The Kick Inside

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The Kick Inside
An East-Asian styled album cover, with a distant Bush slightly off center, holding on to a yellow kite that has a red dragon drawing.
Studio album by
Released17 February 1978 (1978-02-17)
RecordedJune 1975, July–August 1977
StudioAIR (London)[1]
Kate Bush chronology
The Kick Inside
Singles from The Kick Inside
  1. "Wuthering Heights"
    Released: 20 January 1978
  2. "Moving"
    Released: 5 February 1978 (JP)
  3. "Them Heavy People"
    Released: 5 May 1978 (JP)
  4. "The Man with the Child in His Eyes"
    Released: 26 May 1978
  5. "Strange Phenomena"
    Released: 1 June 1979 (BR)
Alternative cover
Artwork for the 2nd (1978) and some subsequent US releases

The Kick Inside is the debut studio album by English art rock singer Kate Bush. Released on 17 February 1978 by EMI Records, it includes her UK No. 1 hit, "Wuthering Heights". The album peaked at No. 3 on the UK Albums Chart and has been certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The production included efforts by several progressive rock veterans, including Duncan Mackay, Ian Bairnson, David Paton, Andrew Powell, and Stuart Elliott of the Alan Parsons Project, and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.

Background and recording[edit]

Having written songs since the age of 11, Kate Bush recorded demos with the assistance of her brothers, who were also musicians. A friend of theirs, Ricky Hopper, brought some of these tapes to various record companies in 1972, when Bush was 13. The tapes were passed over, but Hopper played them for his friend David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.[3] Gilmour was immediately intrigued and went to meet with the Bush family and was impressed with Kate's talent for songwriting. He financed some better quality demos and while Pink Floyd were recording their album Wish You Were Here (1975) at Abbey Road Studios, Gilmour played the tapes for record company executives. EMI Records was impressed and agreed to sign her, offering her an advance of £3,000.[4] Two of the demos recorded in June 1975 were included on her debut album three years later: "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" and "The Saxophone Song".

In 1976, Bush's contract was finally agreed upon by her family. In preparation for the recording, she embarked on playing with the KT Bush Band around various pubs. According to her brother Paddy, who also played with her on stage, these started out as very small affairs with little interest but grew to larger audiences over the months.[5] Finally, in July and August 1977, the rest of the songs were recorded at AIR Studios in London, helmed by producer Andrew Powell. Bush was keen to keep the line-up of the KT Bush Band for the recordings, but EMI insisted that she use properly experienced session musicians. Powell engaged Ian Bairnson, Duncan Mackay and Stuart Elliott among others, many of whom he had worked with before.

It was also around this time that Bush had started to study dance and movement as a way of presenting the songs and subsequently credited her dance teacher Lindsay Kemp on the album. The song "Moving" was inspired by Kemp. EMI and Bush disagreed over the use of a certain shot, which emphasised her cleavage, on the picture sleeve for the first single. Initially, this was to be "James and the Cold Gun", but Bush insisted on "Wuthering Heights". EMI relented and the single was scheduled for release in November 1977. However, due to the disagreement over the picture sleeve, this date was pushed back to the new year of 1978. The song became a big hit and reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in March.[6] It stayed at the top of the charts for four weeks, becoming one of the biggest selling songs of the year and was the first time a female singer-songwriter topped the charts with a self-penned song.[7]

The album, titled The Kick Inside, was released in February 1978 and featured 13 tracks. Bush's cinematic and literary influences, two qualities which would later be considered key to her work, were most obvious in the song "Wuthering Heights". The song was not initially inspired by Emily Brontë's novel but by a television adaptation, although Bush read the novel later in order to (in her own words) "get the research right".[8] Further influences can be found when she references Gurdjieff in "Them Heavy People", while the title song is inspired by the ballad of Lizie Wan.[9] Bush also writes openly about sexuality, particularly on the erotic "Feel It" and "L'Amour Looks Something Like You". "Strange Phenomena" questions unusual coincidences, premonition, and déjà vu.

