IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (35)

Yesterday’s posting involved a lot of research and work. Today’s is a straight lift from wiki, albeit in edited form:-

Wuthering Heights is a song by Kate Bush released as her debut single in November 1977 and re-released in January 1978. It appears on her 1978 debut album The Kick Inside. It stayed at number one on the UK Singles Chart for four weeks, and remains Bush’s most successful single. The song received widespread critical acclaim, with Pitchfork naming it the fifth greatest song of the 1970s.

Bush wrote the song aged 18, within a few hours late at night on 5 March 1977. She was inspired after seeing the 1967 BBC adaptation of the 1847 novel Wuthering Heights. She then read the book and discovered that she shared her birthday with author Emily Brontë.

Wuthering Heights is sung from the perspective of the character Catherine Earnshaw, pleading at Heathcliff’s window to be allowed in. It quotes Catherine’s dialogue, including the chorus lyric “Let me in! I’m so cold!” and “bad dreams in the night”. Critic Simon Reynolds described it as “Gothic romance distilled into four-and-a-half minutes of gaseous rhapsody”. The vocal was recorded in a single take.

Bush’s record company, EMI, originally chose another track, James and the Cold Gun, as the lead single, but Bush was determined that it should be Wuthering Heights, which in due course was scheduled for release at the beginning of November 1977. However, the singer was unhappy with the images chosen for sleeve and demanded that it replaced. Although some copies of the single had already been sent out to radio stations, the label did relent and rescheduled the release for mid-January 1978, a move that actually was of immense and unforeseen benefit as a November release would have seen it clash with Mull of Kintyre, the new single by Wings that subsequently became the then biggest-selling single in UK history.

Wuthering Heights proved to be something of a slow burner, with most of its early plays being restricted to the London-based Capital Radio. It took a full month to reach the charts, but after a debut appearance on Top of The Pops, it went on an upwards spiral, hitting the top spot in mid-March, where it stayed for four weeks. It wouldn’t drop out of the Top 40 until May 1978, and come the end of the year was certified as the tenth highest-selling single of 1978, with sales of well over half a million.

mp3 : Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
mp3 : Kate Bush – Kite

Little known fact….and one which is a damning indictment on the pop industry.

Wuthering Heights was the first UK # 1 to be written and performed by a female artist.

JC

4 thoughts on “IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (35)

  1. Did that thing which is rare in pop music , genuinely sounded like nothing else at the time. Caused some strange thoughts in my 10 year old self

  2. Was amazed when I read that last sentence. Absolutely shocking.
    Respect to Kate for smashing that particular glass ceiling

  3. A stupendous song from start to finish. The new vocal version (The Whole Story) also works magnificently.

    Kate Bush was the 1st woman to write, perform and produce a number one album. She holds a number of 1sts that shine a spotlight on our sexist society.

  4. In America many probably heard this first via the [great] Pat Benatar cover on her second album in 1980. I will admit that Ms. Benatar changed a note at the end of the chorus that sounded much better. It was always a let down when I finally heard the original version once I [briefly] went down the Kate Bush rabbit hole following her amazing album “The Dreaming.” In ’82 I went back and bought everything else up to that point. I still shake my head at crusty old Hugh Cornwell robbbing the cradle with Ms. Bush.

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