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Kate Bush remained chart-topping success despite totally stepping back from stage

Yasmine Leung August 2, 2022
Kate Bush In London

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Kate Bush gained newfound popularity thanks to Stranger Things’ use of her song Running Up That Hill, but it’s nowhere near the level of fame she held in the 70s.

For the younger generation, Kate is the singer behind the track that saved Max from Vecna. However, she’s actually a chart-topping artist who experienced huge success over four decades ago without the help of a Netflix series.

Kate’s popularity shot up once more after her 1985 track became Max’s ticket out of The Upside Down. It’s something the singer noted as “shocking”, though she’s “touched” the Duffer Brothers used it “in such a positive way”.

Her last album, 50 Words For Snow, came in 2011, and her first and only tour took place in 1979, making her one of the few artists who successfully kept her life out of the spotlight despite huge stardom.

Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images

Touring was “absolutely exhausting”

Kate’s concerts didn’t consist of her standing in the spotlight as she belted her impressive hits. It was the complete opposite. A huge spectacle, it featured multiple costume changes, magicians, and poetry. The 1979 Tour Of Life also saw the then-21-year-old’s pioneering use of the headset microphone. Pitchfork dubbed it the “high watermark for the live rock experience, an extravaganza of song and dance.”

With multiple complex elements, the performances were tiring, even for a young artist. “It was enormously enjoyable. But physically it was absolutely exhausting,” she said in a 2011 interview with Mojo magazine.

She revealed her occasional performance nightmares: “I do have the odd dream where I’m on stage and I’ve completely forgotten what I’m meant to be performing.”

The 1979 tour was almost canceled due to the death of 21-year-old Bill Duffield, a lighting engineer. The worker fell 20 feet after a warm-up concert in April, but Kate continued on to avoid disappointing her fans.

Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns

Kate Bush exchanged hectic fame for a private family life

Kate dated bassist Del Parmer for over a decade before starting a romance with now-husband and guitarist Danny McIntosh. The pair tied the knot in 1992 before welcoming their son, Albert “Bertie” in 1998 at age 40.

Now a family of three, her boys easily became a priority over her career. The singer strived to give Bertie a normal childhood away from scrutiny. Music wasn’t completely sidelined; she fitted studio time around school runs and released her first album in 12 years in 2005, titled Aerial. Though she managed not to appear in promotional activities.

“My family life is incredibly important and it comes first. My work fits in around it, which is quite easy to do with the recording process. But doing shows would be incredibly disruptive,” she said in 2012.

Photo by Anwar Hussein/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

‘When your mother dies, you’re not a little girl anymore’

Between the late 80s to early 90s, Bush faced several personal tragedies, the first blow being the AIDS-related death of friend and Level 42 guitarist Alan Murphy. Not long after, her romance with Del Palmer fizzled out.

Worst of all, it was followed by the loss of her mother, Hannah, in 1992 to cancer. “When your mother dies, you’re not a little girl anymore,” the singer admitted. Thankfully, her new relationship with McIntosh provided an escape and the pair retreated from the world to their new mansion in Theale, Berkshire.

The death heavily affected her between 1994 and 1995, with her resorting to sleeping a lot of the time. “I spent a lot of time sleeping. I used to enjoy bad television, like really bad quiz programmes or sitcoms. I needed to be in a position where there were no demands. I was just trying to recuperate,” she confessed as per Marie Claire.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.