Breathing (Kate Bush song)

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Kate Bush - Breathing.png
Single by Kate Bush
from the album Never for Ever
B-side "The Empty Bullring"
Released 14 April 1980
Format 7" single
Genre Progressive rock
Length 4:52 (Single edit)
5:30 (Album version)
Label EMI 5058
Songwriter(s) Kate Bush
Producer(s) Kate Bush, Jon Kelly
Kate Bush singles chronology
"Strange Phenomena"

"Strange Phenomena"
Audio sample

"Breathing" is a single by Kate Bush, the first cut from her 1980 album Never for Ever, with backing vocals by Roy Harper.

The single was issued on 14 April 1980, four months before the album was released, and reached number 16 in the UK charts, remaining in the charts for seven weeks.[1] It was the first single by Bush to feature a non-LP track on its B-side, "The Empty Bullring".


"Breathing" is about a foetus, very much aware of what is going on outside the womb and frightened by nuclear fallout, which implies that the song is set either during a nuclear war scare or a post-apocalyptic birth.[citation needed] The lyrics also refer to the unborn baby absorbing nicotine from the mother's smoking. In an interview that year Bush described the song as her "little symphony", adding that she considered it her best work to date.[2] Bush stated that the information within the song mostly came from a documentary she had seen about the effects of nuclear war, while the tone of the song was inspired by Pink Floyd's The Wall (side three in particular).[3] The song was recorded over three days in early 1980.

The track includes spoken words describing the flash from a nuclear bomb.

The music video features Bush in a womb portraying a foetus.[4] In 1985, Bush donated the song as her contribution to the multi-artist compilation Greenpeace – The Album.


Chart (1980) Peak
UK Singles Chart[1] 16
Dutch Singles Chart[5] 44
Belgian Singles Chart[6] 25

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Kate Bush - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  2. ^ Lorne Murdoch (1985). "Kate Bush". Record Collector (December 1985, No. 76): p.21
  3. ^ Melody Maker, 10 October 1980
  4. ^ "Kate Bush - Breathing". YouTube. 1 March 2007.
  5. ^
  6. ^