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Under The Bush: Top 10 Kate Bush deep cuts and hidden gems

Kate Bush

Photo by Gered Mankowitz

Kate Bush has released 10 studio albums in the last 36 years, so to celebrate her London shows – which start tonight – we thought we’d take a look at ten ‘deeper cuts’ from her catalogue, the hidden gems that the casual fan may not be aware of. The rule was one track per album… hope you enjoy the music below.


L’Amour Looks Something Like You (from The Kick Inside – 1978)

Such is Kate’s ability to stretch and distort phrases and vowels you can go decades without knowing the ‘proper’ words to some of her songs, including this effortlessly melodic mid-paced sensual tale. Who knew that she’s actually singing “Sleeping it off at a station” in the chorus. The one rather bold lyric that is clear is the one about “the feeling of sticky love inside”. L’Amour Looks Something Like You gained some prominence when it was one of four tracks featured on the On Stage EP which peaked at number 10 in the UK charts in 1979.


In The Warm Room (from Lionheart – 1978)

Of course Kate’s music has always been the primary attraction, but it would be churlish to deny how powerful her sexuality was, particularly to adolescent males. There’s no getting away from *that* poster and *that* pink vest. Still a teenager herself when she recorded her second album Lionheart in 1978, the cover of the album with Kate in lion costume hiding away in some attic room, certainly got the imagination working. She was not afraid to sing about sex and sexuality (not just lurve) and sounded very much like the girlfriend-you-wished-you-had much of the time. The Kick Inside had Feel It to stir the loins (as well as L’Amour Looks Something Like You) but In The Warm Room turned the dial of desire to eleven with Kate singing about a lustful encounter “She’ll let you watch her undress, go places where you fingers long to linger”.  Time for someone to open a window, surely? The less said about the “soft musk of her hollows” the better, but not a comfortable track to listen to with your parents in the room. Kate at her most erotic. The video above is are live footage of the song from the 1979 Tour Of Life.


All We Ever Look For (from Never For Ever – 1980)

This quirky album cut from Never For Ever is about the parent-child bond and how things don’t quite work out how you might expect. Like a few songs on the album this featured the newly discovered Fairlight, with some Art of Noise style sampled footsteps and doors (of opportunity?) opening and closing.


Leave It Open (from The Dreaming – 1982)

Not (quite) as bonkers as Sat In Your Lap or Get Out Of My House, and lacking the accent “skills” on show with There Goes A Tenner and The Dreaming, Leave It Open is nevertheless an incredible track and has all the facets that make The Dreaming such a great record. The deep-voiced Bush heavily treats her vocals, opening with the line “With my ego in my gut, my babbling mouth would wash it up” which earns the high pitched retort: “But now I’ve started learning how, I keep it shut”. The track continues in this very dark call and response manner. Kate’s voice has always worked well with male voices and the “Harm in us but power to arm” chorus is ominous and rather scary. When Kate tells us that she “kept it in a cage – watched it weeping, but I made it stay”, you know this isn’t going to end well. The drums kick in at the end to the “what you letting in” refrain and it feels a bit like Keyser Söze is knocking on your door to say hello. Even then we still have some eerie backwards vocals which put the icing on the cake of this chilling warning of man’s ability for evil.


Hello Earth (from Hounds Of Love – 1985)

The penultimate track on The Ninth Wave from Hounds of Love, Hello Earth is Kate at the very height of her powers. The song is about distance and detachment (“with just one hand held up high, I can block you out of sight”). The Ninth Wave tells of a person trying to survive the night out at sea in the water, and this is a point of despair and they are contemplating their own death imagining themselves sky-high perhaps on their way to the pearly gates. Typical of the musical ambition of Kate at this time, she was not content with just a pretty piano ballad with a heartbreaking vocal, she wanted a break in the song which would contain singing/chanting reminiscent of music used in Werner Herzog’s 1979 version of  Nosferatu.  Working with composer Michael Berkeley (and conductor/choir leader Richard Hickox) they created their own new language (!) and developed the phrasing for a group of male choristers to sing at Bush’s home studio. With such commitment and attention to detail for one part of one song, it’s no wonder that Hounds of Love is considered her masterpiece. This is a very moving track and as if extra kudos was needed, it was used on an episode of Miami Vice.


