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Kate Bush, from Bexleyheath to EMI and Beyond, the amazing London Story

Kate Bush, Singer, songwriter, performer, dancer & record producer
The Rose of Lee Pub which is now called The Dirty South 162 Lee High Rd, London SE13 5PR. Where Kate Bush played her first Gig
The Rose of Lee Pub which is now called The Dirty South 162 Lee High Rd, London SE13 5PR. Where Kate Bush played her first Gig

2014 Singer, songwriter, performer, dancer & record producer; Kate Bush  1st live comeback in 35 yrs

Kate Bush, Singer, Songwriter, Musician and record producer

No matter how old you were or where you were in the world when you first heard a Kate Bush song there is something classically timeless about her voice and music.

Her high vocal range and stunning ability to change key several times and the fact that she was not like the punk era sound of the time, created a new mysterious feminine sound of the mid-70s that in itself has created a signature timestamp to that era in musical history.

Kate Bush was the first woman to have 8 albums in the UK charts at the same time, also a pioneer for being a British female to get to number one with a self-written song.

Elton John has said in documentaries, Kate Bush is somewhat of an Enigma and that there had not been another Kate Bush since.

Her enigmatic performance skills, mixing dance, mime, theatre have been the source of inspiration for many other artists. Her music videos had creative themes and costumes. She had taken lessons from mime artist dancer Lindsay Kemp.

Receiving awards for, Best British Female Artist years later 1987, Ivor Novello award, Nominated for Grammy Awards. Also countless awards along the way. Awarded the CBE title 2013.

Introduction: Taken from #OnThisDay https://www.hangerlondon.com/on-this-day/30th-august/

Kate Bush journey starts, Bexleyheath South East London

Catherine Bush was born in Bexleyheath Maternity hospital. Growing up in South East London, East Wickham Farm around Wickham St Welling. Kate attended St Joseph’s Convent Grammar School in Sidcup.

When she was a teenager she moved to live in the middle flat on Wickham Road SE4 1NZ. Her Brothers occupied the other two flats of the large looking house. From the mid-1980s till the early 2000’s she lived not far from Mottingham station Eltham on Court Road (photo lower down).

Kate Bush Wickham Road

Our visit starts at St Johns Railway station in London.

St Johns Rail station St. Johns Vale,Lewisham SE8 4EW. Served by Southeastern rail London Bridge being one main station that runs through.
St Johns Rail station
St. Johns Vale, Lewisham
SE8 4EW. Served by Southeastern rail London Bridge being one main station that runs through.

 

St Johns Rail station this road over the bridge is St. Johns Vale,Lewisham SE8 4EW. With this view behind you walk follow the signs for Lewisham College Lewisham Way A20 the main road ahead.
St Johns Rail station this road over the bridge is St. Johns Vale, Lewisham SE8 4EW. With this view behind you walk follow the signs for Lewisham College Lewisham Way A20 the main road ahead.

 

St Johns Rail station has some character to the bridge, church, and streets around it. The new builds behind the old low-level housing. It is a short walk to Lewisham College on the A20 Lewisham way, the main target to head towards if you are interested in looking at Wickham road, turn left to get to 44.

Just walking around those streets in the here and now behind Lewisham College. If you go up Breakspears Road turn off at Ashby Road you will come to Wickham Rd.

Alley way found if you go up Ashby rd they appear just before the road turns into Wickham Road
Alleyway found if you go up Ashby rd they appear just before the road turns into Wickham Road

 

The expanse and size of the properties and the mixture of architecture, old trees, gives you the sense that many of these older properties were there when these Kate Bush vocals were rising and expanding, it somehow fits.

Wickham Road SE4
Wickham Road SE4

 

44 Wickham Rd SE4 Where Kate Bush once lived at the Dawn of her Career
Where Kate Bush once lived at the Dawn of her Career
44 Wickham Rd SE4 Kate Bush early career home
Kate Bush early career home

 

44 Wickham Rd SE4 Kate Bush early career home
Wickham Rd SE4 Kate Bush early career home

 

44 Wickham Rd SE4 Kate Bush early career home towards late 1970's
Wickham Rd SE4 Kate Bush early career home towards the late 1970s

 

Preservation of Victorian and Edwardian houses in South East London

The Brockley Society was formed in 1970 by Gillian Heywood MBE to stop demolition around these Brockley streets. Victorian and Edwardian sites were at risk in favour of ugly Brutalist designs.

mixture of architechtural style showing what you would see the sky replaced with if the old buildings were taken away.
a mixture of architectural style showing what you would see the sky replaced with if the old buildings were taken away.

