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The first ever in-depth study of Kate Bush's life and career, Under The Ivy features over 70 unique and revealing new interviews with those who have viewed from up close both the public artist and the private woman: old school friends, early band members, long-term studio collaborators, former managers, producers, musicians, video directors, dance instructors and record co The first ever in-depth study of Kate Bush's life and career, Under The Ivy features over 70 unique and revealing new interviews with those who have viewed from up close both the public artist and the private woman: old school friends, early band members, long-term studio collaborators, former managers, producers, musicians, video directors, dance instructors and record company executives.


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The first ever in-depth study of Kate Bush's life and career, Under The Ivy features over 70 unique and revealing new interviews with those who have viewed from up close both the public artist and the private woman: old school friends, early band members, long-term studio collaborators, former managers, producers, musicians, video directors, dance instructors and record co The first ever in-depth study of Kate Bush's life and career, Under The Ivy features over 70 unique and revealing new interviews with those who have viewed from up close both the public artist and the private woman: old school friends, early band members, long-term studio collaborators, former managers, producers, musicians, video directors, dance instructors and record company executives.

30 review for Under the Ivy: The Life & Music of Kate Bush

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jaidee

    3 "honest attempt, a bit tedious, rather opinionated, but glad I read " stars !! The Most Fun (est) Review that I Wrote in 2017 Award STOP you OBSESSIVE READER and BOOK REVIEWER !! Take a breath, hit the link and don't read on ! Immerse yourself in the music of a Celtic godess....savour the sounds and appreciate her beauty : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1DDn... TMI confession....when my partner wants to get me in the mood...this is one of the tunes he will play. It almost goes without saying tha 3 "honest attempt, a bit tedious, rather opinionated, but glad I read " stars !! The Most Fun (est) Review that I Wrote in 2017 Award STOP you OBSESSIVE READER and BOOK REVIEWER !! Take a breath, hit the link and don't read on ! Immerse yourself in the music of a Celtic godess....savour the sounds and appreciate her beauty : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1DDn... TMI confession....when my partner wants to get me in the mood...this is one of the tunes he will play. It almost goes without saying that my beautiful heroine Kate Bush achieves a full five stars. In my pantheon of godesses she is third in prominence after the beehived blue eyed soul of Dusty Springfield and the pure gloriousness of opera singer Montserrat Cabballe. This book, however, had very far to go to reach a five star status and was stuck at a three for a number of reasons. Although Mr. Thompson interviewed many people around Ms. Bush and read hundreds of articles and listened to all her music...I do not feel he captured her essence. Yes he was respectful with a befuddled admiration but tempered with a touch of condescension and a fair bit of criticism of how she chose to run her career. He analyzed each and every song, video and film and opined in such a way that made it seem that his thoughts were truth and gospel. I could go on and on but I would rather share some fun and personal tidbits on the impact of Kate on my life : Jaidee at age 8 received from his aunty (after a trip to the UK she made) the album the Kick Inside. I had no idea who this chanteuse was but I played it hundreds of times and memorized each song and created a dance for each one while I sang along. Kate would have been proud ( I think ;) Jaidee at age 14 decided to not play a Cesar Franck Organ piece for his recital but convinced his teacher to let him play a rendition with variations of Running Up that Hill. What he didn't tell his organ teacher or share prior to the concert was that the final variation was simply the drum machine and Jaidee singing in a soprano falsetto. My mother was dismayed but my aunt yelled bravo from the audience. Ha !! I think it was super fun and felt very Kate Bush-like !! Jaidee at age 18 wrote a play in movement for his high school drama project based on the song Kashka from Baghad on the Never for Ever album. Ooops error...the Lionheart album. It starred of course Jaidee and his first real boyfriend. You have to remember it was still the 1980's. A bit risque for a suburban high school There are other Kate memories but those are my favorites. I appreciated this book for that very reason. Brought back so many pleasant evenings listening and dreaming with Kate with my self, various girlfriends and boyfriends all the way up to the present. There are so many songs I could leave you with but for me this is the most exquisite. I cannot listen to this without balling my eyes and appreciating not only the beauty in Kate but all the beauty in everything. Thank you for everything Kate !! Please enjoy : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXzx-...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Peter Boyle