Rocket’s Tail (from The Sensual World – 1989)

Bulgarian vocal ensemble The Trio Bulgarka featured on a few songs on The Sensual World Kate’s 1989 follow-up to Hounds of Love and they make an appearance on this track along with some guitar courtesy of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour (who seemed to pop up every few years for moral support whether contributing vocals to Pull Out The Pin or leading the band on the 1986 Secret Policeman’s Ball version of Running Up That Hill). Rocket’s Tail starts off instrument-free with Kate and the Bulgarian vocalists blending their voices to stunning effect, but what makes this song so much fun is when the drums and guitar burst in powerfully after about 90 seconds as if to say ‘I had enough of all this acapella shit, let’s rock!’. Rocket was Kate’s cat, apparently.


Big Stripey Lie (from The Red Shoes – 1993)

As the B-side to the slightly annoying Rubberband Girl, Big Stripey Lie was one of two tracks from The Red Shoes that fans got to hear before the album was released. If Rubberband Girl left this listener somewhat underwhelmed and anxious about what to expect from Kate Bush’s seventh studio album, Big Stripey Lie was a reassuringly textured piece of distorted guitar and weirdness. Kate is credited with playing bass and guitar and Nigel Kennedy also gets his violin out. Unfortunately this track turned out to be rather atypical of the album and The Red Shoes remains a big inky blot on Kate’s copybook of excellence.


Nocturn (from Aerial – 2005)

Kate had no right to come back in 2005 with an album that was almost as good as anything she’d ever produced. Aerial‘s structure mirrored that of Hounds of Love twenty years earlier with the second side (or disc in this case) concept-based and the first side/disc gathering together individual songs. Nocturn is from A Sky of Honey which traces the day from sunrise to sunset. The fan-made video above is a stunning accompaniment to a stunning track.


This Woman’s Work (from Director’s Cut – 2011)

Kate, perhaps surprisingly, chose to rework the semi-classic This Woman’s Work (a 1989 UK single) on her Director’s Cut album. Against all the odds this twinkly, ethereal treatment is really rather beautiful. Perhaps not ‘better’ than the original, but a lovely alternative, unlike the single Deeper Understanding which was dire.


Snowed In At Wheeler Street (from 50 Words for Snow – 2011)

This Elton John duet from 50 Words for Snow starts a little shakily, like a nervous lead in a broadway musical Kate speaks the lines ‘Excuse me I’m sorry to bother you, but…” [changes to singing] “…. don’t I knooooow yooooou? There’s just something about yooooou!”. It turns out they do know each other, as Elton points out “we’ve been in love forever”. To be fair this is a rather hypnotic track about a couple who keep bumping into each other across space and time (“I don’t want to lose you again”). It’s a nice little idea that Kate could well have stretched into side two of an album.

Don’t agree with the selections? Tell us about your favourite Kate ‘deep cuts’!

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29 responses to Under The Bush: Top 10 Kate Bush deep cuts and hidden gems

  1. Paul W says:

    Rocket’s Tail has been a favourite of mine for many years. And as for the Trio Bulgarka, well… http://youtu.be/NA4mOz-wqtY – I have no idea what the audience is laughing at in the third piece, but I can’t help but chuckle along with them. See also: http://youtu.be/cChPSChCw8w – includes Kate Bush interviewed at the time of The Sensual World

  2. Foxee says:

    Some nice selections here which certainly should be investigated by the casual listener, but my own Top 10 of album cuts would be:

    1. Moving (The Kick Inside) – beautiful and spine-tinglingly ghostly tribute to Lindsey Kemp, her dance teacher.
    2. Don’t Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake (Lionheart) – perhaps a nod to Kate’s shortlived pub gigs, this is about as rock and roll as she ever got.
    3. Egypt (Never Forever) – what starts out as a lush ballad develops into the most menacing of codas akin to the chilling hee-haws of ‘Get Out of My House’
    4. Night of the Swallow (The Dreaming) – contender for the best Kate Bush song of all? The passion and drama in this was definitely the blueprint for ‘Running Up That Hill’.
    5. And Dream of Sheep (Hounds of Love) – one of Kate’s most beautiful piano ballads, this actually serves as a warning (‘I can’t be left to my imagination’) of the superb horror of ‘The Ninth Wave’ that follows.
    6. Reaching Out (The Sensual World) – fantastic vocal which mirrors the strain of ambition and the frustration of loss in the lyrics.
    7. Top of the City (The Red Shoes) – one of the best moments on a mixed bag of an album, this at least has all the hallmarks of a Kate Bush crescendo chorus and wistful piano driven verses.
    8. Somewhere in Between (Ariel) – this would have made a great single with its beautiful close harmonies.
    9. Moments of Pleasure (Director’s Cut) – One of the very few tracks that was completely re-recorded for this album, this actually improves on the original by taking the song into an epic ‘widescreen’ landscape and allowing the spaces to really breathe.
    10. Misty (50 Words for Snow) – featuring the most complicated of time signatures in the rhythm, this is the warmest track on a wintry album, and has all the lusciousness of improvisational jazz.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Good alternative selection! Never really liked ‘Don’t Push Your Foot On The Heartbreak’ that much but Night Of The Swallow is definitely up there – very cinematic. And Dream Of Sheep is sublime – agreed. Moments of Pleasure is definitely better on Director’s Cut – it’s a bit too sugary-sweet on The Red Shoes. Thanks so much for your comments!

