Kate Bush – My Gateway Drug To Fiona, Tori, Aimee And Dolores

As I was ripping another St. Vinny’s $1 CD, I noticed something that made me laugh.

The CD is Kate Bush’s “Never For Ever”, her 3rd and one I didn’t have in my catalog, the last time I owned it was on a tape I dubbed from the guy who introduced me to Kate back in my UW Milwaukee days. His name was Anton.

Anton was worldly, smart as hell, taking Russian (which I presume is a difficult language to learn) and was for a short while, rooming with Andy in the double room in our suite.

Anton would go with me to the record store and on one such occasion he purchased an album by Kate Bush. I had never heard of her, but the album blew me away, totally.

Kat Bush – Hounds Of Love

What can be said about this album that easily fits into words. It is so moving, and scary, and beautiful and unforgettable. Each side of the album, sorry CD folks, is a collection apart from the other. The first side, like a bouncy set of pop melodies that make you sing along and shout and rise and fall along with her voice as she belts it out. Then the second side is a weird glorious journey with chaos and calm swirling about each other, then finishing with a lilting way out with “The Morning Fog” which always brought me back and made me smile and shake it all off and made me want to play it all again.

When he discovered that I liked it, he turned me on to older stuff that he had, like “The Kick Inside” and “The Dreaming”. This was SO not the type of music I was listening to at the time. I was listening to Rush and ZZ Top and Judas Priest and even I couldn’t understand what drew me to this voice and style of music, but I was hooked.

The thing that made me laugh was when I ripped the Never For Ever CD, the Windows Media Player album info labelled it as ALTERNATIVE.

Maybe in its time it was alternative, but in this day and age? I don’t know.

She is different, that’s for sure, and the music was just as different. Check out this documentary on her if you aren’t familiar with her voice or music. You can hear her regular speaking voice, and see Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols – PIL) and Tori Amos speak about her.

The album “The Kick Inside” was the weirdest, songbird vocal mish-mash of styles that I had ever heard. “Hounds Of Love” came out of no where and blindsided me. I don’t know if it was the time in my life, or that it was almost the exact opposite of what I was listening to and I needed a new direction… whatever it was, those 2 albums changed me.

As I look back now, it occurs to me that it was Kate and her voice and style that helped steer me to artists like Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Aimee Mann (‘Til Tuesday) and Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries). All adventurous and mysterious and doing it their way. It all makes sense. A turning point in the music that I listened to and appreciated expanded when Anton introduced me to Kate Bush.

Thanks Anton.

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