    I've been a fan of Kate Bush ever since the video for Cloudbusting blew my tiny young mind. But information on Kate was always frustratingly thin on the ground - just who is this reclusive, mystical pixie and how did she come to be? In this superb biography Graeme Thomson traces the origin of a musical genius, from the wide-eyed waif of Wuthering Heights to the the national treasure she is identified as today. In the opening chapters we learn about Kate's idyllic childhood. The daughter of an Ess I've been a fan of Kate Bush ever since the video for Cloudbusting blew my tiny young mind. But information on Kate was always frustratingly thin on the ground - just who is this reclusive, mystical pixie and how did she come to be? In this superb biography Graeme Thomson traces the origin of a musical genius, from the wide-eyed waif of Wuthering Heights to the the national treasure she is identified as today. In the opening chapters we learn about Kate's idyllic childhood. The daughter of an Essex doctor and an Irish nurse, she had a free-spirited, bohemian upbringing at Wickham farm in south-east London. Her older brothers, Jay the poet and Paddy a musician, were a huge influence on her and have collaborated with her many times over the years. She has always been extremely close to her family and they in turn are fiercely protective of her. Teachers and school-friends remember her as a kind and diligent student but they had no inkling that this shy girl would develop into a world-renowned, critically acclaimed artist. Thomson takes us on a journey through the making of all of Kate's studio albums, from the strikingly accomplished debut of The Kick Inside to her masterpiece Hounds of Love and most recent release, the experimental concept LP 50 Words for Snow. He captures an astonishing creative mind at work, from the blushing girl who turned up for the recording of her first album with over 200 self-composed songs to the woman who wrestled for complete control of her music and learned how to produce the records herself. He also recognises the driving ambition that lies within Bush, an artist who has always pushed the boundaries of her art, not only sonically but also visually through her groundbreaking videos and live shows. What comes across above all is how humble an individual Kate appears to be. Not one person has a bad word to say about her - she is completely unaffected by fame by all accounts and a sincerely warm, genuine and generous woman. Her extreme dedication to her craft stands out, pushing herself to creative and physical limits time and again, often to the point of exhaustion. I was surprised to learn that she was a major weed smoker whilst recording her earlier albums, though she seems to have replaced this habit with bucketfuls of tea. The dichotomies that lie at the heart of her are intricately explored: a private individual who craves solitude but also revels in collaborating with musicians and artists she admires; a timid person who is single-minded and stubborn when it comes to her work. She even describes herself as the "shyest megalomaniac you're ever likely to meet." It is a meticulously researched book with a host of illuminating interviews from fond friends of Kate and the many musicians who have worked with her through the years. Thomson is a true fan and his passion shines through. He brings valuable insight with his astute examination of her music. But he is always balanced and fair in his criticism, from investigating the distracted disappointment of The Red Shoes to the curious exploration of The Dreaming. The edition I read was released prior to her recent rapturously received Before The Dawn shows and he laments her enduring lack of a live presence throughout. I can only imagine his joy at her triumphant return to stage and I bet he was cheering wildly from the front row. This is a fascinating biography and a fitting tribute to a uniquely talented artist. Bonus Disc: My Favourite Kate Bush Songs (liable to change on a daily basis) Hounds of Love Yes I know it's an obvious choice, but to me it is perfection. Bush imagines Love as a wild animal "coming for me through the trees." She is frightened of being consumed by its passion but at the same time she admits: "I've always been a coward/And I don't know what's good for me." The pounding drums and breathless vocals give the song its irresistible kinetic energy. In the end she surrenders with an ecstatic "I need la-la-la-la-la love!" Oh my. Magnificent. And Dream of Sheep The character in this gorgeous ballad only has a life-jacket to keep her afloat in a limitless sea during the darkest night. She battles against sleep when it would be easier to just give in and drown, but she knows she must stay awake and her memories help her to survive. The line "Come here with me now" is spoken by Kate's mother Hannah, who often whispered it to her as a child when she awoke from a bad dream. The song is mostly comprised of gentle piano and Kate's pleading voice - sea whistles and shipping broadcasts add to the watery atmosphere. Cloudbusting I clearly remember stumbling on the strange video for this song as a youngster and *needing* to find out more about it. It's based on a memoir Kate read in the 70s called A Book of Dreams, in which Peter Reich discusses his childhood relationship with his father William, a philosopher and psychiatrist. William was quite the eccentric and had some bizarre ideas, at one point enlisting his son to build a machine that would form clouds and create rain. He was later imprisoned by the FDA and died when Peter was 13. The song is an incredibly moving exploration of their deep bond and the happy memories Peter retained: "Every time it rains/ You're here in my head."And that cello melody is absolutely stunning. Moments of Pleasure This is the one I can't listen to in public, for fear of blubbing like a small child. Kate looks back on her life and remembers happy times with close friends and family who have since departed. Bill Duffield, a lighting director who died tragically before her first tour and guitarist Alan Murphy are among those commemorated. Her mother was also very ill during the time of recording and passed away shortly afterwards. "Just being alive, it can really hurt" is the key realization, as she understands her list of lost loved ones is only going to grow. Her soaring vocals are accompanied by a lush string arrangement and the most beautiful piano melody. This Womans's Work One of Kate's most accessible and memorable songs, which was composed for the John Hughes film She's Having A Baby. It's written from a man's point of view as he waits for his wife to give birth and complications arise. He is terrified of losing is unborn child and his partner in one go. Thoughts race through his head as he waits helplessly outside: "All the things I should have said that I never said." It is one of her best vocal performances, intense and powerful. It is also my favourite video of hers, a poignant re-imagining of the song's events, full of swirling flashbacks and raw emotion.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Since I ws 15 and first fell under her spell, the genius of Kate Bush has accompanied me along the journey to manhood through enchanted but quiet fan wallflowering my way through any discussion of music and performance to ardent man of action defending her art from all comers and my huge posters from flying tea bags....of that more perhaps later...and now as Middle Aged man still adoring her beauty but even more admiring of her genius. Thomson has written what i found to be a really useful and th Since I ws 15 and first fell under her spell, the genius of Kate Bush has accompanied me along the journey to manhood through enchanted but quiet fan wallflowering my way through any discussion of music and performance to ardent man of action defending her art from all comers and my huge posters from flying tea bags....of that more perhaps later...and now as Middle Aged man still adoring her beauty but even more admiring of her genius. Thomson has written what i found to be a really useful and thought provoking study of her musical journey. The first few chapters are perhaps a little breathless in their adoration and he strays a little into overblown imagery but maybe that is inevitable when dealing with someone as wonderfully challenging as Kate Bush. 'Shamanistic ritual, cajoling, caresing, chipping away at the chrysalis of her art until the longed-for butterfly of emotional truth emerges' or again 'She is no Icarus, striving publicly and failing heroically. Instead her work simply appears like Zeus' thunderbolt'. Kate Bush is famously private, and indeed why shouldn't she be, but as a result this is a book written without an interview with the main subject or indeed with any of the directly important protagonists. He quotes from interviews and chats with any number of people but never really getting to the centre of the mystery. There is, in the first few chapters, a number of people who appear to be her first love, her best friend from school, an influence on her early music....yeah well, perhaps but it was a bit embarrassing all that scraping around and allowing x list celebrities or no-hopers longing to catch a bit of the virus of fame to cling on to her coat tails, coat tails which she herself appeared to have taken off a long time ago and left in the wardrobe. Having said that you did get the impression that she was a normal, gentle and kindly woman. There seems nothing of the diva about her and certainly Thomson suceeds in putting a line under many of the weird and quite unwonderful cruelties and untruths that were levelled at her from time to time. However, in all honesty I did not come to this book to delve and dig into Kate Bush's private life. She has been a fabulously important part of my life since 15 but I never feel that that gives me the right to look in her knicker drawer or read over her love letters. The real strength of this book and what i actually really enjoyed was Thomson's own take and exploration of her journey of creativity. His dissection of the various albums and their coming to birth, the comments and opinions he garnered from the men and women with whom she worked and the exploration of her own journey through her music and the way she created was fascinating and sent me back to listen to the works themselves, though it has to be said that me listening to Kate Bush is not an unusual occurrence at the best of times. I loved the debate he entered into concerning her quest to find a way of expressing herself in her music clearly. 'It is interesting how much of a struggle her quest for greater directness becmame. Spelling out what she was once able to suggest and imply, the net results were a significant drop in artistry' 'In her quest for direct communication, everything becomes overstated' but then 'there is no need to join every dot, or explain every reference. that is a game for those who can't trust their own responses without first looking for an intellectual hook on which to hang it' This is my entire struggle with Kate Bush writ large. I love this woman's work but still struggle to understand so much of it. For example, I have always loved with a total love 'The Ninth wave', the concept piece on the B side of 'The Hounds of Love' album. I have always loved it whilst never understanding it. Thomson analyses it with Kate Bush's own comments and I can now return to it with a different idea. However, i love Bush's work not because she tells me what to think or hear but because she sets the bird free and lets you watch it fly and swoop. Thomson's book is excellent if you want to read adn reflect about her music and her journey of creativity. It is of no use if you want to find out what her fave colour is or her favourite drink or what she wears in bed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Jandrok

