note. The mics went on to become commonplace in pop shows.

7: She once told her fans she’d seen a UFO in Scotland

Writing in the Christmas 1981 issue of the Kate Bush Club magazine, Kate described a recent trip to Loch Ness, where she believed she’d seen a UFO. “I noticed three lights in the sky, descending in a diagonal line. Then they formed a horizontal line and remained static just below a layer of cloud. There were huge circular orange lights; and we set off in the car in hot pursuit. We thought maybe they were some kind of stadium lights, but they were too near to the clouds; and we had never seen aircraft with such big lights, nor that colour.”

8: She got more than she bargained for when she worked with Prince

While the pair had admired each other’s work for many years, Kate Bush and Prince only met for the first time backstage during the latter’s 1990 run of shows at London’s Wembley Arena – part of the Nude Tour, staged in support of his Graffiti Bridge album. The meeting went well enough for Kate to ask Prince to provide backing vocals for Why Should I Love You, a near-complete song she’d been working on. Prince went one better, totally reimagining the song, adding keys, guitar solos and bass. Apparently taken aback by the results, Kate then worked further on the song, blending her work with Prince’s before releasing it on her 1994 album, The Red Shoes.

9: ‘The Simpsons’ used her music to soundtrack an episode

When the team behind The Simpsons looked to soundtrack Mathlete’s Feet, a 2015 episode in which rival schools’ maths teams competed against one another, they turned to Kate Bush’s music. The song π, from Kate’s 2005 album, Aerial, in which she describes a man’s obsession with numbers by reciting the first 137 numbers of the mathematical constant π (or Pi), soundtracks a competition montage. While Kate doesn’t correctly sing all of the digits and misses others out – leading to fan speculation over her intentions – Bart and Lisa Simpson’s maths team eventually prevail, despite a rocky start.

10: Some fans have a secret message from Kate

On the 2023 reprint of her selected lyrics, How To Be Invisible, it was revealed that Kate had lined up a typically mischievous treat for fans. A limited number of the books were signed by the artist, with a few even including a handwritten message from Kate. The catch? The message was written in invisible ink, so the note was only revealed when the page was placed under ultraviolet light.

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