 

Lewisham College one of its buildings.
Lewisham College one of its buildings.

 

The Kate Bush EMI record deal

In 1976 Kate Bush signed to EMI by Terry Slater, her demo tapes had been that good, but EMI had not seen her perform, and thought she needed some finishing touches. David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, through a family friend, had helped Kate in the years before, to prepare a demo tape that was industry worthy. It was suggested by EMI, that Kate gained more live experience. She formed with people she knew, Brian Bath, guitarist, Vic King, drummer, and Del Palmer, a bass player the KT Bush Band.

Kate Bush and the early London Gigs

Kate and her band started to gig, playing in local venues/pubs. Her first solo gig March 1977 was In the Rose of Lee now called the Dirty South in Lewisham, see photo below.

Once back on the Lewisham way rd, outside Lewisham College, there is a bus stop on the opposite side of the road, the 321 bus goes all the way to The Dirty South Venue on Lee High road just past the Lidl shop all on the right-hand side of the road.

 

The Rose of Lee Pub which is now called The Dirty South 162 Lee High Rd, London SE13 5PR. Where Kate Bush played her first Gig
The Rose of Lee Pub which is now called The Dirty South 162 Lee High Rd, London SE13 5PR. Where Kate Bush played her first Gig

 

The Rose of Lee Pub which is now called The Dirty South 162 Lee High Rd, London SE13 5PR. Where Kate Bush played her first Gig
The Rose of Lee Pub which is now called The Dirty South 162 Lee High Rd, London SE13 5PR. Where Kate Bush played her first Gig

 

Brian Southall saw Kate perform was impressed and could see the theatrical elements to her performance as being different. Accounts of these gigs give the impression this was not really Kate’s thing and because of the theatrical costume or different presentation to the hard attitude of punk or mainly male acts of the time, she would be mistaken for some kind of stripper act!

Kate Bush London Venues in the early days that you can see today

Rose of Lee now called “The Dirty South” on Lee High road. March 1977

The  Black Cat in Catford

The Duke of Richmond, Earls Court,

The White Hart, Tottenham

The Target, Northolt

Tiffany’s Harlow

The Railway Hotel Putney

The Trafalgar, Kings Road, Chelsea

The Half Moon, Putney

The Great Northern Hotel Kings Cross

Emi listened to her showcase at the White Elephant in Mayfair. Decided she was ready to start on studio work,  August 1977 work started on the  Album “The Kick Inside” This was released in 1978 when Kate was 19 but some of the songs she had written when she was 13.

Wuthering Heights the 1978 hit

In January 1978 her hit “Wuthering Heights” was the debut single for the Kick Inside Album inspired from seeing last part of 1967 BBC series on Wuthering heights then read the book by Emily Brontë.  It’s thought Bush had written this song in the spring of 1977. The Queens Silver Jubilee year.

Wuthering Heights Home

Around the Mid 1980s, Kate Bush moved into a mansion looking home not far from Mottingham station on the way to Eltham Palace. Court Road SE9 5AG

99 Court Road SE9 5AG Kate bush former Mansion home.
Court Road SE9 5AG Kate bush former Mansion home.

 

99 Court Road SE9 5AG Kate bush former Mansion home.
Court Road SE9 5AG Kate bush former Mansion home.

 

99 Court Road SE9 5AG Kate bush former Mansion home.
Court Road SE9 5AG Kate bush former Mansion home.

 

Mottingham station also connects back to London Bridge and St Johns. Buses that go down Court road, 161,124,126.

Some birth date trivia.

Born Catherine Bush Born 30-7-58 in South East London Bexleyheath sharing the same birthday as Emily Brontë. This makes her a Leo Fire sign in the Zodiac and the Dog in the Chinese Zodiac.

Famous Musicians with Leo stars sign

  • Demi Lovato,
  • Jennifer Lopez,
  • Whitney Houston,
  • Madonna,
  • Mick Jagger,
  • Patrick Swayze,
  • Lynda Carter who not only played wonder woman but had been a former Miss world USA 1972 as well as a songwriter,

Famous Musical people with the Chinese zodiac sign of the Dog

  • Elvis Presley,
  • Michael Jackson,
  • Madonna,
  • Justin Bieber

The Kate Bush Time Line, Singles, Outfits and more

Kate Bush in 1978

Wuthering Heights:

Long red bohemian type dress with ragged hemlines.