    Caveat: This is a long and somewhat ponderous review, and it was a tricky one for me to write. I don’t believe that I really did the subject matter justice. There is too much material here to condense into a review that makes thematic sense. That said, it was important to me to have it here in one place. I’ll forgive you if it bores you or you feel that you need to abandon it midway through. My fascination with Kate Bush runs all the way back to 1982, when the then-fledgling MTV began running a v Caveat: This is a long and somewhat ponderous review, and it was a tricky one for me to write. I don’t believe that I really did the subject matter justice. There is too much material here to condense into a review that makes thematic sense. That said, it was important to me to have it here in one place. I’ll forgive you if it bores you or you feel that you need to abandon it midway through. My fascination with Kate Bush runs all the way back to 1982, when the then-fledgling MTV began running a video clip from Bush’s fourth album, “The Dreaming.” The song in question was the first single “Sat In Your Lap.” It had a strange rhythmic quality to it, and the video was striking and odd. The lyrics were obtuse and difficult, and Bush herself only added to the mystery by flouncing around on roller skates, dressed in ballet gear, all big hair and big ideas. It was totally out of step with the commercial pop music of the era. In short, I was hooked. I went down to my neighborhood record store the next day and bought the album. For an 18 year-old wanna-be ceremonial magician and worldly philosopher like me, it was a musical revelation. The entire album was dense and chaotic; a soundtrack for dark, eldritch magick. It opened doors for me, not the least of which was to become a lifelong fan of this eclectic and magnificent talent. Kate Bush went on to release one of the classic albums of the 1980s, “Hounds of Love.” That record cemented her legacy as an artist, though she would never sell that many units here in the States. She was, and remains, a European star. Huge in the UK, she is truly a British national treasure. Bush has rarely performed live, doing only one full-fledged tour in the early stage of her career. She returned to the concert stage in 2014, staging a 22-date residency at the Hammersmith Apollo. Notoriously reclusive and private, Kate Bush the person remains a bit of a mystery for most casual fans. Graeme Thomson’s “Under The Ivy” is an unauthorized biography of Bush, originally released in 2010. I was fortunate enough to purchase a hardback first edition, a former UK public library edition complete with the British library catalog code pasted in the front and a durable plastic sleeve over the dust cover. It’s a fun and comfortable edition of the book. There is a later revision of the text that covers the Hammersmith Apollo shows, but I purposely sought out the original release. Chapter One - “All The Love” - The book begins with a thorough examination of Bush’s childhood. Reared in relative comfort by self-made and well-to-do parents, she and her two older brothers, Paddy and John Carder, were all given free reign to pursue a variety of intellectual and artistic pursuits. Music was a huge part of the family’s life, and Kate was encouraged and supported as she developed into a precocious songwriter. Much has been made in later years of the fact that Bush never had to struggle or suffer during her formative days, but it’s clear from this narrative that her close-knit and slightly eccentric family was a melting pot of creativity that formed and informed her muse. Chapter Two - “Somewhere In Between” - This segment focuses on Kate’s school days. A quiet yet stellar student, Bush was an academic talent who breezed through her examinations. The big revelation here is that literally no one saw anything in Bush that would have prefigured her impending stardom. None of her instructors saw it coming, nor did most of her classmates. She did develop a couple of close friendships that continue to this day, but it’s clear that Kate had no interest in winning the school talent show. It’s here that you begin to get an idea of Kate Bush as the control freak, the secretive genius who quite literally walked to the beat of her own tune. Chapter Three - “Room For The Life” - Bush is “discovered” by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. A demo is shopped and flops. Another demo is prepped and captures the interest of the EMI recording group. Kate is signed and then told to take some time to develop and groom her craft until such time as the record label is ready to deal with her. Kate writes and records songs. Kate learns dance. Kate writes more songs. Kate hones her skills on piano. Kate writes. She puts together a pub band, calling it the KT Bush Band. Performing doesn’t come easy to her, especially when she’s covering old 1970s rock standards. She writes more songs. Finally the time is right for her to step into the studio to record her debut album. Chapter Four - “Pulling Out The Pin” - Bush’s debut album is released. “The Kick Inside” is an odd and layered take on piano pop, and the lead single, “Wuthering Heights,” hits the charts with gale force intensity. Kate Bush becomes an overnight sensation and is thrust into the maelstrom of stardom with all of its perks and irritations. Based on Emily Bronte’s book, “Wuthering Heights” highlights Bush’s big voice and big fascination with words and images. The album itself causes some stress as the label forces her to use session musicians rather than her own players from the KT Bush Band on most of the songs. The germ of Kate’s future insistence on complete artistic control is planted here, and you can see it grow in later chapters. Chapter Five - “Rocket’s Tail” - Bush’s sophomore album, “Lionheart,” is recorded and released. A solid record, it does nothing to advance Kate’s musical vision, playing along the same themes and instrumentations of “The Kick Inside.” She is again caught in a tug-of-war with EMI regarding the musicians she will use on the record. The tension and demands on Bush’s time in the wake of success produce a tepid and somewhat timid outcome. But the stage is literally set for Bush’s first step out onto the concert touring trail. Chapter Six - “The Tour Of Life” - This chapter chronicles Bush’s one and only full-fledged concert tour. It’s a spectacle of sublime proportions, with Kate’s control-freak tendencies finally coming full bore to the front. She assumes total responsibility for the production, exerting her influence over every detail of the tour, from the sets to the lights to the arrangements and choreography. It is an enormously draining experience, leaving Bush physically and mentally exhausted. It is quite possibly the reason why Kate quietly decides never to tour again, leaving fans with only videos and occasional television performance spots as their only way to experience her on a physical level. Chapter Seven - “Breathing” - Kate’s third full-length album release, “Never For Ever” is recorded and released. Bush begins the transformation from quirky yet listener-friendly tunesmithing to a more eclectic and experimental sound. A mix of old compositions and new ones, Kate is more forward about using her own musicians and exerts more control over the recording process. “Never For Ever” is remarkable in that it is Kate’s first flirtation with the Fairlight synthesizer, a machine that would come to dominate her sound in future recordings. Bush was always an early adopter of new technology, and the Fairlight expands her musical vision in ways no one could adequately visualize. Chapter Eight - “Into The Dreaming” - Kate finally takes total control and promptly jumps completely off the rails with the dense and uncommercial “The Dreaming.” It spawns no hit singles and drops off of the charts quickly, prompting EMI to begin worrying about Bush as a viable artist. It’s a challenging record that demands much of the listener. Oddly enough, “The Dreaming” begins to build an audience for Bush in the States, as college radio latches on to its truly eccentric and alternative vibe. Chapter Nine - “A Deal With God” - “Hounds Of Love” is released and establishes Bush as a true star completely at home with her ideas and vision. Pop music has caught up with her, and she manages to hold on to her high level of control even as she knocks Madonna off of the top of the British charts. It’s a comeback of unprecedented proportions, and ensures that Bush will forevermore have total artistic control over her albums and image. She embraces pop stardom to some degree, appearing on a number of records by other artists, most notably Peter Gabriel. Chapter Ten - “Put Your Feet Down, Child. You’re All Grown Up Now.” - Bush waits for years to deliver the follow-up to “Hounds Of Love,” in the form of “The Sensual World.” Another huge hit, the album even goes gold here in the United States, her only full-length record to do so. Not as focused as “Hounds,” it still manages to captivate her core audience. She follows that up a few years later with an almost sloppy-by-Bush’s-standards disk called “The Red Shoes.” “Shoes” adds some funk influences to her sound, but it’s clear that Bush is tired and coasting on past successes. It sells well but is far from her best work. Chapter Eleven - “An Architect’s Dream” - Bush micromanages a long-form video to accompany “The Red Shoes,” calling it “The Line, The Cross, And The Curve.” The effort exhausts her and produces a confusing and surprisingly cheap-looking movie that does nothing to add to the appeal of the album. It’s clear that Bush is worn out, and she ends up taking a 12-year hiatus before resurfacing with an album called “Aerial.” Chapter Twelve - “How To Be Invisible” - “Aerial” is hailed as a return to classic form and is the only one of Bush’s post-"Hounds" albums to merit comparisons to her glory days. Kate has clearly embraced her domestic persona, though, as the lyrical content demonstrates. She is a parent to a son now, and her life moves to a particular rhythm that is reflected in the grooves of the music. The whole story doesn’t end there, of course. Bush would go on to release another album, the mysterious “Smilla’s Sense Of Snow,” and come out of performance retirement for her long stand at Hammersmith. Kate has nothing left to prove at this point, and I’d be surprised to see much more from her in terms of either live or recorded output ever again. Her life has never been an open book. It’s always been clear that Kate Bush values her private life above all else, preferring to control her image and her art in static still-life. Her relationship with Del Palmer is well-chronicled in this book, and the reader does get a sense of Kate Bush, the human being. It’s as good a biography as you will ever get where the author didn’t have access to the primary source material. Bush herself has already written her autobiography, it’s all there in her music and lyrics. She poured so much of herself into every album and every composition that the true fan can’t help but to think that they know her quite well just from listening to her albums alone. Kate Bush always had a mystical, Pagan connection to the rhythms of her life, and all you have to do to find that rhythm and that connection to Kate is to sit down and immerse yourself in the songs. So much I missed in this review. Kate’s sexual (and sensuous) nature is covered here, as is her refusal to market herself on those terms. Her relationship with her brothers and parents is much discussed. I could go on, but the best thing you can do if you’re a fan is to get this book and absorb it all. As for me, I’ll go settle in for another listening of “Hounds Of Love”...........

