Experiment IV

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"Experiment IV"
Single by Kate Bush
from the album The Whole Story
B-side "Wuthering Heights (New Vocal)"
Released 27 October 1986 (1986-10-27)
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Genre Art rock
Length 4:19
Label EMI
Writer(s) Kate Bush
Producer(s) Kate Bush
Kate Bush singles chronology
"Don't Give Up"
"Experiment IV"
"The Sensual World"
Music sample

"Experiment IV" is a song by the English singer Kate Bush. It was released as a single on 27 October 1986, in order to promote Bush's greatest hits album The Whole Story. The single peaked at 23 in the UK Singles Chart,[1] simultaneously with "Don't Give Up", Bush's duet with Peter Gabriel, which reached number 9.[2]


The song tells a story about a secret military plan to create a sound that is horrific enough to kill people. The ending of the story is unclear, but in the music video nearly every person working on the project is killed by the horrific sound, which is personified by Bush herself as she changed from an angelic woman into a banshee (a horrifying screaming apparition of Irish lore).

The song features Nigel Kennedy on violin, who at one point replicates the screeching violins from Bernard Herrmann's famous scoring of the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho.

On the B-sides of both the 7" and 12" singles a re-working of "Wuthering Heights" was included, the song which catapulted her to stardom in 1978. On the 12" single the 1980 song "December Will Be Magic Again" was included as an additional B-side.

An extended version of "Experiment IV" appeared on the 12" vinyl release of the single. Both versions of the song were included on the second CD, second cassette or second LP of rarities on the This Woman's Work box set released in 1990.

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song adapts the "storyline", and chronicles the destruction of a secret military installation by a creature made of sound. The science fiction film-in-miniature includes appearances from Dawn French, Hugh Laurie, Gary Oldman, Richard Vernon, Peter Vaughan and Del Palmer. Bush appears on screen as an orderly officer serving tea, as the sound creature and at the end entering a van. The video was banned from Top of The Pops because it was considered too violent.[3]

The music video was nominated for the Best Concept Music Video at the 1988 Grammy Awards.

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Kate Bush.

7" single (UK)
No. Title Length
1. "Experiment IV"   4:21
2. "Wuthering Heights (New Vocal)"   4:56
12" single (UK)
No. Title Length
1. "Experiment IV (12" Mix)"   6:38
2. "Wuthering Heights (New Vocal)"   4:56
3. "December Will Be Magic Again"   4:50

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
UK Singles Chart[1] 23
German Singles Chart[4] 50
Irish Singles Chart[5] 12

Further reading[edit]

An article about the video for Experiment IV and its horror influences


  1. ^ a b "Chart Stats - Kate Bush - Experiment IV". Retrieved 15 February 2009. 
  2. ^ "Chart Stats - Peter Gabriel And Kate Bush - Don't Give Up". Retrieved 15 February 2009. 
  3. ^ Cloudbusting / Music / The Whole Story Album (Compilation)
  4. ^ "charts-surfer.de search results". Retrieved 15 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 15 February 2009.