5 Reasons Kate Bush Should Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Kate Bush was first nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. It was a long-deserved honor for an iconoclastic and beloved U.K. artist who initially landed a record deal thanks to Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, a friend of her family.
Gilmour was floored after hearing Bush's demos and helped set the teen up in a studio to record several songs. "I think we had the [EMI] record company people down at Abbey Road in No. 3," the guitarist has said. "And I said to them, 'Do you want to hear something I’ve got?' They said sure, so we found another room and I played them 'The Man With a Child in His Eyes.' And they said, 'Yep, thank you — we’ll have it.'"
Bush connected with a wider audience right away: Her first single, 1978's "Wuthering Heights," spent four weeks at No. 1 in the U.K., kicking off a long and successful career.
Below, we outline 5 Reasons Kate Bush Should Be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
She's a Musical Multiple Threat
Bush's primary instrument is piano, although she grew into a versatile multi-instrumentalist thanks to her family. "There were two very important things in my childhood that shaped my attitudes subsequently," she wrote in 1982. "One: My father had a piano in the house, and without that, I'd never have got round to playing music. And two: My brothers were very into traditional music." But, like Prince, Bush is also a talented studio artist. Starting with 1982's The Dreaming, she produced and wrote every song on her albums.
Her Career Has Unfolded on Her Terms
From day one, Bush made it clear she knew how best to steer her career. She insisted that "Wuthering Heights" was her first single, while her record label wanted "James and the Cold Gun." As she earned more success, she assumed more creative control. To demo and develop the smash 1985 LP Hounds of Love, she put together her studio near where she lived. "I feel much more relaxed, much freer to work in an uninhibited way," she said in 1985. "I do get quite nervous if you've got people you don't know coming in listening. In the London studio, people always coming in borrowing pieces of equipment, the phone's always ringing and it's costing you a phenomenal amount of money every hour. So, you do feel guilty if you experiment, because you feel you're just throwing money away. At home, obviously, there aren't those pressures at all." Bush also promoted on her terms: Her celebrated run of 2014 tour dates marked her first live concerts since 1979.
She Has a Fervent Following
Like Stevie Nicks, Bush has a loyal fan base that embraces her aesthetic and personality as much as her music. For example, fans around the world celebrate an annual event called "The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever" that generally involves wearing red robes and acting out the choreography of the song's iconic video.
Her Influence Transcends Genres and Scenes
Name a genre, and chances are you'll find traces of Bush's music. Across the years, artists such as Tori Amos, Placebo, Ra Ra Riot, the Futureheads, First Aid Kit and Jade Bird have covered Bush's songs. Outkast member Big Boi is a massive fan and has gushed about the lyrics and production of "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)," while a remix of the song appeared at the end of the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Her Music Is More Popular Than Ever
Many popular artists fail to resonate with younger generations, although bands such as Queen and the Beatles are notable exceptions. However, Bush's music is continuing to grow in popularity. Modern indie rock especially takes influence from the Fairlight-assisted sound of her '80s work with its lush production and drums. In 2020, the songwriter Meg Myers reached No. 1 on Billboard's Rock Airplay and Alternative Songs charts with a cover of "Running Up That Hill," while the songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle covered the song with members of Mastodon, Old Man Gloom and YOB. The track also enjoyed a massive boost in popularity after appearing in the fourth season of Stranger Things in 2022, reportedly earning millions in streaming royalties and reaching a new peak of No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.