The Kick Inside

The Kick Inside

Kate Bush knows how to make a grand entrance. At age 19, she spent four weeks at No. 1 on the UK Singles chart with her debut single, “Wuthering Heights”—making her the first female artist ever to top the UK charts with a song she wrote completely by herself. As the title implies, the lyrics were a literary tour de force: Bush wrote the song from the perspective of Catherine, the protagonist of Emily Brontë’s novel of the same name, as she visits her beloved Heathcliff from the afterlife. With its marriage of delicate piano and Bush’s siren-like vocals, “Wuthering Heights” was also a blueprint for her 1978 debut album, The Kick Inside. Comprising songs she had amassed for years—the soaring, orchestrated “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” and aptly named “The Saxophone Song” were even on her 1975 demo, which was produced by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour—the album is elegant and wise, suffused with gratitude and gorgeous music. Bush worked with session musicians who had worked with groups such as Pilot, The Alan Parsons Project, and Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel to craft theatrical rock (“James and the Cold Gun”), prog with a jazzy bent (“Strange Phenomena”), and baroque-pop (the synth-driven “Oh to Be in Love”). Lyrically, Bush drew on her own life for perceptive, heartfelt lyrics; notably, “Moving” was inspired by classes she took from mime artist Lindsay Kemp, while “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” is about a relationship with an older man who hasn’t lost his innocence. The Kick Inside made Bush an instant star and, today, it’s considered one of the most striking debut albums of all time—a testament to the power of nurturing original voices.

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