Experiment IV

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"Experiment IV"
Kate Bush - Experiment IV.png
Single by Kate Bush
from the album The Whole Story
Released27 October 1986 (1986-10-27)
Format7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
GenreArt rock
Songwriter(s)Kate Bush
Producer(s)Kate Bush
Kate Bush singles chronology
"Don't Give Up"
"Experiment IV"
"The Sensual World"
Audio sample
Experiment IV

"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.[1]


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.

The B-sides of both the 7" and 12" singles included a re-working of "Wuthering Heights", the single 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 box set This Woman's Work, 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, 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"[2] for a pre-watershed slot. In the UK, the music video was shown at some cinemas as an accompaniment to the main feature.

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)
1."Experiment IV"4:21
2."Wuthering Heights" (new vocal)4:56
12" single (UK)
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[3] 50
Irish Singles Chart[4] 12

In Australia, "Experiment IV" narrowly missed the Kent Music Report top 100 singles chart in December 1986.[5]

Further reading[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b c "Official Charts > Kate Bush". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  2. ^ Cloudbusting / Music / The Whole Story Album (Compilation)
  3. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Kate Bush – Experiment IV (single)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  4. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results". Archived from the original on 1 February 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2009.
  5. ^ "Kent Music Report No 648 - 15 December 1986 > National Top 100 Singles (66–100) > Singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100". Imgur.com (original document published by Kent Music Report). Retrieved 17 July 2016.