The album's second single, "The Man with the Child in His Eyes", reached number six in the UK. Three other singles were released over the world during the next two years: "Them Heavy People", "Moving" (which reached number one in Japan) and "Strange Phenomena". "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" also charted on the American Billboard Hot 100, Bush's only single to do so until 1985. It peaked at number 85. Bush made an appearance on Saturday Night Live in December 1978. Despite this publicity, The Kick Inside failed to enter the Top 200 of the Billboard albums chart.

The album peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart and remained on the chart for much of the rest of the year. Eventually clocking up 71 weeks in the chart,[10] it was certified platinum and remains one of Bush's biggest selling records.


The Kick Inside was released on 17 February 1978.[11]

Six different varieties of the album's cover are known:[12] the regular UK cover, a variant UK cover, the US cover, the Canadian cover, the Yugoslavian cover, the Japanese cover, and the Uruguayan cover; the Uruguayan cover being the rarest and most expensive due to its unusual head-on photo of Bush.

In the UK, it was released (twice) as a limited edition picture disc in a full colour outer sleeve. It sports a sticker declaring that it's a picture disc (category number EMCP 3223). Two editions were released: The first with a circular sticker stating that it is a picture disc (usually in the top left hand corner). The second pressing (apparently aimed at the US market, where the first pressing had proven popular) has an oval sticker (usually top centre). The second disc also states "manufactured in the UK by EMI Records Ltd." as part of the copyright notice printed on the disc. The first edition does not have this wording.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Drowned in Sound8/10[14]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[15]
The Great Rock Discography7/10[16]
MusicHound Rock[18]
Record Mirror[20]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[21]
Spin Alternative Record Guide8/10[22]

Contemporary reviews were full of praise for the album. Billboard favoured the songs "Wuthering Heights" and "Them Heavy People" among others and said Bush wrote "evocative lyrics" and delivered them with "smooth and unrestrained vocals".[23] Kris DiLorenzo of Crawdaddy said that "Bush's talent for soul-baring would be frightening were it not so ingenuous; she writes from a well of fantasy and feeling with a patina of experience, her concerns universal and womanly, not the usual wilted kitten yearning or last-rave bathos."[24] Peter Reilly of Stereo Review praised Bush for going against the grain in women's music. He favoured the songs "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" and "Room for the Life" but cared less for "Wuthering Heights" and "James and the Cold Gun".[25]

In later reviews, the album continued to receive universal praise. Pitchfork critic Laura Snapes said of the album, "It is ornate music made in austere times, but unlike the pop sybarites to follow in the next decade, flaunting their wealth while Britain crumbled, Bush spun hers not from material trappings but the infinitely renewable resources of intellect and instinct: Her joyous debut measures the fullness of a woman's life by what's in her head." Snapes spoke highly of every track, but had slight lyrical reservations for "Room for the Life".[19] In a 2008 review for BBC Music, writer Chris Jones said, "Using mainly session musicians, The Kick Inside was the result of a record company actually allowing a young talent to blossom. Some of these songs were written when she was 13! Helmed by Gilmour's friend, Andrew Powell, it's a lush blend of piano grandiosity, vaguely uncomfortable reggae and intricate, intelligent, wonderful songs. All delivered in a voice that had no precedents." He says that the record company wanting to push "James and the Cold Gun" as the first single was a mistake as he labels it the album's "dullest track".[26] AllMusic's Bruce Eder said that the album is "the sound of an impressionable and highly precocious teenager spreading her wings for the first time" and called it "a mightily impressive debut".[13]

Not all reviews were positive. Sandy Robertson, from the now defunct music magazine Sounds, criticized the lyrics, especially on the song "Kite": "WHAT IS this supposed to be? Doom-laden, 'meaningful' songs (with some of the worst lyrics ever; sample: 'Beelzebub is aching in my belly-o/My feet are heavy and I'm rooted in my wellios') sung with the most irritatingly yelping voice since Robert Plant".[27]

In an article for Stylus Magazine, Marcello Carlin wrote that The Kick Inside "probably kicked down more doors than the whole of the first and second waves of punk combined", writing of Bush's unusual subjects, stark voice ("seeming to glide and swoop at will, covering three-and-a-half octaves with minimal apparent effort") and piano chord progressions, saying "their delayed sustain, their unexpected trapdoor modulations, the very fingers which were playing them ... couldn’t be ascribed to any realistic precedent; for one very important thing, they sounded so unambiguously feminine."[28]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Kate Bush

