the ascension of kate bush

In 1985 I joined the Navy. While stationed in San Diego for Basic Electricity and Electronics School (BEE), I met quite a few people who turned me onto music I’d never dreamed of.

One dude who did so was named Rob. I didn’t know him long: he attempted suicide one night and I never saw him again. Or forgot him. He introduced me to two artists that have hung with me for life: Renaissance and Kate Bush.

I’ve been reading a lot this week that Ms. Bush is finally getting the attention she deserves in the U.S. and across the world. Ironically, I also saw that she’s been nominated, but not inducted, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But more on that another time…

No artist that I’e ever heard can stir my emotions quite like Kate Bush. Two of the most intense experiences of my life happened while I was listening to her. Even though I’m firmly rooted in so-called Stoner/Doom and the heavier side of Prog, Kate remains at the top of my list, and on fairly heavy rotation.

I can’t explain it, and I’m not going to try too hard to do so. But she has an ability to move to mental and emotional states that words are insufficient to describe. Take the song Love and Anger from the album The Sensual World. It chokes me up, and if I listen to it at the wrong time, it downright fucks me up. But always in a healing, cathartic way.

For me, she’s simply transcendent- impossible to categorize or pin-down. Which commercially probably means impossible to market, at least in the U.S. Regardless, she is her own genre.

She’s also influenced much of the music we hear, from studio to performance techniques. I can’t listen to Tori Amos or even Bjork without hearing her in the background. I’d argue that even Beyonce owes her a debt, if for nothing else than a portable mic you can sing and dance with.

Ironically, with her finally in ascension due to Stranger Things, I’m also see comments from Boomers like me complaining that all of a sudden Kate Bush is HOT, #1 in streaming all over the place. Like our favorite artist becoming popular

I think it’s fricking AWESOME. I only hope that people take a deep, very deep dive into her work. Everything is so unexpectedly different, yet distinctive. From her teenage genius in being the first female artist in the UK with Wuthering Heights to her mysterious 50 Words for Snow.

I’m glad that I not only get to share Kate with more people, but that millions of people are probably hearing her for the first time, inspired by a favorite character in a great series. I hope everyone gets something personal and special from the exploration. Stranger Things have happened.

Here’s a little bonus: one of my favorite heavy bands covering my favorite Kate Bush song. Enjoy!

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