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Kate Bush is one of the most famous British female artists of all time and one of the most original and creative, first wowing audiences back in 1978 as a tender 19 year old with her debut hit single “Wuthering Heights” which captured the imagination of millions as she danced across the stage with her self-choreographed dance moves to her self-written song. Many more hits were to follow including Babooshka, Cloudbusting, Hounds of Love and a song that is currently experiencing renewed chart success a whopping 44 years after its original release – “Running up that Hill” after it was featured in the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things” helping to bring a new audience to the genius of this very British icon. Here we list lots of Kate Bush facts, from things we know about her personal life such as where she was born, who she is married to, does she have children, and of course lots of facts about her incredible music and career.
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#1 How old is Kate Bush and where was she born?
Kate Bush celebrates her 64th Birthday on 30th July 2022. She was born in 1958 in the London town of Bexleyheath, in the historic county of Kent, England.
#2 Who are Kate Bush’s parents and siblings?
Kate was born to an English doctor, Robert Bush (1920 - 2008) who was a general practitioner and amateur pianist, and to Hannah (1918 - 1992) nee Daly, who was an Irish staff nurse, and an amateur traditional irish dancer.
Kate also has two older brothers - John and Paddy, with whom she grew up with in a 350-year old former farmhouse at East Wickham in Welling, which is just next to Bexleyheath where she was born. Her brother John was a poet and photographer, and Paddy was a musical instrument maker. Both her brothers were involved in the local folk music scene.
#3 At the age of 11 she taught herself piano
At the age of 11 and with the influence of her musical family around her, Kate was inspired to teach herself piano, which soon led to her composing her own songs and writing her own lyrics. She also played the organ in the barn behind her parents house, and studied the violin.
#4 Where did Kate Bush go to school?
From 1969 to 1976 Kate attended St Joseph's Convent Grammar School in Abbey Wood, which was run by nuns and closed during the late 70's. She did well in English, Latin, Biology and Music, leaving school with 10 'O' levels. Whilst there, Kate participated in the school opera and other productions, and she also contributed various pieces of literature to the end of year school magazine, including poetry. Later, Kate described the school as being a very cruel environment, saying that she was a loner whilst there, and was occassionally hit, but learnt to get hurt and to cope with it.
#5 David Gilmour of Pink Floyd helped launch her career
It was Pink Floyd's guitarist David Gilmour who helped Kate Bush launch her career after he was handed an initial demo tape from Ricky Hopper, a mutual friend of Gilmour and the Bush family. Bush had been turned down by record labels on the basis of this early demo tape, but impressed by what he had heard, Gilmour was undeterred and helped Bush record a more professional demo tape. The tape was then sent to EMI executive Terry Slater, who signed Bush.
#6 First female to achieve a UK number one with a self-written song
Kate Bush released her debut single "Wuthering Heights" on the 20th January 1978, at the age of 19. The song peaked at number one in the UK singles chart for four weeks, making Kate Bush the first female artist to achieve a UK number one with a self-written song.
Bush wrote Wuthering Heights within just a few hours late at night on the 5th March 1977, when she was just 18 years old, after being inspired by the 1897 novel of the same name by author Emily Bronte, who she also happens to share a birthday with.
#7 Wuthering Heights – One of the greatest ever British songs
In 2016, Wuthering Heights was named as the fifth-greatest song of the 70's by famous online music publication Pitchfork. In 2020, The Guardian (long-running British newspaper) ranked it as the 14th best UK number one single. The song also came in at 32 in Q magazines Top 100 Singles of All Time.
Kate Bush dances throughout the video after she created the choreography and dance moves herself, where she interprets the ghoust of Cathy from the novel.
Critics at the time described the video as a milestone in the history of music videos before the MTV era. Pitchfork ranked it number three on the list of greatest music videos of the 70's.
There are two music videos for Wuthering Heights, with Kate dancing in both. The above is the UK release where Kate dances in a room with white mist. The second version, which was produced for the American release, sees Kate dancing in an outside misty environment in a red dress amongst the pine trees. Check it out here and let us know in the comments which is your favourite of the two Wuthering Heights videos!
#8 Kate Bush was a prodigious writer in her teens
Between the years of 1973 and the release of her debut album in 1978, Kate wrote 120 songs, most of which were never released.
#9 Kate Bush in Castaway, the 1986 movie with Oliver Reed
Film director Nicolas Roeg attempted to cast Kate Bush as the female lead in the famous 1986 film 'Castaway' which would have seen her star opposite the brilliant Oliver Reed. Amanda Donohoe was eventually to take the role. Kate did however provide the opening song for the film with "Be Kind My Mistakes".
#10 2001 Q Award – Happy to receive!