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Catt

    This book is practically how I expected it to be before I begun to read it. It's a run through of the work and life of Kate Bush with further insights from those who were around her when she wrote, recorded and performed her songs. The great thing about this book is how revealing it is. Not revealing in terms of personal details, but it gives the reader a very close look into the writing and recording process. Not coming from a musical background, I had no idea what generally goes on when record This book is practically how I expected it to be before I begun to read it. It's a run through of the work and life of Kate Bush with further insights from those who were around her when she wrote, recorded and performed her songs. The great thing about this book is how revealing it is. Not revealing in terms of personal details, but it gives the reader a very close look into the writing and recording process. Not coming from a musical background, I had no idea what generally goes on when recording music or the technical side of it, let alone when it's Kate Bush doing the recording, which obviously has it's own effect on the experience due to her meticulous nature. The author uses a copious amount of interviews from many of the people around her during this time, and (when the interviewees aren't consistently fawning over how wonderful they perceived her to be) it can be highly fascinating. The sheer number of people interviewed for this work ensured that a somewhat balanced view came across. However, as mentioned, some would be overly enthusiastic in their declarations and this would seem repetitive - though it was their job to answer honestly. There are a few aspects in which I feel this book failed. Namely, it is highly irritating to see Kate compared to other female artists. Usually the female music artists would be denigrated in a way to raise Kate above all others, which is grossly unfair and misrepresents them. Artists like Bjork and Enya, and also more contemporary ones like Florence + The Machine and Bat For Lashes are accused of almost riding on Kate's coattails, which is quite clearly false. Male artists aren't subject to this kind of scrutiny, and when compounded with the author's fixation on Kate's embodiment of a perceived male nature, the writing can often feel far too caught up in binaries and misogyny. Furthermore, he does imbue Kate with a goddess-like persona, hailing her music collectively as some kind of unattainable perfection (whereas he's not afraid to criticise some of her songs as being ridiculous). It seems a little bit inconsistent, and not a particularly balanced method of analysis. One more thing, although this by no means is the fault of the author, is that towards the end of the book he makes assumptions tantamount to 'Kate will NEVER perform again'. This book was released less than a year prior to Before The Dawn (Kate's 2014 tour - the first since 1979's Tour of Life) and it's frustrating to read this, especially as I attended one of her shows. However, as I said, her tour in 2014 was extremely unexpected, so this is not the fault of the author by any means. Overall, this book is highly entertaining and interesting to read. Often humourous, it does separate the media cliches from the facts effectively and you feel like you come away with a more well rounded view. That is if you get past the relentless iconoclastic views of modern technology, the denigration of female artists and veneration of Kate as some kind of deity. Would probably only recommend to fans of Kate Bush, but that was probably a given anyway.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jayne Lamb

    Far and away the best Kate bio out there, and as she'll never agree to an authorised one, this is a close as we'll get, with Thomson talking to a lot of important 'Kate' people (Charlie Morgan, Stewart Avon-arnold) who don't usually get a look in. Great to see a book that's not afraid to be critical, but it's no hatchet job - Thomson genuinely loves Bush's music and isn't afraid to point out how much the rampant 'boy's club' attitude of the English music press made her first a joke and then an i Far and away the best Kate bio out there, and as she'll never agree to an authorised one, this is a close as we'll get, with Thomson talking to a lot of important 'Kate' people (Charlie Morgan, Stewart Avon-arnold) who don't usually get a look in. Great to see a book that's not afraid to be critical, but it's no hatchet job - Thomson genuinely loves Bush's music and isn't afraid to point out how much the rampant 'boy's club' attitude of the English music press made her first a joke and then an idol. (She's neither...just a brilliant musician.)Don't bother with any of the other biographies (well, the Paul Kerton one from 79 is pretty awesome for nostalgia value.)This is the one to read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Reighley

