Singer, songwriter, performer, dancer & 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 a stunning ability to change key several times, producing a sound unlike anything else from the era of punk. The artist joined the few whose sound book marked the decade of its origination, the mid 1970s.
Kate Bush was the first female artist to achieve 8 albums in the UK charts and a number one with a self-written song.
“Kate Bush is 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.
The beginning of the Kate Bush story, 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 near to Mottingham station Eltham on Court Road (photo lower down).
Our visit starts at St Johns railway station in London.
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 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.
Preservation of Victorian and Edwardian houses in South East London, Gillian Heywood MBE created The Brockley Society in 1970 by to stop the demolition of Victorian and Edwardian houses around the streets of Brockley. The fashion had changed brutalist designs.
Signing with EMI
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. EMI suggested, 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 road, 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.
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 a 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 songs she had written when she was 13.
The House called Wuthering Heights
In January 1978 her hit “Wuthering Heights” was the debut single for the Kick Inside Album inspired from seeing the last part of the 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.
Around the Mid 1980s, Kate Bush moved into a mansion looking home near to Mottingham station on the way to Eltham Palace. Court Road SE9 5AG
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.
The Kate Bush Time Line
Kate Bush in The 1970’s
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.
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 a red rose. Contemporary dancing with a black-masked male.
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
Soft focus Kate wrapped in a plastic clear wrap, cellophane inside some kind of clear bubble
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.
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
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 a flowing cape and pointed white had that has a D on and white roller skates.
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
Ne T’enfuis pas
Night of the Swallow
Running Up That Hill:
Costume Kate Bush performing a contemporary Ballet type routine with a male both dressed in grey flowing clothes.
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
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
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 snowstorm.
The Red Shoes:
Kate wears a Long black flowing dress, with vivid satin red pointed 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 2000’s
King of the Mountain
Running Up That Hill 2012 remix
And Dream of Sheep.
Kate Bush Album Discography
- The Kick Inside 17/2/78
- Lionheart 13/11/78
- Never For Ever 8/9/80
- The Dreaming 13/9/82
- Hounds of Love
- The Whole Story Compilation Album 10/11/86
- The Sensual World 17/10/89
- The Red Shoes 2/11/93
- Aerial 7/11/2005
- Director’s Cut 16/5/2011
- 50 words for Snow 21/11/2011
- Before the Dawn 25/11/2016
Map of the station near Wuthering Heights