In 2001 when Kate collected her Q Award for Classic Songwriter, her words of acceptance were "I've just come!"
#11 Kate the Vegetarian
Kate once said in an interview when she was asked about eating plants that are also living things, “I don’t think plants mind being eaten, actually. I think they’d be really sad if no one paid that much attention to them. I appreciate them very much for the things they give me. I'd be very sad if there weren't any vegetables, and normally it isn't the actual plant that's killed--it's the fruit or vegetable that's taken off. I think this is the purpose of plants, that they grow to be eaten.”
#12 She is a believer in UFO's
Kate believes in UFO's and life on other planets, saying that it is unlikely that we would be the only ones. She's sure they exist and really hopes to see one (along with a Whale and Giraffe up close!)
#13 How tall is Kate Bush?
Kate Bush is 5ft 3 ½ inches tall (161.3 cm).
#14 Kate turned down the offer to sing a James Bond's title song
Kate turned down an offer to sing the title song to the 1979 James Bond movie "Moonraker", saying she thought it just wasn't for her. A modest Kate later said in an interview that she thought Shirley Bassey did it a lot better than she would have.
#15 What music does Kate Bush like?
One of her musical heroes whilst growing up was Sir Elton John. However over the years Kate has said how she likes listening to Pink Floyd, David Bowie, The Who, The Beatles, T. Rex, Stevie Wonder, amongst no doubt many others, however she did once say she doesn't particularly like heavy rock.
#16 Kate Bush's Greatest Influences
Two of the main influences for Kate Bush were David Bowie and Sir Elton John.
Of David Bowie she said "He was intelligent, imaginative, brave, charismatic, cool, sexy and truly inspirational both visually and musically. He created such staggeringly brilliant work, yes, but so much of it and it was so good. There are great people who make great work but who else has left a mark like his? No one like him."
Of Elton John she said "Most artists in the mid-seventies played guitar but Elton played piano and I dreamed of being able to play like him.”
She eventually covered one of Elton's songs "Rocket Man" in 1991 as part of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin tribute album, so her dream came true in part. Her version was also a commercial success, reaching number 12 in the UK Singles Chart, No. 2 in Australia, and in 2007 it won The Observer readers' award for Greatest Cover of all time. She also covered Elton's "Candle in the Wind" for the B-side of the single.
#17 How many albums has Kate Bush released?
Kate Bush has released 10 studio albums, and 2 live albums.
Her first studio album, "The Kick Inside" was released in 1978 when she was just 19 years of age and contains the UK number 1 hit "Wuthering Heights". Her most recent and tenth studio album "50 Words for Snow" was released in 2011 to universal acclaim.
Kate has also released two compilation albums and six video albums.
#18 Another first for Kate with the release of 50 Words for Snow
On 27th November 2011 when 50 Words for Snow entered the UK album chart at number 5, Kate Bush became the first female recording artist to have an album of all-new material in the top 5 during each of the last five decades.
#19 Kate Bush has had two number one singles in the UK chart
Her first number one single was "Wuthering Heights" back in 1978, making her the first-ever female artist at number one with a self-penned track. However her next number one hit didn't come for another 44 years when in 2022 the brilliant single "Running Up That Hill" was used in Season 4 of the highly popular Netflix show "Stranger Things". This broke another record for Kate, as it was the longest-ever gap between number one singles.
When it was originally released in 1985, Running Up That Hill reached number three in the UK singles chart, and was also Kate's first Top 40 hit in the USA, reaching number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100
#20 Running Up That Hill has made millions after Stranger Things
After featuring in the popular Netflix show "Stranger Things" the Kate Bush single "Running Up That Hill" which was first released in 1985, has reportedly made millions of dollars in streaming royalties in just the first few months after appearing on the show, as well as bringing Kate a brand new following which will have boosted sales throughout her entire catalogue.
#21 Who is Kate Bush's Husband?
Kate Bush's husband is guitarist Dan McIntosh, and the pair have been married since 1992. His talents have featured in the Kate Bush songs "Rubberband Girl", "The Red Shoes", "Constellation Of The Heart" and many others. He was formerly with the bands "Bandit" and "The Quick" but also played guitar on albums by other famous artists throughout the 1980's such as Dollar, Deniece Williams, and Amii Stewart.
#22 Does Kate Bush have any children?
Kate Bush has one child, a son named Albert, who she had together with her husband Dan McIntosh back in 1998.
Also a musician, Bertie featured in the Before the Dawn concert series in 2014. His vocals also feature in the 2018 re-release of the Kate Bush album "Aerial", his vocals replacing those of Rolf Harris.
The song "Bertie" is dedicated to him by his mother, and she credits him for encouraging her to play live again.