    Over the course of her career, Kate Bush has become a very private woman, which means that as this book progresses, the details surrounding the progress of her art and personal live become more scant. Regardless, Mr. Thompson does a commendable job of sourcing enough collaborators to ensure that this book is packed with new insights. More importantly, he is a thoughtful fan and critic. You may not always agree with his opinions about Bush's music and life, but they provide welcome food for thoug Over the course of her career, Kate Bush has become a very private woman, which means that as this book progresses, the details surrounding the progress of her art and personal live become more scant. Regardless, Mr. Thompson does a commendable job of sourcing enough collaborators to ensure that this book is packed with new insights. More importantly, he is a thoughtful fan and critic. You may not always agree with his opinions about Bush's music and life, but they provide welcome food for thought.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Don't get me wrong; I adore Kate, but this review is about the book, not her. My biggest issue with this book is the confused and jumbled timeline it was purportedly following. It was so consistently jumbled that I still feel confused on the order of events and the cause and effect patterns of those events. Although less frustrating, throughout the book but especially toward the end, common presses and even direct quotes were recycled to the point of distraction. If you've nothing new to say, trim Don't get me wrong; I adore Kate, but this review is about the book, not her. My biggest issue with this book is the confused and jumbled timeline it was purportedly following. It was so consistently jumbled that I still feel confused on the order of events and the cause and effect patterns of those events. Although less frustrating, throughout the book but especially toward the end, common presses and even direct quotes were recycled to the point of distraction. If you've nothing new to say, trim the book down and stop killing trees for wasted pages.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mateusz

    I am a big fan of Kate Bush so I was looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, I am very disappointed. It's badly written and full of mistakes. Moreover, the author's personal opinions were quite disturbing. Kate Bush is an exeptional artist and human being and I truly believe "Under The Ivy" does now show it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Upson

    I've been a Kate Bush fan since I was seven, when Wuthering Heights came out, and I've loved her music ever since - but this book showed me how little I really knew about her. Balanced, informative and really well researched.

  11. 4 out of 5

    shannon

    Oh right. White guy music critics. Rightrightrightrightright.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kahn

    There is a problem inherent with the subject matter when it comes to writing about Kate Bush – she doesn't want to be written about. A good biography needs, at its core, the very minimum of some collaboration with the person being put under the spotlight. And if there's one place Ms Bush has never really wanted to be its under the spotlight. Interviews with those around her are all well and good, but what you want to know is what Kate was thinking/going through during the periods we and her care There is a problem inherent with the subject matter when it comes to writing about Kate Bush – she doesn't want to be written about. A good biography needs, at its core, the very minimum of some collaboration with the person being put under the spotlight. And if there's one place Ms Bush has never really wanted to be its under the spotlight. Interviews with those around her are all well and good, but what you want to know is what Kate was thinking/going through during the periods we and her care about most. The albums. But when you're left to scour through interviews she gave at the time – interviews where she is always famously guarded – then you leave the reader at the mercy of your whims and interpretations. And with the best will in the world, I didn't pick up Under The Ivy to find out what Graeme Thomson thought of The Red Shoes and Director's Cut. Rebooted off the back of Kate's Before The Dawn residency at the Hammersmith Apollo, this edition is the original version (plus a few tweaks in light of the new events) with an added bit at the back all about the biggest music event in recent memory. What shines through from the very start is how big a fan of Kate's the author is. What also becomes increasingly clear is that she was very much the focus of his sexual awakenings. In fact her effect on men is never too far from his thoughts, especially when one of her band members muses on sunbathing next to a "nearly naked" Kate while making her second album. She was 20 at that point, but apparently we need to know she was being leered over by someone she was paying to play music. We also get the anecdote from legendary producer Tony Visconti where her music proved to be less memorable than her backside. The inclusion of such passages does neither the author or men concerned any credit. Part of the problem Thomson has is he is trying to make Kate Bush interesting. He's trying to add new layers to her. Sadly, away from her music, she is delightfully normal. She drinks tea. Other than the odd joint, her drug of choice was, for years, nicotine. Motley Crue's The Dirt this was never going to be. And trying to twist her words into a sly dig at Madonna should really have been beneath him. What this means is the book only kicks into gear when talking about the albums. Her feelings and thoughts are, of course, lacking, but at least we get some sense of the process from those who were in the room at the time. And really, given that the woman herself has only ever wanted to be known by her art, that should have been enough. But Thomson clearly had a word count to hit and a publisher who wanted more. So what we end up with, meaningless piffle aside, is one man's view of her albums. A fan's view. A fan who, like a player-turned-pundit on Match Of The Day, feels the need to be excessively harsh on her later work so as to show no favouritism. And, as the tone clearly shifts through the final third of the book, a fan who was becoming increasingly irked that his subject wasn't talking to him. All of which, ultimately, leaves the reader with a bad taste in the mouth and the feeling that while we may have learnt something about one of the most enigmatic musicians of the last 40 years, we're certainly no closer to her.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3247829.html A readable artistic biography, taking us through Bush's career up to the time of publication using public sources and interviews with former colleagues (though not Bush herself as far as I can see). Bush is far from a one-shot wonder, but it's clear that her biggest (and quite extraordinary) success was at the very start of her career, with “Wuthering Heights”, “The Man With the Child in his Eyes” and The Kick Inside. It's extraordinary that those first https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3247829.html A readable artistic biography, taking us through Bush's career up to the time of publication using public sources and interviews with former colleagues (though not Bush herself as far as I can see). Bush is far from a one-shot wonder, but it's clear that her biggest (and quite extraordinary) success was at the very start of her career, with “Wuthering Heights”, “The Man With the Child in his Eyes” and The Kick Inside. It's extraordinary that those first songs were written when she was a teenager, “The Man With the Child in his Eyes” when she was 16. After that, she was basically rich enough to do what she wanted, without too much pressure to succeed further (and clearly much more careful with her money than, say, Pete Townshend). And what she wanted was generally studio recording rather than the public stage - between 1979 and 2014 there were no Kate Bush live concerts, and few appearances. Few of her later songs are as successful as the early ones, but some are, and I get the sense that for the last forty years she has been more or less throwing artistic ideas at the wall and seeing what would stick. I was also very interested to note that despite her eclectic performances and style, she is still very much a music industry insider - an outlier rather than a revolutionary. It was David Gilmour of Pink Floyd who spotted her when she was 16 (here's a 2002 bootleg video of her perfoming "Comfortably Numb" with Gilmour). As The Kick Inside and Lionheart came out she was providing backing vocals for Peter Gabriel (who is co-credited with her on the 1979 Kate Bush Christmas Special). The book includes chummy pictures with Midge Ure and Terry Gilliam. I don't want to exaggerate this, of course - she also cultivated the Trio Bulgarka for The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, well outside the British music industry's normal comfort zone. Anyway, Thomson's books was an enlightening read even for a non-fan.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Bottrell

