Lionheart (Kate Bush album)

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Lionheart
Studio album by Kate Bush
Released 10 November 1978
Recorded 7 July - September 1978
Genre Art rock, baroque pop, progressive rock
Length 36:32
Label EMI (UK)
EMI America (USA)
Harvest (Canada)
Producer Andrew Powell
assisted by Kate Bush
Kate Bush chronology
The Kick Inside
(1978)
Lionheart
(1978)
Never for Ever
(1980)
Singles from Lionheart
  1. "Hammer Horror" b/w "Coffee Homeground"
    Released: 27 October 1978
  2. "Wow" b/w "Fullhouse"
    Released: 9 March 1979
  3. "Symphony in Blue" b/w "Fullhouse"
    Released: 1979
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [1]

Lionheart is the second album by the English singer Kate Bush. It was released in November 1978, just nine months after Bush's successful debut album The Kick Inside. Lionheart reached no. 6 on the UK album chart (her only album not to make the top 5) and has been certified Platinum by the BPI. The first single taken from the album, "Hammer Horror", missed the UK Top 40. However, the follow-up single, "Wow", was released on the back of Bush's UK tour and became a UK Top 20 hit.

Overview[edit]

Background[edit]

Following the success of her debut album, Kate Bush's record company EMI were eager to get another out. Bush had composed many songs throughout her teens (she was at this time 20 years old) and the majority of the tracks used for Lionheart were compositions from before her debut. Bush however was unhappy with the short length of time she had in which to produce the album. Recorded entirely in Nice on the French Riviera, this was to be her only album recorded outside the UK.[2] Of the ten tracks, only "Symphony in Blue", "Fullhouse" and "Coffee Homeground" were newly composed songs, although the other songs had been reworked by Bush in preparation for the recording.[3] The album was produced, like her first, by Andrew Powell, with Bush feeling that she was at this stage too inexperienced to produce it herself (she would go on to produce all her following albums).[3] Since the album's release, Bush has many times said that she was unhappy with this album because of the restrictions imposed on it. In a 1989 interview she remarked: "Considering how quickly we made it it's a bloody good album, but I'm not really happy with it".[4]

Literary references include J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan in "In Search of Peter Pan" (a song which also quotes "When You Wish Upon a Star" from the classic Disney film Pinocchio), as well as a nod towards Arsenic and Old Lace in the song "Coffee Homeground", which despite being similar in plot to the play, was inspired by a taxi driver who drove Bush once. Film references include "Hammer Horror", while although taking its name from the Hammer Film studios, is actually about a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.[5] The British television show The Sweeney, a popular police drama from the 1970s, was mentioned in the lyrics of the song "Wow", which (like the former) is a song written about actors.[6] "Wow" is widely believed to touch on the subject of homosexuality, and "Kashka from Baghdad" (Kashka being a male name) is about a homosexual couple who are forced to keep their activities secret.

Lionheart was the first Kate Bush album to feature Del Palmer, who played bass. Palmer went on to play bass, or to engineer and record on every subsequent Kate Bush album up to and including 50 Words for Snow (2011).

Release and reception[edit]

The album was released in November 1978, the title being taken from Side One's closing track "Oh England My Lionheart". The front cover shot depicts Bush in an attic wearing a lion outfit, which she described as being "slightly comical".[2] The photographer was Gered Mankowitz.[3] The lead single chosen was "Hammer Horror", which peaked at a low 44 in the UK (although fared better in many other countries). The album however performed well in the UK Charts peaking at No.6. It remained on the chart well into 1979, its promotion being continued by the second single and Bush's UK tour. In total it spent 36 weeks on the chart and was certified Platinum by the BPI for sales of over 300,000, making it one of Bush's better-selling albums.[7][8] The second single from the album was "Wow", which was released in early 1979. This fared better than the first, peaking at No.14 in the UK and performed well in many other countries also. In some territories, "Symphony in Blue" was released instead. Around this time, Bush embarked on her first tour, which featured a number of songs from Lionheart - one of these ("Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake") was included on the On Stage EP in September 1979.

Reception to the album has been average, with the album almost universally being looked upon as an inferior version of her debut. Contemporary reviews however were more favourable with the American magazine Trouser Press rating it well, in particular the songs "Symphony in Blue", "In the Warm Room" and "Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake".[9] Allmusic said that the album lacked substance, while acknowledging that Bush was capable of much better work.[1] In a Guardian poll of Bush's best albums, Lionheart placed lowly with just 2% of the vote.[10] From 130 reviews in the online review site Prog Archives, Lionheart averaged 3.28 out of 5.[11] While Bush herself has said that she was unhappy with the finished album, she has mentioned satisfaction with the track "Wow".[6]

In the US, the album was initially unreleased following the failure of her debut. As Bush gained a cult following over the coming years however, Lionheart was belatedly released in 1984 following the entry into the charts of her fourth album The Dreaming.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Kate Bush, except "In Search of Peter Pan" written by Kate Bush and incorporates "When You Wish Upon a Star" (lyrics by Ned Washington and music by Leigh Harline).

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Symphony in Blue"   3:35
2. "In Search of Peter Pan"   3:46
3. "Wow"   3:58
4. "Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake"   3:12
5. "Oh England My Lionheart"   3:10
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Fullhouse"   3:14
7. "In the Warm Room"   3:35
8. "Kashka from Baghdad"   3:55
9. "Coffee Homeground"   3:38
10. "Hammer Horror"   4:39

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b DeGagne, Mike. Lionheart (Kate Bush album) at AllMusic
  2. ^ a b Gaffa - Lionheart Promo Cassette, 1978
  3. ^ a b c Gaffa Lionheart interview quotes, various sources
  4. ^ Tracks, 13 November 1989
  5. ^ Gaffa - "Hammer Horror"
  6. ^ a b Gaffa - "Wow"
  7. ^ Official UK Charts - Kate Bush
  8. ^ a b "British album certifications – Kate Bush – Lionheart". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Lionheart in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  9. ^ Trouser Press, July 1979
  10. ^ The Guardian - Greatest Kate Bush album
  11. ^ Prog Archives - Lionheart reviews
  12. ^ Gaffaweb - Chronology, 1984
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  14. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Kate Bush - Lionheart". dutchcharts.nl. MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  15. ^ "Album Search: Kate Bush" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  16. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  17. ^ "charts.org.nz - Kate Bush - Lionheart". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  18. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Kate Bush - Lionheart". Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  19. ^ "swedishcharts.com Kate Bush - Lionheart". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  20. ^ "Chart Stats - Kate Bush - Lionheart". UK Albums Chart. Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  21. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kate Bush – Lionheart". Music Canada. 
  22. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Kate Bush – Lionheart" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers.