Being a long time lover of the dark and supernatural, the Gothic, I was drawn to Kate Bush because of her song, “Wuthering Heights”, based on the book by Emily Brontë. It was the most astonishing thing I had ever heard in my life. Kate shrieked and wailed like a cat in desperate heat in her rendition of a dead Catherine Earnshaw, a young woman dead in her prime from unrequited love.
Her phenomenal creativity in music composition, range in voice, singing and dance created an explosion of color and emotion that made everything else in my world look and feel mundane. She channeled topics close to my heart: mysticism, witches, the supernatural. Passionate and intense one minute, little girl the next, clown one minute, and insane the next, she performed with a courage and abandon that was melodramatic, surreal, and groundbreaking back in the 1970s when her song “Wuthering Heights” came out.
Her music drew on a variety of influences: classical music, rock, opera, folk. Nominated 13 times for the British Phonographic Industry accolades, and for three Grammy Awards, she won Best British Female Artist in 1987. In 2002, she was recognised with an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, and in October 2017, she was nominated for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
She is not for everyone. Some people still prefer the Pat Benatar version of “Wuthering Heights”. To each their own. You have to have a love of the astonishing, the freaky and unconventional, the shocking even, to appreciate her.
I met the love of my life because of her. One day in Art school, as I walked by a young man’s desk, I saw the music of Kate Bush sitting next to his things. I raised my hand and gave him a thumbs up. Two years later we were married.
And as I write Gothic novels now, I can’t help but think it’s all related.
Here, performed by Kate Bush, are “Wuthering Heights”, from her first album, The Kick Inside and one of my all time favorites “The Jig of Life” from Hounds of Love, released in 1985.