    Kate Bush is my summer 2017 infatuation, and I've been quickly making my way through this serviceable biography - about as good as one might expect without access to a lot of personal interviews with artist and family. I began in the middle with the chapter featuring her "Dreaming" recording sessions, and after getting to the end, I'll read the beginning chapters. I bought this big crazy drawing of her on Etsy that I either need to bravely take to the frame shop and hang in my bedroom or to sens Kate Bush is my summer 2017 infatuation, and I've been quickly making my way through this serviceable biography - about as good as one might expect without access to a lot of personal interviews with artist and family. I began in the middle with the chapter featuring her "Dreaming" recording sessions, and after getting to the end, I'll read the beginning chapters. I bought this big crazy drawing of her on Etsy that I either need to bravely take to the frame shop and hang in my bedroom or to sensibly stow in my closet. We'll see.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Iiris

    The author has done a huge work and this book was a journey, even though the finnish translation wasn’t that good. The book was at its best when enjoyed with Bush’s vinyl records one at the time. First listening and thinking about the texts and songs and then reading what others have said about them. Though the book is really appreciating Bush as an artist (like it should be), sometimes there could be less mentions about her appearance and how stunning etc. it is. Like almost always in books abou The author has done a huge work and this book was a journey, even though the finnish translation wasn’t that good. The book was at its best when enjoyed with Bush’s vinyl records one at the time. First listening and thinking about the texts and songs and then reading what others have said about them. Though the book is really appreciating Bush as an artist (like it should be), sometimes there could be less mentions about her appearance and how stunning etc. it is. Like almost always in books about artists that happen to be women.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jarvo

    This is a good biography which I've given three stars rather than four because I'm not sure how much it would interest those not already into its subject. The book is really strong on two or three key things beginning with upbringing and background. From her youngest days Kate's family encouraged her to express herself and develop her imagination in an environment that was free from recrimination. This was incredibly conducive to creativity, and she has tried to replicate this environment through This is a good biography which I've given three stars rather than four because I'm not sure how much it would interest those not already into its subject. The book is really strong on two or three key things beginning with upbringing and background. From her youngest days Kate's family encouraged her to express herself and develop her imagination in an environment that was free from recrimination. This was incredibly conducive to creativity, and she has tried to replicate this environment throughout her career, often working with members of her own family. Secondly despite the 'hippy pixie' image she is single minded to the point of stubborness, and indulges her perfectionism to the nth degree. Basically if she can't have it her way she is not interested in doing it all (if she was an author she would be hell to work with). And thirdly how close the unexpected early success of 'Wuthering Heights' came to derailing her career and how strong she needed to be to regain control of it thereafter. (The book is also clear that she is incredibly nice, and according to many of the male interviewees many other things besides). To be honest I felt the book was no more than adequate when dealing with her music. It only really touches on a handful of themes (eg childhood or sexuality) and alludes to many others (eg the esoteric) without delving more deeply. In general I thought it was critical in the right places but never addressed one of the central conundrums of Bush's work, which is how someone can go from the sublime to the ridiculous (or at least the very middle of the road) with such regularity. Perhaps that's just my response to her work. However for me the single most striking thing about reading the book was the realization that Kate and Elvis Costello, who Thomson has also written a biography of, were the two artists I'd been following the longest, who'd emerged as I was beginning to listen to music properly and who I was still following. And that they are mirror images of each other, and in strange ways complete each other. Costello is prolific, constantly touring and active across a range of musical forms but conventional within them. Bush has managed ten studio albums in 36 years, is about to tour for the second time, and has experimented relentlessly. But these aren't the key differences. Costello's art is a celebration of the intellect, with an aggressive use of irony. Bush's music is always intelligent and often humourous but neither intelligence or humour are ever used as a weapon. As Thomson frequently notes it is emotional truth that matters in her music. Perhaps one artist represents the male principle and one the female principle. (Not that I'm saying that men think and women feel mind, or at least not just that). Post script: It might seem strange to characterise a hit single as a threat to a career but when a teenage KB became the first female performer to reach number one with a song they'd written, getting to the top of the charts really was like scaling Everest and you became public property. Consider the case of Dexy's. They seemed to survive Geno well enough but when Come on Eileen broke all records, there next album took four years as Kevin Rowland sought the perfect follow up, which he both did and didn't manage - Don't Stand Me Dwon being both the best album of the 80's and a commercial flop. The album after that didn't appear for 26 years. How many more would there have been without Eileen and the pressures it brought?)

  17. 4 out of 5

    lucy

    I finally downloaded this book onto my Kindle after requesting it every Christmas since it came out. I naïvely thought I had nothing new to learn about Kate Bush as I've been an avid fan since I was thirteen and at some point I've voraciously consumed every interview on YouTube, the whole of Gaffaweb and I've read many books about her already. I was wrong. The thing that sets this book apart from its predecessors in the world of Kate Bush biographies is the meticulousness of the research and, I'm I finally downloaded this book onto my Kindle after requesting it every Christmas since it came out. I naïvely thought I had nothing new to learn about Kate Bush as I've been an avid fan since I was thirteen and at some point I've voraciously consumed every interview on YouTube, the whole of Gaffaweb and I've read many books about her already. I was wrong. The thing that sets this book apart from its predecessors in the world of Kate Bush biographies is the meticulousness of the research and, I'm sure, the well-sought after interviews with Kate's confidantes, former work-colleagues and classmates. They all revealed something new about her craft. Also, Thomson's interpretations of Kate's music are so inspired – to the extent that these songs I've heard thousands of times before metamorphosed into entirely new beasts. I was so impressed, and while I think there were some times were he automatically assumed that she was talking about sex to fulfil some kind of lusty fantasy, most of his analysis's rang true. My biggest complaint about this book is that the editor should be shot. He/she indulged their client to the extent that the book could easily have lost one-hundred pages and been better off for it. There were sections that looked as though they could have been copied and pasted verbatim from earlier passages (yes, the editing was that bad) and it was highly confused in terms of the chronological order. There was no real structure to the book, and stronger editor could have made this book blow all other competition out of the water in terms of an essential book about Kate Bush's life and work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    At last a serious, detailed look at Kate Bush's career. I read the hardback edition, which covers 2005's Aerial, but the paperback has an added chapter, but of course there is no mention that there will be a return to the live stage for her. The majority of the book is about the music, which is understandable considering how little information is released either by Kate Bush, or those who know her, about her life, and to be honest I think this makes the book better for it. Kate doesn't want peop At last a serious, detailed look at Kate Bush's career. I read the hardback edition, which covers 2005's Aerial, but the paperback has an added chapter, but of course there is no mention that there will be a return to the live stage for her. The majority of the book is about the music, which is understandable considering how little information is released either by Kate Bush, or those who know her, about her life, and to be honest I think this makes the book better for it. Kate doesn't want people to confuse her life with her work, and the reason I like her is her music (and accompanying videos), so looking in depth at this aspect is ultimately more satisfying than regurgitating the reported drivel that has surrounded her ever since Wuthering Heights was released. Anyway, the book is balanced in its approach, critical where necessary (sometimes a little harsh, if anything, concerning a couple of the albums), useful in explaining some of the more obscure songs, and overall it should please any Kate Bush fan who wants to know about this most extraordinary of singer-songwriters. And yes I have got a ticket, and yes I am rather excited.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    I gave up. I LOVE Kate Bush but feel like it needed to be covered by a stronger author and editor. It's like he didn't get all of his ideas together and keeps going back and forth in time. Confusing and as a reader leaves me frustrated.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    While here and there Thomson's personal biases about Bush's music leak through, this is a stunning, in-depth biography of Kate Bush. One struggles to think of anything necessary the author has left out.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Suzanna