  3. Rob says:

    There should also be an honorable mention of her many non-LP b-sides, of which “Under the Ivy” is my favorite. A really beautiful piano ballad.

    Will be making my first ever trip to England to see one of these shows. I’ve never been so excited for a concert.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Almost put Under the Ivy on here! Decided to keep to the ‘album tracks’ rule though :) Ne T’Enfuis Pas is another great B-side

  4. Johnny Law says:

    Hi Paul,
    regarding Hello Earth, I believe the choral music that inspired Kate Bush was the 1979 Wener Herzog version of Nosferatu. (The original film was silent.) You can hear the soundtrack’s influence very clearly here, from 38 seconds in:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdzHAKPV7dk

  5. SimonP says:

    Agree on Rocket’s Tail, just. Heads We’re Dancing comes in a close second, but would have possibly topped my list if Mick Karn’s bass hadn’t been buried in the busy mix, rather than pushed to the front like in Japan’s later output…

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Personally have never liked “Heads We’re Dancing” – the lyric is a bit clumsy and for me it’s just not a very good song.

  6. James C says:

    Obviously, after the BBC documentary and the fever created by the new residency everyone will become a fan, including myself. So after having Hounds Of Love for years and knowing various singles, where do I go next? Should I just start at the beginning? Plus is it worth waiting for any possible remasters, any rumours regarding them?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      One thing I would definitely NOT do is ‘wait for remasters’ some of us have been waiting a VERY long time for those :) You could start at the beginning, that’s what I did in 1985 when I first heard Hounds Of Love, but of course the only way to go then was back! In 2014 I might suggest Aerial as the next album to investigate if you like Hounds Of Love. But in general you can’t really go wrong. Having said that leave The Red Shoes to the very end…

  7. Steven Roberts says:

    My favourite (very) deep cut:-

    Ken (is the Leader of the GLC)

  8. Nate says:

    Although already a fantastic song, Kate’s version of “My Lagan Love” (a “Hounds” b-side) is about the most beautiful vocal I have ever heard. (sorry Sinead).

    • Pete SIMPSON says:

      Hi All, When I saw this I also straight away thought of “My Lagan Love”. Kate’s haunting vocals, just move me for sure. Her version of “Women of Ireland” -“Mna Na H’eirann” on the Celtic Spirit compilation, is also very moving. Some of Kate’s other non album track B-sides are hidden gems too, Under the Ivy/The Handsome Cabin Boy/Not This Time……………..{as i type – playing This Woman’s Work- vol 1 from box set – that contains bulk of Kate’s B sides, up to the release of the box}.
      Hello Earth and My Lagan Love are up there in my top all time fav Kate songs. Anyways, sticking to the brief, here goes, my favs hidden gems from each album.
      The Kick Inside: well my fav is “Man” but I will settle for “The Kick Inside”.
      Lionheart: “Don’t Push Your Foot on The Heartbrake”.
      Never For Ever: “All We Ever Look For”.
      The Dreaming: “All the Love”.
      Hounds of Love: “Hello Earth”.
      The Sensual World: “Deeper Understanding”.
      The Red Shoes: well my fav is “Moments”, so “You’re The One”.
      Aerial: “A Coral Room”
      50 Words for Snow: “Snowed in At Wheeler Street”.

      oh and The Director’s Cut, which I have never personally been able to gel with, if i had to pick one, hmmmmmmm “Moments of Pleasure”.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Thanks Pete. We agree on a few which is cool … A Coral Room is pretty special, so that’s a great choice. The Handsome Cabin Boy is probably my favourite HOL b-side. I know everyone loves Under The Ivy, but there is something about the production of Handsome Cabin Boy and the sound of Kate’s voice that sends shivers up the spine. She didn’t write that track of course, it’s a traditional arrangement. Deeper understanding is one of the few tracks that isn’t improved for me by Director’s Cut (Flower of the Mountain is the other).

