Never for Ever

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Never for Ever
A pencil drawing of a woman with many creatures flying out from under her dress
Studio album by
Released7 September 1980[1]
RecordedSeptember 1979 – May 1980
StudioAbbey Road Studios and AIR Studios, London[2]
LabelEMI (UK)
EMI America (US)
Harvest (Canada)
ProducerKate Bush, Jon Kelly
Kate Bush chronology
On Stage
Never for Ever
The Dreaming
Kate Bush studio album 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

Never for Ever is the third studio album by English singer-songwriter Kate Bush. Released in September 1980, it was Bush's first number 1 album and was also the first 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 number 1. It has since been certified Gold by the BPI. It features the UK Top 20 singles "Breathing", "Army Dreamers" and "Babooshka", the latter being 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.[3] 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.

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 digital synthesizers and drum machines, in particular the Fairlight CMI,[3] 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.[4] "The Wedding List" drew from François Truffaut's 1968 film The Bride Wore Black.[5] "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").[6] "Blow Away (for Bill)" commemorates her lighting director Bill Duffield, killed in an accident at Poole Arts Centre during her 1979 tour.[7] 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 studio 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".

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 one's self. The album was released on compact disc in Japan in 1987 with the cover art modified. A section of the original cover art was enlarged, creating two different booklet covers: the outer one modified; and underneath the original.[8] The album's cover was voted 'Greatest Album Cover of 1980' by Record Mirror.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[9]
Drowned in Sound8/10[10]
Le Guide du CD4/4 stars[11]
Record Mirror3.5/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[13]
Smash Hits8/10[14]
Spin Alternative Record Guide6/10[15]

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.[16] During October she also undertook promotional appearances for the album throughout Europe, most prominently in Germany and France.[16] 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, Never for Ever was belatedly released in 1984 following the entry into the charts of her fourth album The Dreaming.

Never for Ever entered the UK Albums Chart on (week-ending) 20 September 1980 at No. 1. It remained there for one week, staying in the top 75 for a total of 23 weeks.[17] The album became Bush's first record to reach the top position on the UK Albums Chart, also making her the first female British solo artist to achieve that status.[18] Technically, Never for Ever is the first studio album (i.e. not a greatest hits compilation) by any solo female artist to reach number 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 number 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".[19] 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.[19][20]

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.[12] 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.[16] Bush herself has said that it was her favourite album to date. 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.[9]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Kate Bush.

Side one
2."Delius (Song of Summer)"2:51
3."Blow Away (For Bill)"3:33
4."All We Ever Look For"3:47
Total length:17:41
Side two
6."The Wedding List"4:15
8."The Infant Kiss"2:50
9."Night Scented Stock"0:51
10."Army Dreamers"2:55
Total length:19:35



Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Whole Story (Media notes). EMI Canada. PWAS17242.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Kate Bush". NNDB. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
  4. ^ Interview by Peter Powell, BBC Radio 1. 11 October 1980
  5. ^ Irwin, Colin. Paranoia and Passion of the Kate Inside, Melody Maker 10 October 1980. Accessed: 12 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Kate Bush on Russell Harty – YouTube". Retrieved 10 January 2013 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "Kate Bush – singer-songwriter". BBC. 4 February 2005. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  8. ^ Discogs – Never for Ever CD cover art
  9. ^ a b DeGagne, Mike. "Never for Ever – Kate Bush". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  10. ^ Lukowski, Andrzej (3 December 2018). "'I caught a glimpse of a god' – Kate Bush's first four albums reconsidered". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  11. ^ "AM". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  12. ^ a b Gurr, Ronnie (6 September 1980). "Kate Grates". Record Mirror. p. 18. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  13. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Kate Bush". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 122–23. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  14. ^ Duff, Linda (18 September – 1 October 1980). "Kate Bush: Never for Ever". Smash Hits. Vol. 2 no. 19. p. 35.
  15. ^ Sheffield, Rob (1995). "Kate Bush". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 62–63. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  16. ^ a b c Gaffaweb. History of Kate Bush – album information, 1979-80
  17. ^ The Official UK Charts – Kate Bush
  18. ^ Williamson, Nigel (2 October 2005). "The Mighty Bush". Scotland on Sunday. Archived from the original on 29 June 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  19. ^ a b c "Kate Bush | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  20. ^ "Babooshka" Australian charts
  21. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  22. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 34, No. 6". RPM. 20 December 1980. Archived from the original (PHP) on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  23. ^ " Kate Bush – Never for Ever". MegaCharts. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  24. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Kate Bush". Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  25. ^ Billboard Magazine, Hits of the World, 1980. Billboard. 27 December 1980. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  26. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  27. ^ " – Kate Bush – Never for Ever". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  28. ^ " Kate Bush – Never for Ever". Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  29. ^ " Kate Bush – Never for Ever". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  30. ^ "Album Search: Kate Bush – Never for Ever" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  31. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1980" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  32. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1980 par InfoDisc" (in French). Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  33. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  34. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kate Bush – Never for Ever". Music Canada.
  35. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Archived from the original on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  36. ^ "French album certifications – Kate Bush – Never for Ever" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  37. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Kate Bush; 'Never for Ever')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  38. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Kate Bush – Never for Ever" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter Never for Ever in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  39. ^ "British album certifications – Kate Bush – Never for Ever". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Never for Ever in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  40. ^