As the 80s megastar tops the charts again, we look back at her career highlights.

Image by Philip Chappell (Squidney) - (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Kate Bush is having a moment, thanks to the latest series of the Netflix hit Stranger Things. The staggeringly popular sci-fi show features Bush’s 1985 single, Running Up That Hill, and has sent it soaring to the top of the UK charts.

She is now the oldest woman ever to reach number one in the UK official singles charts, beating Cher, who was 52 when she did so with Believe.

Bush, 63, said recently: ‘I salute the Duffer Brothers [who created Stranger Things] for their courage and taking this new series into a much more adult and darker place.

‘I want to thank them so much for bringing Running Up That Hill into so many people’s lives. I’m overwhelmed by the scale of affection and support the song is receiving and it’s all happening really fast, as if it’s being driven along by a kind of elemental force.’

Nobody is more deserving of this renewed affection than the singer-songwriter, Kate Bush. She burst into our lives in 1979 and has quietly created remarkable music ever since. Though her influence is everywhere, publicity has never really been her thing. She has never done Desert Island Discs, for instance, but her records are mentioned on it all the time.

Born in Kent in 1958, she always had music in her bones and began writing songs aged 11. She is married to the guitarist Danny McIntosh with whom she had a son, Bertie, in 1998. ‘My life and my work are very interlocked. That’s partly why I like to keep my private life private,’ she once said.

Here, we look back at an astonishing career.

Wuthering Heights

When Kate Bush topped the charts with her debut single Wuthering Heights in 1978, she was the first female artist to get a UK number one with a self-written song. It remains her biggest-selling single. Watch it here.

Interview, March 1978

In this very early interview, filmed in the wake of Wuthering Height’s success, a smiley, softly spoken, 19-year-old Kate Bush shows the nation how self-assured she is. That confidence will go on to typify her relationship with the public. Watch it here.

Nationwide Documentary, 1979

In this impeccable programme, the cameras follow a newly minted Kate Bush and her team as they prepare for her first tour. Her charm never falters. Everything she says is thoughtful and unique. Once she’d completed The Life Tour, she didn’t tour again for 35 years. She told The Independent: ‘[After that…] I started to veer away from the thing of being a live performing artist, to one of being a recording artist with attached visuals.’ Watch it here.

Meet The Parents, 1979

In this clip, we see Kate Bush at home in Kent with her proud-as-punch-parents. ‘I’m her greatest fan,’ says her sweet dad. ‘I always knew there was something so original [about her] that I was sure she would make it.’ Watch it here.

With Delia Smith

Ahead of their time, Kate Bush – a passionate vegetarian – and Delia Smith extol the virtues of veggie cooking. Bush is just so endlessly likeable. She may be a musical genius, but we aren’t sure how great her culinary skills are... Watch it here.

Interview With Michael Aspel, 1993

She takes no prisoners, this one. When Aspel accuses Bush of having shunned publicity and the spotlight in recent years, she responds with almost withering poise: ‘Yes, I did. I wanted to spend a lot more time working rather than promoting the work.’ Fair dos. She also explains her lack of touring on her dislike of publicity and its attendant pressures. Watch it here.

Artists On Kate Bush, 2008

In this clip, a fascinating selection of musicians – from Toploader to Tori Amos – sing the praises of Kate Bush, alongside a soundtrack of her songs and photographs of her past. It’s bliss. Watch it here.

The Kate Bush Story, 2014

This BBC documentary about the life of the artist perfectly encapsulates her vocal range, giant imagination and cultural impact. You truly understand our collective admiration for her when Elton John describes how, at his civil partnership in 2005, in a room full of 600 stars, the only person anybody wanted to meet was Kate Bush. Watch it here.

Evening Standard Award, 2014

It’s great fun seeing rare footage of an older Kate Bush. She has the same cheerful energy as in the early days but is somehow fizzier, less mellow. By the time she picked up this Evening Standard Award, she was, obviously, among the most highly decorated, most adored artists of all time but you’d never have known that from her touchingly ebullient acceptance speech. Watch it here.

By Becky Ladenburg
July 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.