        • Foxee says:

          Totally agree on ‘Flower of the Mountain’ – she just sounds lazily drunk and not at all seductive- the original is incomparably better. In fact, I hate to say it, but I find most of Director’s Cut rather frustrating, the ezxceptions being Moments of Pleasure and Top of the City, though Top of the City is probably the closest to the original on the entire album.

          As to HOL b-sides, I’d put a bid in for ‘Burning Bridge’. The banked vocals are a trademrk and the merriness of the melody always brings a smile to my face. Think this one ended up as a b-side because she ran out of ideas for lyrics…….

          Now, another interesting Top 10 would be Kate Bush Remixes. I think the Meteorological Mix of The Big Sky would be my pick, though ‘Dreamtime’ would be a great qualifier too….

  9. Paul Jones says:

    Do you know if any deluxe or anniversary editions are planned?

  10. jim says:

    I don’t understand the dislike for “the red shoes”… It’s by far one of my favorite kate albums as a whole… I even have the limited autographed lithograph framed & proudly hanging in my bedroom!

  11. Alan says:

    The Red Shoes is her most personal album. She said that about The Sensual World but The Red Shoes surpassed it. She clearly wasn’t in a great place – “life is sad and so is love” is about as low as she ever got. Thankfully by Aerial she was happy again, but tracks on The Red Shoes such as And So Is Love, Song of Solomon, Lily, Top of The City and You’re The One say far more than a press or radio interview ever could.

  12. Dean says:

    The Japan editions are really good and you can playlist then in iTunes as all the same volume unlike if you try to playlist the original albums.
    More or less agree with the choices of tracks, but Night of the Swallow for definite.

  13. JJ says:

    Hi – Had the great luck of being there on Tuesday night and was blown away by the show – i’ve been addicted since i first heard ‘Wuthering Heights’ on the radio back in 1978…. so here’s my album faves….
    Kick Inside – Moving
    Lionheart – In Search Of Peter Pan
    Never For Ever – All We Ever Look For
    The Dreaming (my favourite album of all time!) – Houdini
    Hounds Of Love – Hello Earth
    Sensual World – Reaching Out
    Red Shoes – You’re The One
    Aerial – A Coral Room
    Director’s Cut – Moments Of Pleasure
    50 Words For Snow – Snowflake

    and a special mention for ‘Under The Ivy’ as best b-side !

  14. Mikael says:

    Yay för Rocket’s Tail, just magnificent, and underappreciated. The 90-second mark when Gilmour’s guitar comes flying like a rocket out of the roof is just magical.
    But to call The Red Shoes a big inky blot? That’s harsh. Me, I would place it in her top four, which, incidentally, has no place for Hounds of Love, which is nowhere near as good as everyone says it is, IMHO.
    But we can agree her production shows a very wide variety of songs.

  15. Mic Smith says:

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned the original version (with prominent bongos) of December Will be Magic Again….. One of my favourite KB rate tracks. The fact that this came out in error makes it all the more special. No collection should be without it!

  16. Michael says:

    Not sure about Big Stripey Lie. Even she doesn’t care much for the final third of The Red Shoes…thus Director’s Cut. Still, album wise:
    The Kick Inside: Oh To Be In Love
    Lionheart: In Search Of Peter Pan
    Never For Ever: Blow Away (for Bill)
    The Dreaming: All The Love
    Hounds Of Love: Watching You Without Me (sad, dark, euphoric perfection)
    The Sensual World: Love & Anger
    The Red Shoes: Moments Of Pleasure (still amazed she felt the need to rework this utterly perfect song for Dir. Cut.)
    Aerial: Nocturne
    50 Words For Snow: Snowflake (As fine as Sir Elton sounds on Snowed In.. at the same time he’s all wrong. Kate needed a huskier contrast to her sharp vocals. Guy Garvey or Mark Lanegan perhaps? They both sound like snowmen.)
    Best b-side: Under The Ivy
    Special mention: December Will Be Magic Again

  17. Derek says:

    Just a little more info on the music used in Nosferatu and Hello Earth –
    It’s a traditional Georgian folk song. The version used in Nosferatu can be heard here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYho3Tuc09g
    and a slightly more traditional, and very beautiful, version can be heard here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu3boYzcBuo

  18. Chris says:

    The Red Shoes seems to always get a bum wrap in relation to the rest of Kate’s catalog. Personally, it’s my favorite album of hers; so many fantastic songs on that one(Moments…, Top of the City, the title track to name three). And I’d put The Sensual World right behind it; Heads We’re Dancing is my favorite non-single track.

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