(Click the play button above and listen to an excerpt from the album)
25 years ago, yesterday (well I couldn’t get to my computer until today) one of my all time favourite albums was released – Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’.
I still remember buying its lead single ‘Running Up That Hill’ 6 weeks earlier – and I still remember the excitement of hearing the album for the first time on my sister’s hi-fi system. Already a huge Kate Bush fan by then – of course, I was instantly hooked, and sat looking at the front cover and reading the lyrics with big wide eyes, for what must have been hours.
The album was started in January 1984 in Kate’s own newly built studio. Her previous album had been a commercial flop and Kate’s record label, EMI, had decreased her recording budget substantially. Abbey Road at the time was costing £90 an hour – her own studio cost her nothing; allowing Kate the creative space she needed without financial constraints or worries.
Kate created arrangements on the fairlight before replacing some of the synthesied instruments with real ones. A perfectionist, Kate also assembled many vocal takes, choosing the best one for the finished version. The album consists of two halves; side one contains 5 tracks – 4 of which became singles inlcuding The Big Sky and Cloudbusting. The second continuous side ‘The Ninth Wave’ was conceptual and taken from a line of Tennyson’s poem ‘The Coming of Arthur’- which used samples, folk instrumentation and vocal lines played backwards to create it’s unforgettably haunting sound. 17 experimental months later the album was complete.
An album launch occured at London’s Planetarium at the beginning of September to ecstatic reviews – but was officially released on the 16th September, where it went straight to number 1 for a month.
The album has become an important companion throughout my life – and has helped me through many good and bad times, which is why I wanted to blog about it. Happy Anniversary to an old dear friend.