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HOUNDS OF LOVE

Mystery surrounded Kate Bush in 1985, with rumours circulating that she’d given up music for good. Far from it – she was readying the sublime Hounds Of Love. As Bush celebrates her 60th birthday, Mark Lindores runs the rule over her career masterpiece

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Given her status as one of the most original and dynamic artists Britain has ever produced, it’s hard to imagine that in the mid 80s, Kate Bush was perceived to be languishing in the pop wasteland. In July 1985, as the world basked in the enormity of Live Aid, NME – no doubt dismayed at the state of a British music scene dominated by Dire Straits, Queen and Phil Collins – ran an article asking where Bush had disappeared to. It had been three years since her last album, The Dreaming, and there were rumours that she’d gone mad, developed an addiction to junk food that had seen her weight balloon to 20 stone, or retired from the music industry completely. In fact, nothing could’ve been further from the truth and, in September of that year, she unleashed what would become her defining opus, Hounds Of Love, on the world.

The ethereal ingénue who’d transfixed the nation with the almost-operatic Wuthering Heights at the height of punk and disco in 1978 had previously been prolific, releasing four albums in five years, as well as completing an extensive European tour – 1979’s The Tour Of Life. However, as her work had grown ever more experimental, so her commercial success had dwindled. While The Dreaming had been truly ahead of its time, using new technology such as the Fairlight synth, it had produced only one UK Top 20 single (Sat In Your Lap) and alienated even Bush’s most fervent admirers.

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