The Man with the Child in His Eyes:

Soft focus blur camera effect on Kate as she sits knees performs in what seems like a skin tone bikini catsuit that blends into the soft background.

Hammer Horror:

Black stretch catsuit with a long evening black gown over the top with long leg slit. Crimped type looking hair vintage black small French type looking hat with red rose. Contemporary dancing with a black masked male.

Kate Bush in 1979

Wow:

Kate in a range of leotard and tights and legging dance fitness wear and on-stage costumes revolving around in time with the music.

Kate Bush in 1980

Breathing:

Soft focus Kate wrapped in a plastic clear wrap, cellophane inside some kind of clear bubble

Babooshka:

Costume-wise, Interesting lycra black catsuit with black veil this turned into a futuristic cave girl type warrior bikini costume reminding one of tomb raider leg knife straps.

Army Dreamers:

Kate close up of her feminine makeup but dressed in a green soldier outfit in the forest with other male dancers dressed in the same camouflage soldier outfits.

December Will Be Magic Again

Kate Bush in 1981

Sat in Your Lap:

White satin ballet type skinny strapped bodice to a white netting tulle skirt like a tutu, like a wedding gown but short. Kneeling with pink leg warmers on her arms. Performing arm movements and then switching to white trouser outfit with flowing cape and pointed white had that has a D on and white roller skates.

Kate Bush in 1982

The Dreaming:

A fitted boiler suit pale cream with futuristic tubes entwined in the design, with other dancers with tribal face paint and moves.

There Goes a Tenner:

Kate in a black boiler suit like a robber outfit. Feminine make up with a few face dirt marks.

Suspended in Gaffa:

Grey type padded boiler suit that looks like a straight jacket in a dusty environment of a sell

Kate Bush in 1983

Ne T’enfuis pas

Night of the Swallow

Kate Bush in 1985

Running Up That Hill:

Costume Kate Bush performing contemporary Ballet type routine with a male both dressed in grey flowing clothes.

Cloudbusting:

Kate Bush in 1986

Hounds of  Love:

Kate wears 40s style tweed looking skirt suit with a soft patterned jumper, men dressed in overcoats and 40s style hats.

The Big Sky:

Kate wears a metallic Silver boiler suit overalls, lace-up heeled boots, with a range of hats pilot, fireman, nelsons type

Don’t Give Up with Peter Gabriel

Experiment IV

Kate Bush in 1989

The Sensual World:

Kate wearing a long dark burgundy looking medieval dress with a medieval style pillbox hat that had a veil that trailed behind and under the chin in a contrasting soft pastel mauve lilac looking colour, she dances through a forest.

This Woman’s Work:

Kate wears a black jumpsuit with wide leg trousers and fitted bodice top

Kate Bush in 1990

Love and Anger

Kate Bush in 1991

Rocket Man

Kate Bush in 1993

Rubberband Girl

Moments of Pleasure:

Stunning strapless gown black fitted boned type bodice with black glistening feathers, one long satin red glove, red skirt section, revolving round in a windy snow storm.

Kate Bush in 1994

The Red Shoes:

Kate wears Long black flowing dress, with vivid satin red pointe Ballet shoes

Eat the Music:

Long flowing dress long sleeves fitted fabric is white pale with fruit patterned fabric, pointe red ballet shoes

The Man I Love with Larry Adler

And So Is Love

Kate Bush in 2005

King of the Mountain

Kate Bush in 2007

Lyra

Kate Bush in 2011

Deeper Understanding

Wild Man

Kate Bush in 2012

Running Up That Hill 2012 remix

Kate Bush in 2016

And Dream of Sheep.

Kate Bush Album Discography

The Albums

  1. The Kick Inside  17/2/78
  2. Lionheart  13/11/78
  3. Never For Ever 8/9/80
  4. The Dreaming 13/9/82
  5. Hounds of Love
  6. 16/9/85
  7. The Whole Story Compilation Album 10/11/86
  8. The Sensual World 17/10/89
  9. The Red Shoes 2/11/93
  10. Aerial 7/11/2005
  11. Director’s Cut 16/5/2011
  12. 50 words for Snow 21/11/2011
  13. Before the Dawn  25/11/2016
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