Never for Ever
|Never for Ever|
|Studio album by|
|Released||7 September 1980|
|Recorded||September 1979 – May 1980|
|Studio||Abbey Road Studios and AIR Studios, London|
EMI America (USA)
|Producer||Kate Bush, Jon Kelly|
|Kate Bush chronology|
|Singles from Never for Ever|
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 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 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. 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, 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. "The Wedding List" drew from François Truffaut's 1968 film The Bride Wore Black. "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"). "Blow Away (for Bill)" commemorates her lighting director Bill Duffield, killed in an accident at Poole Arts Centre during her 1979 tour. 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 you. 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. The album's cover was voted 'Greatest Album Cover of 1980' by Record Mirror.
Release and reception
|Le Guide du CD|||
|Spin's Book of Alternative Albums||6/10|
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. During October she also undertook promotional appearances for the album throughout Europe, most prominently in Germany and France. 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. 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. 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". 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.
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. 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. 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.
All tracks written by Kate Bush.
|2.||"Delius (Song of Summer)"||2:51|
|4.||"All We Ever Look For"||3:47|
|6.||"The Wedding List"||4:15|
|8.||"The Infant Kiss"||2:50|
|9.||"Night Scented Stock"||0:51|
|10.||"Army Dreamers" (LP mix)||2:55|
- Kate Bush – vocals, piano, keyboards, harmony vocals, Fairlight CMI digital sampling synthesizer, Yamaha CS-80 polyphonic synthesizer (1, 4), arranger
- John L. Walters and Richard James Burgess – Fairlight CMI programming
- Max Middleton – Fender Rhodes (1, 3, 5, 6, 10), Minimoog (5), string arrangements (3, 6)
- Duncan Mackay – Fairlight CMI (4, 9)
- Mike Moran – Prophet 5 synthesizer (5)
- Larry Fast – Prophet synthesizer (10)
- Alan Murphy – electric guitar (1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), electric guitar solo (7), acoustic guitar (4), bass acoustic guitar (9)
- Brian Bath – electric guitar (1, 6, 7, 10), acoustic guitar (3, 4, 9), backing vocals (6, 9)
- Paddy Bush – backing vocals (1, 4, 5, 6, 9), balalaika (1), sitar, bass vocals and voice of "Delius" (2), koto (4), strumento de porco (psaltery) (5), harmonica and saw (6), banshee (7), mandolin (9)
- Kevin Burke – violin (7)
- Adam Skeaping – viola (8), string arrangements (8)
- Joseph Skeaping – lironi (8), string arrangements (8)
- John Giblin – bass (1), fretless bass (11)
- Del Palmer – fretless bass (3), bass (5, 6, 7)
- Stuart Elliot – drums (1, 10), bodhran (9)
- Preston Heyman – percussion (2, 3, 5), drums (3, 5, 6, 7), backing vocals (4, 6)
- Roland – percussion (2)
- Morris Pert – timpani (4), percussion (10)
- Ian Bairnson – bass vocals (2)
- Gary Hurst – backing vocals (1, 4)
- Andrew Bryant – backing vocals (4)
- Roy Harper – backing vocals (11)
- The Martyn Ford Orchestra – strings (3, 6)
Certifications and sales
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- AllMusic review
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- Official UK Charts – Kate Bush
- "Babooshka" Australian charts
- Record Mirror review, 6 September 1980
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- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Kate Bush; 'Never for Ever')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
- "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.
- "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.
- "American album certifications – Kate Bush – Never For Ever". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.