    With a book like this, it's insightful to read about the artist's journey (her first album came out in 1978) and return to the music with greater appreciation.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Fabulous read...now working my way through the ole back catalogue.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ella A.

    The first time I heard Kate Bush’s music, it was her cult classic “Wuthering Heights” and I hated it. The vocals sounded like hysterical shrieking. The intro had the sound of an oppressive and creaking organ that made me want to cry with frustration. It became a running joke in my family how much I absolutely hated that song. They knew that if they wanted to annoy me, all you would have to do is click play on Kate Bush. Cue two years later, I walk into the living room and hear one of the most arr The first time I heard Kate Bush’s music, it was her cult classic “Wuthering Heights” and I hated it. The vocals sounded like hysterical shrieking. The intro had the sound of an oppressive and creaking organ that made me want to cry with frustration. It became a running joke in my family how much I absolutely hated that song. They knew that if they wanted to annoy me, all you would have to do is click play on Kate Bush. Cue two years later, I walk into the living room and hear one of the most arresting songs I have ever heard being played by my father. It has a strong atmosphere and piercing but catchy lyrics. It’s Kate Bush’s “Army Dreamers.” Kate managed to put Vietnam social commentary in a folklorish song that could be played and re-played on the radio. Magic. From then on, I was a Kate convert and what was once shrieking became siren-sounding magic. What I once saw as creaky, became supernatural, haunting, and Gothic perfection. Kate Bush is an acquired taste with her theatrical bent, bordering on kitsch. But, I love it. (Kate’s whole Emily Bronte meets dancing witch thing is also totally on-brand for me) I love how she can be melodramatic but also deeply profound and political. How her voice, despite seeming only going one place, high, can carry so much weight and has an impressive range. (As the book said: "As a singer, she has constantly pushed her voice into uncompromising shapes, disdaining melisma and using button-pushing over-emoting in order to use her vocals as another instrument, never simply plumping for conventional beauty when something more interesting, primal and challenging might be available.") Kate Bush is not only an icon, with a singular vision, but also a true genius. She was one of the first to use the extremely influential Fairlight synth sample and she helped invent the headset mic among many other innovations. And, where does one begin with the genius of her masterpiece, the Hounds of Love album? Well, I know, at least, how it makes me feel. Her music is like no other and I have truly had some of the most fun listening to it. Her “Hounds of Love” feels like freedom coursing through my veins. The entire “Hounds of Love” album ambushes in the listener, in masterpiece after masterpiece. While some of her songs are “too much” even for me, I still respect them. For example, I don’t enjoy “Waking the Witch” but oh my gosh, there is nothing else like it. It’s overwhelming perfection. “This Women’s Work” could make you cry. Kate singing “You're like my yo-yo” in “Cloudbusting” get’s me every time. The slight irony of beginning “The Sensual World’ with church bells. I also love how she manages to imbed literary references into her work without it being pretentious. She has a beautiful way of melding "high" and "low" culture. She can effortlessly refer to something SO easily obnoxious like Ulysses by James Joyce in one song and Pinachho in another. Both, with the same amount of reverence and passion. As the book says: "She is the 'hungry' woman of Dylan's songs-fully awake, sensual, quiveringly alive- utterly without shame, astoundingly bold in her declaration of her appetites and fears. This is raw feminity in mind and body, but expressed in a very musical way." Needless to say, I greatly enjoyed Under the Ivy: The Life & Music of Kate Bush by Graeme Thomson with its profound insights nestled in beautiful prose. It could be a little tedious at times since it did go in-depth into the minutia of the album creation but he many beautiful insights that helped balance out the endless specifics. My only issue was that there was just a whiff of anti-feminism which is weird when discussing an artist who was so committed to women's stories and experiences but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book since it was extremely subtle and small and reflected the author and obviously not Kate.

  24. 5 out of 5

    KrisAnne

    I finished this a week ago, but wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to say about it. It's been a delightful way to start the new year, actually, immersed in the work of one of my all time top tier artists, and thinking about how I stumbled on her music in high school and never stopped listening to her. This author's thorough examination of the production choices and process and technology used on every album prompted me to listen to each album as I read, and it was like listening to 60+ episodes o I finished this a week ago, but wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to say about it. It's been a delightful way to start the new year, actually, immersed in the work of one of my all time top tier artists, and thinking about how I stumbled on her music in high school and never stopped listening to her. This author's thorough examination of the production choices and process and technology used on every album prompted me to listen to each album as I read, and it was like listening to 60+ episodes of Song Exploder in a row (in a good way). I also went down a bunch of youtube rabbitholes looking for all the weird footage mentioned in the book and thank you internet nerds, y'all really came through with the VHS postings. We take somewhat for granted now that teenage girls can be auteurs, in control of their output (and public) image, but it was very striking to think about how much that was not the case when Kate Bush got her record deal. She was lucky to have a supportive and protective family, as well as--crucially--an advocate always somewhere in the chain of command at EMI, but she also clearly has always had a great deal of confidence in her singular artistic vision, however wackadoodle it might seem, and that's one reason I have always instinctively been so drawn to her music, even when I haven't been super into whatever she's doing (Aerial wasn't my thing when it came out, and now 14 years later I am blown away by it). Anyway, I'm just saying, I don't think we'd have someone like Lorde, teenage auteur par excellence, an actual artist whose progress I will be very interested to keep following, without Kate Bush (also, have you listened to Writer in the Dark? it's totally a Kate Bush song, without the interesting piano playing). Mainly, I had the constant underlying wish that a feminist music critic, preferably a woman, had written this book. The author does an okay job of trying to separate his storytelling from the intensely male-gazey way Bush was received when she made her debut in the 70s, but he is as breathlessly into her as any of those 70s dudes, and I think his analysis of the music and her motivations is colored by this. Well: the book was revised to incorporate the flurry of studio productivity Bush had in 2011, but missed out on her unimaginable string of live shows in 2014, so there's still room for someone else to write another bio. This book is probably essential reading if you're super into Kate Bush--I don't know why you'd pick it up otherwise.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David

