Never for Ever

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Never for Ever
Kate Bush - Never for Ever.jpg
Studio album by Kate Bush
Released 7 September 1980
Recorded September 1979 - May 1980
Genre Art rock, baroque pop
Length 37:16
Label EMI (UK)
EMI America (USA)
Harvest (Canada)
Producer Kate Bush, Jon Kelly
Kate Bush chronology
Never for Ever
The Dreaming
Singles from Never for Ever
  1. "Breathing"
    Released: 14 April 1980
  2. "Babooshka"
    Released: 27 June 1980
  3. "Army Dreamers"
    Released: 22 September 1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Smash Hits 8/10 stars[1]
AllMusic 3/5 stars[2]
Le Guide du CD 4/4 stars[3]

Never for Ever is the third album by the English singer Kate Bush. Released in September 1980, it was Bush's first no. 1 album and was also the first ever album by a British female solo artist to top the UK album chart, as well as being the first album by any female solo artist to enter the chart at no. 1. It has since been certified Gold by the BPI. It features the UK Top 20 singles "Breathing", "Army Dreamers" and "Babooshka", which was one of Bush's biggest hits. Bush co-produced the album with Jon Kelly.



Beginning production after her 1979 tour, Never for Ever was Bush's second foray into production (her first was for the On Stage EP the previous year), aided by the engineer of Lionheart (1978), Jon Kelly.[4] Bush was keen to start producing her work and felt that this was the first album she was happy with, since it was more personal.[5]

The first two albums had resulted in a particular sound, which was evident in every track, with lush orchestral arrangements supporting the live band sound. The range of styles on Never for Ever is much more diverse, veering from the straightforward rocker "Violin" to the wistful waltz of hit single "Army Dreamers". Never for Ever was the first Kate Bush album to feature synthesizers and drum machines, in particular the Fairlight CMI,[4] which was programmed by Richard James Burgess and John L. Walters. Like her previous two albums, it was initially composed on piano.

Bush's literary and cinematic influences were again to the fore. "The Infant Kiss", the story of a governess who is frightened by the adult feelings she has for her young male charge (who is possessed by the spirit of a grown man), was inspired by the 1961 film The Innocents, which in turn had been inspired by The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.[6] "The Wedding List" drew from François Truffaut's 1968 film The Bride Wore Black.[7] "Delius (Song of Summer)" was inspired by the 1968 Ken Russell TV movie Song of Summer, which portrays the last six years of the life of English composer Frederick Delius, when Eric Fenby acted as his amanuensis. Fenby is mentioned in the lyrics ("in B, Fenby").[8][9] "Blow Away (for Bill)" commemorates her lighting director Bill Duffield, killed in an accident at Poole Arts Centre during her 1979 tour.[10] The song links his name to those of several music stars who died in the previous decade - Minnie Riperton, Keith Moon, Sandy Denny, Sid Vicious, Marc Bolan - and one earlier icon - Buddy Holly.

Never for Ever is the only album by Bush up to Director's Cut (2011) not to have a title track. According to Bush, the title alluded to conflicting emotions, good and bad, which pass, as she stated: "we must tell our hearts that it is 'never for ever', and be happy that it's like that".[5]

The album cover is an illustration (in pencil) by artist Nick Price, who had also designed the cover for the programme for her 1979 tour. Bush was pleased with the results (it depicts a multitude of animals and monsters emerging from under her skirt). Of the concept, Bush said that it reflects the title, depicting good and bad things that emerge from you.[5] In Japan, the CD booklet cover art was modified, as EMI-Toshiba execs decided that the illustration was too risqué, and chose to enlarge a section of the original cover art, creating two different booklet covers: the outer one modified; and underneath the original.[citation needed] The album's cover was voted 'Greatest Album Cover of 1980' by Record Mirror.

