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12th December 2018

Record Reappraisal: Kate Bush – The Whole Story

Bella Fleming takes a look back in time at Kate Bush’s album The Whole Story, arguably one of music’s most influential and important releases to date
Record Reappraisal: Kate Bush – The Whole Story
Photo: Kate Bush @ Flickr (Daniel Rehn)

40 years ago, the world was blessed with one of the weirdest and most wonderful artists it has ever seen. The world was blessed with a frizzy haired 19 year old singing about Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights whilst dancing in a forest wearing fantastically bold red lipstick and green eyeshadow. The world was blessed with Kate Bush.

With five albums worth of material to work with, The Whole Story sees Kate take the best of her brilliant early catalogue and assemble it into one amazing compilation. 32 years on, this record has not aged a day, with every track still proving timeless, fuelling its listeners with all of Bush’s raw emotions.

The Whole Story takes the listener away on a musical ride through some of Bush’s most iconic moments from the beginning of her career. Hearing Bush’s early work in particular showcases the evolution of her wonderfully wavy vocals and wild imagination. From her softly sung piano ballad ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’, written at the age of just fourteen, to her spacey-orchestral experiment track ‘Wow’, taken from her second album Lionheart.

Bush uses The Whole Story to really showcase the formation of her now trademark quirkiness. With tracks like ‘Babushka’, (about a woman romantically fooling her husband) and the iconic pop anthem ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’, being flawless demonstrations of her ability to continually surprise listeners and push boundaries. Every track on The Whole Story shows the pure creativity and song-writing talent possessed by Bush – a skill heard in every one of her song’s piano notes and every drum beat.

Opening this compilation is the genius ‘Wuthering Heights’, which Bush remixed and re-recorded herself for this project. This remixing was done purely with the intent on giving the song a more mature sound, replacing Bush’s original vocals for the track when it was released in 1978, when Bush was just 19. This minor alteration in sound really does highlight the subtle change in vocal depth and resonance Bush developed in the eight years between the original track release to the polished and perfected iteration heard on The Whole Story.

Kate Bush creates magical worlds through her music, vocals and lyrics that has the fantastic ability to transport you away to a wondrous place where anything could happen. A place where Catherine and Heathcliff are together; a place where God will let you be another person to escape from the excruciating feeling of loving someone too much. The Whole Story is a vessel that ultimately transports the listener to the depths of Kate Bush’s imagination.

Kate Bush is not a singer, she is an artist. In fact, she is one of the most important artists of our time, and one that will continue to shape the music industry forever. Listening to The Whole Story is all the proof you need.


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