    Leave my Muse alone I am a fan of Pop music of today and of my youthful days. That being said, as a musician myself i have always been drawn stronger to the artists who compose, sing, play, present themselves in a way that is theirs alone. Kate is one of them. I think this book strikes the perfect balance between loving its subject, telling stories, praising and casting a critical eye. For me, the best part was responding to Kate as she talked about creating music. I found some similar points wit Leave my Muse alone I am a fan of Pop music of today and of my youthful days. That being said, as a musician myself i have always been drawn stronger to the artists who compose, sing, play, present themselves in a way that is theirs alone. Kate is one of them. I think this book strikes the perfect balance between loving its subject, telling stories, praising and casting a critical eye. For me, the best part was responding to Kate as she talked about creating music. I found some similar points with her. I am strengthened by her determination to do it her way..a good compass for all of us in the creative arts.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wayde Compton

    This is the biography of Kate Bush I've been waiting for. I have some quibbles -- he essentializes gender in some insufferable ways -- but it is thorough, generous, balanced, and highly illuminating about her artistic process, which at all times remains front and centre in the narrative. The hazard of writing about music is that it is so subjective an experience that you will always find yourself disagreeing about some assessment in a music bio. (The Dreaming, for example, is often panned, but i This is the biography of Kate Bush I've been waiting for. I have some quibbles -- he essentializes gender in some insufferable ways -- but it is thorough, generous, balanced, and highly illuminating about her artistic process, which at all times remains front and centre in the narrative. The hazard of writing about music is that it is so subjective an experience that you will always find yourself disagreeing about some assessment in a music bio. (The Dreaming, for example, is often panned, but it's my favourite album of hers.) Thomson manages mostly to avoid this problem by considering her music and performance from multiple angles. Fair enough.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Margie

    I really thought I’d like this biography more than I did. While the author clearly pulled together an impressive amount of information about Bush, I found myself thinking that I didn’t really get to know her. Perhaps that is because she is so private or perhaps it is because the author’s perspective on her is so dominant throughout the book. She’s pretty—we get it. How many times does that need to be said? His own infatuation colors his perception. He also tends to repeat himself as he gives det I really thought I’d like this biography more than I did. While the author clearly pulled together an impressive amount of information about Bush, I found myself thinking that I didn’t really get to know her. Perhaps that is because she is so private or perhaps it is because the author’s perspective on her is so dominant throughout the book. She’s pretty—we get it. How many times does that need to be said? His own infatuation colors his perception. He also tends to repeat himself as he gives details about the albums and events of her life. I can’t help but wonder if a woman, even a super-fan, would have been more objective in telling the story of Kate Bush.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Ambrosino

    I’ve been a fan of Kate Bush for a very long time and reading about her life and art was nothing short of amazing. This wasn’t a usual music biography in the sense that there wasn’t so much drama, drug use, etc. Instead it was just beautifully written about a woman and her art. After reading it I only respect and admire her even more. She is a woman who never settled with something she didn’t want in her music. A pioneer of women in music who did most of the production herself early on in her ca I’ve been a fan of Kate Bush for a very long time and reading about her life and art was nothing short of amazing. This wasn’t a usual music biography in the sense that there wasn’t so much drama, drug use, etc. Instead it was just beautifully written about a woman and her art. After reading it I only respect and admire her even more. She is a woman who never settled with something she didn’t want in her music. A pioneer of women in music who did most of the production herself early on in her career. A must read for Bush fans.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    One of the best intros I’ve ever read. Could’ve done without the tedious breakdown of each song on every single album. I do feel like the author loses his steam near the end, probably where he added chapters for the second edition in 2011. But I enjoyed learning the timeline of Bush’s life and career and I feel a deeper appreciation for her work. I feel lucky to have been introduced to her when I was only about 10, when I was instantly attracted to the childlike wonder and imagination she captur One of the best intros I’ve ever read. Could’ve done without the tedious breakdown of each song on every single album. I do feel like the author loses his steam near the end, probably where he added chapters for the second edition in 2011. But I enjoyed learning the timeline of Bush’s life and career and I feel a deeper appreciation for her work. I feel lucky to have been introduced to her when I was only about 10, when I was instantly attracted to the childlike wonder and imagination she captures in many of her songs

  30. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    This is a good book for big Kate Bush fans. There are some interesting stories and everyone interviewed had lovely things to say about Kate, it's always good to know that an artist you love is a nice person! I especially enjoyed learning about her childhood and somewhat unusual upbringing. My only issue is with the author. Graeme Thomson is too into facts and figures. I have the same complaint about his Elvis Costello book, Complicated Shadows. It may just be my personal problem. I love to analy This is a good book for big Kate Bush fans. There are some interesting stories and everyone interviewed had lovely things to say about Kate, it's always good to know that an artist you love is a nice person! I especially enjoyed learning about her childhood and somewhat unusual upbringing. My only issue is with the author. Graeme Thomson is too into facts and figures. I have the same complaint about his Elvis Costello book, Complicated Shadows. It may just be my personal problem. I love to analyse song lyrics and music videos. I love to theorize about what the artist may have been trying to say, what may be the hidden message and with artists like Kate Bush and Elvis Costello there is plenty to unpack what with Kate's mystical, esoteric nature and Elvis' wordplay. Graeme Thomson, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be too interested in that kind of thing. For example, referring to Kate's 'Before the Dawn' live show, he writes: For those who wished to seek out codes, messages, threads and influences, there was plenty to chew on. 'Before the Dawn' touched upon angels, Celtic myth, reincarnation, motherhood, circadian rhythms, saints, birds, steampunk, The Tempest, Ulysses, War House, Hammer Horror, Doctor Who, witchcraft, JMW Turner, Pinocchio, The Hogsmill Ophelia, the end of childhood, and much else besides. I feel it would have been great if he had actually elaborated on these things but instead he only talks about exactly what happened in the shows, step by step, with no deeper analyses of what it all may have meant. He tends to focus more on how well this single sold and what chart position this album reached. It's not interesting to me. One thing I will say is that I appreciate his ability to criticize artists he clearly admires but I finished this book with the horribly unsatisfying feeling of not really knowing much more than I did when I started. Graeme unfortunately leaves us nothing to chew on. I would recommend this book to big fans but don't expect to have your mind blown!

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