Bush wrote the song when she was 13 and recorded it at the age of 16. It was recorded at AIR Studios, London in June 1975 under the guidance of David Gilmour. She has said that recording with a large orchestra at that age terrified her. The song was Bush's second chart single in the United Kingdom where it reached number six in the summer of 1978. In the United States the single was released in December of the same year. It became her first single to reach the Billboard Pop Singles chart, peaking at number 85 early in 1979. Bush performed this song in her one appearance on Saturday Night Live, singing on a piano being played by Paul Shaffer.
The single version slightly differs from the album version. On the single, the song opens with the phrase “he’s here!” echoing, an effect added after the album was released.
Scottish duo Hue and Cry released the song in their Violently EP in 1989. Dark Orange added "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" as a B-side to their "Sounds of Silence" single in 1992. It was also recorded by Natalie Cole for her 2006 album Leavin'.Australian singer and songwriter Tina Arena recorded the song in 2007 for her album Songs of Love & Loss. Lara Fabian covered this song on an acoustic album Every Woman In Me (2009) where she covers English-speaking women that inspired her during her musical career in many ways. Norwegian singer Liv Kristine (former vocalist for the band Theatre of Tragedy and current vocalist for the band Leaves' Eyes) recorded the song in 2012 for her solo album Libertine.