Great Rock Albums of 1986: Kate Bush- The Whole Story


Believe it or not, my first experience of Kate Bush came way back in 1978 when she appeared on “Saturday Night Live.” As per usual with the programme, she sang two songs that night, her first big hit, “Wuthering Heights” and “Rolling the Ball to Me.” I remember her performances of both songs very well. On “Wuthering Heights,” she sang while sitting on the piano, which was played by Murphy Dunne of Blues Brothers fame. I found her unique vocals mesmerizing on both songs and I could see that she was eccentric to say the least. On her performance of “Rolling the Ball to Me,” she was dressed in a raincoat and hat and the way she performed that song definitely illustrated her eccentricity and I was quite disappointed that the song doesn’t appear on this album.


Unfortunately, for the most part, although she was very big in Britain, the rest of Europe and even Japan, she seemed to go virtually unnoticed in the US. I did discover on my first visit to the UK with the military in 1980, her hit “Babooshka” and on one occasion, did get to hear that song played on a juke box in a pub in Southampton. I got excited but my two friends who were with me, were not impressed.

Kate’s big American breakthrough came with the song, “Running Up That Hill,” which isn’t my favourite song of hers. Anyway, when I did get over to Britain in the Autumn of 1986, her greatest hits album, “The Whole Story,” was out and being listened to quite extensively. It is through this compilation album where I finally got to fully experience Kate Bush and I loved it. Sure, it wasn’t metal but her eccentricity shows through and I love eccentricity.

Being a greatest hits album, it’s obviously a case of Kate’s best songs, which is sometimes the best way to introduce oneself to an artist they have little experience of. However, only having a limited experience of her before 1986, I will bend the rules and say that for me, the hidden gem on the album is “The Man With the Child in His Eyes.” I can’t say what there is exactly about that song I like so much but I just do. Maybe I thought the lyrics applied to me at the time and maybe still do. “Wow” is a great song because it shows her how powerful her vocal range is. In addition to liking her songs, I had the added bonus of seeing the videos for many of the songs on the album. Those videos are really way out there and they certainly appeal to my sense of eccentricity. Probably the wildest one is for “Babooshka.” That one is definitely way out there as is “Sat in Your Lap.” Then “Army of Dreamers” has a quite cool video and a great song too. It is all why I became a Kate Bush fan upon my arrival in the UK.

Track Listing:

  1. Wuthering Heights
  2. Cloudbusting
  3. The Man With the Child in His Eyes
  4. Breathing
  5. Wow
  6. Hounds of Love
  7. Running Up That Hill
  8. Army of Dreamers
  9. Sat in Your Lap
  10. Experiment IV
  11. Dreaming
  12. Babooshka


Kate Bush

Kate Bush- vocals, keyboards

When I did get to England in 1986, I was glad to discover that I wasn’t the only metalhead who liked Kate Bush. A good number of my new found British metalhead friends liked her too. She is definitely unique on so many levels and being able to find a compilation of her greatest hits was like finding treasure at the time.

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11 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1986: Kate Bush- The Whole Story”

  1. Some of her work approaches progressive rock, so it’s easy to see how she’d appeal to metalheads. The new song on this record, Experiment IV, is really good, although 12 songs really isn’t enough to cover her career up to this point.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely adore her work. As a young twenty-something I had all her albums, posters, books, videos, badges. Every album is an immersive experience with layers upon layers of depth in the music, voice and lyrics. And she could dance as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You didn’t live in Ammanford in South Wales back in 1992 by any chance? My then wife and I were house hunting in that area back then and we viewed one house where the guy who lived in it was a big Kate Bush fan. He had pictures of her everywhere. He was a big Toyah Wilcox fan as well. You’re so right about her music.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like Toyah too (I even met her at an awards ceremony once – a lovely person), and I do have connections to Wales, but no… that wasn’t me selling the house. He sounds like a mega-super fan. My posters were limited to the spare room and one in the living room. Long gone, but still have some books and albums.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cool, you met Toyah. That mega-superfan had photos and posters of both ladies in practically every room in the house.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My brother has this but with a slightly different photo in the artwork. Maybe a reissue or something

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Have you heard Angra covering Wuthering Heights

    Liked by 1 person

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