Release and reception[edit]

With work on the album completed in May, Never for Ever was released on 7 September 1980. Over the following week, Bush undertook a record signing tour of the UK including London, which resulted in lengthy queues down Oxford Street.[11] During October she also undertook promotional appearances for the album throughout Europe, most prominently in Germany and France.[11]

Never for Ever entered the UK album chart on (week-ending) 20 September 1980 at No.1. It remained there for one week, staying on the top 75 for a total of 23 weeks.[12] The album became Bush's first record to reach the top position in the UK album charts, also making her the first female British solo artist to achieve that status.[13] Technically, Never for Ever is the first studio album (i.e. - not a greatest hits compilation) by any solo female artist to reach no. 1 in the UK as only Barbra Streisand and Connie Francis had achieved the feat prior to 1980 but with compilation albums (Diana Ross had also achieved three UK no. 1 albums by then but these were also compilations and were credited to Diana Ross & The Supremes and were therefore not solo albums).

Three singles were released from the album - all of which fared well in the charts. The first, "Breathing" reached No.16 in the UK, as did the third "Army Dreamers".[14] The second single "Babooshka" became one of Bush's biggest hits, peaking at No.5 in the summer of 1980 in the UK and faring even better in Australia, where it reached No.2 and was the 20th best-selling single of the year.[14][15]

The album was favourably received by music critics at the time, save for a curiously critical review in Record Mirror, which appears to criticise the album (and Bush herself), while complimenting a number of tracks.[16] Based largely on this album, Bush was voted "Best female artist of 1980" in polls taken in Melody Maker, Capital Radio, Sounds and the Sunday Telegraph.[11] Bush herself has said that it was her favourite album to date.[5] More recently, AllMusic gave the album a favourable review, complimenting the three singles most highly but said that Bush would improve on the formula on later albums.[2]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Kate Bush. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Babooshka"   3:20
2. "Delius (Song of Summer)"   2:51
3. "Blow Away (For Bill)"   3:33
4. "All We Ever Look For"   3:47
5. "Egypt"   4:10
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "The Wedding List"   4:15
7. "Violin"   3:15
8. "The Infant Kiss"   2:50
9. "Night Scented Stock"   0:51
10. "Army Dreamers"   2:55
11. "Breathing"   5:29



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Duff, Linda (18 September 1980). "Album Reviews". Smash Hits. London, England: EMAP. p. 35. 
  2. ^ a b AllMusic review
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Kate Bush". NNDB. Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  5. ^ a b c d Gaffaweb. Never for Ever album information
  6. ^ Interview by Peter Powell, BBC Radio 1. 11 October 1980
  7. ^ Irwin, Colin. Paranoia and Passion of the Kate Inside, Melody Maker 10 October 1980. Accessed: 12 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Gaffaweb - Kate Bush:FAQ - Never for Ever". Gaffaweb. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Kate Bush on Russell Harty - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Kate Bush - singer-songwriter". BBC. 4 February 2005. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  11. ^ a b c Gaffaweb. History of Kate Bush - album information, 1979-80
  12. ^ The Official UK Charts - Kate Bush
  13. ^ Williamson, Nigel (2005-10-02). "The Mighty Bush". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  14. ^ a b Official UK Charts - Kate Bush
  15. ^ "Babooshka" Australian charts
  16. ^ Record Mirror review, 6 September 1980
  17. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  18. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 34, No. 6" (PHP). RPM. 20 December 1980. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  19. ^ " Kate Bush - Never for Ever". MegaCharts. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Kate Bush". Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  22. ^ " - Kate Bush - Never for Ever". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  23. ^ " Kate Bush - Never for Ever". Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  24. ^ " Kate Bush - Never for Ever". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "Kate Bush > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Album Search: Kate Bush - Never for Ever" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  27. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1980" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1980 par InfoDisc" (in French). Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  29. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  30. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kate Bush – Never for Ever". Music Canada. 
  31. ^ "French album certifications – Kate Bush – Never for Ever" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  32. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  33. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Kate Bush; 'Never for Ever')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  34. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Kate Bush – Never for Ever" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  35. ^ "British album certifications – Kate Bush – Never for Ever". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Never for Ever in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
Preceded by
Telekon by Gary Numan
UK Albums Chart number one album
20 September 1980 – 26 September 1980
Succeeded by
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
by David Bowie