Side one
2."The Saxophone Song"3:51
3."Strange Phenomena"2:57
5."The Man with the Child in His Eyes"2:39
6."Wuthering Heights"4:28
Side two
7."James and the Cold Gun"3:34
8."Feel It"3:02
9."Oh to Be in Love"3:18
10."L'Amour Looks Something Like You"2:27
11."Them Heavy People"3:04
12."Room for the Life"4:03
13."The Kick Inside"3:30
Total length:43:13


Credits are adapted from The Kick Inside liner notes.[29]




Certifications and sales[edit]

Certifications and sales for The Kick Inside
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[49] Platinum 50,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[50] Platinum 100,000^
Germany 150,000[51]
Japan 25,000[37]
Netherlands (NVPI)[52] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[53] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[56] Platinum 1,000,000[54][55]
United States 74,000[57]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kate Bush – the Kick Inside (1978, Vinyl)". Discogs.
  2. ^ Carr, Daphne (19 January 2019). "Kate Bush: The Dreaming". Pitchfork. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Hopper, Ricky". Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  4. ^ "BBC Four - The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill". BBC. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Gaffaweb - Kate Bush - PHOENIX - The History of the Cathy Demos - compiled by Wieland Willker". Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  6. ^ "wuthering heights | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  7. ^ "BBC - Music TV - Pop on trial - 1950s-1990s". Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Kate Bush TV Interview". Ask Aspel. 5 September 1978.
  9. ^ Young, Rob (19 August 2010). Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music. ISBN 9780571258420.
  10. ^ "the kick inside | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  11. ^ The Whole Story (Media notes). EMI Canada. PWAS17242.
  12. ^ "The Kick Inside is 40 years old today! The story behind the iconic "kite" cover artwork | Kate Bush News". 17 February 2018.
  13. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "The Kick Inside – Kate Bush". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
  14. ^ Lukowski, Andrzej (3 December 2018). "'I caught a glimpse of a god' – Kate Bush's first four albums reconsidered". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  15. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Bush, Kate". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  16. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). "Kate Bush". The Great Rock Discography. Canongate U.S. pp. 146–47. ISBN 978-184195-827-9.
  17. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil (June 2011). "A Magnificent Obsession". Mojo. No. 211. pp. 82–83.
  18. ^ Galens, David (1999). Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds.). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. pp. 179–80. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  19. ^ a b Snapes, Laura (19 January 2019). "Kate Bush: The Kick Inside". Pitchfork. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  20. ^ Lott, Tim (18 February 1978). "Albums". Record Mirror. p. 12. ISSN 0144-5804.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ "Kate Bush: The Kick Inside". Billboard. Vol. 90, no. 14. 10 April 1978. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  24. ^ DiLorenzo, Kris (June 1978). "Kate Bush: The Kick Inside". Crawdaddy. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  25. ^ Reilly, Peter (1978). "Kate Bush: Uncaged Bird". Stereo Review. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  26. ^ Jones, Chris (25 July 2008). "Kate Bush The Kick Inside Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Kate Bush: The Kick Inside (EMI EMC 3223) *. By Sandy Robertson : Articles, reviews and interviews from Rock's Backpages".
  28. ^ Carlin, Marcello (16 April 2007). "This Sentient Soul, This Living Breath". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  29. ^ The Kick Inside (CD booklet). Kate Bush. EMI Records. 1978.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  30. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  31. ^ a b Billboard Magazine, July 1978. Billboard magazine. 1978.
  32. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4563b". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  33. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Kick Inside" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  34. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2021). "Kate Bush". Sisältää hitin - 2. laitos Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla 1.1.1960–30.6.2021 (PDF) (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 40.
  35. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Kick Inside" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  36. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e Dischi (in Italian). Retrieved 30 May 2022. Set "Tipo" on "Album". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "Kate Bush".
  37. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  38. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Kick Inside". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  39. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Kick Inside". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  40. ^ a b "Hits of the World". Billboard. 29 July 1978. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 12 August 2014. Cite error: The named reference "ptchart" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  41. ^ " – Kate Bush – The Kick Inside". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  42. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  43. ^ "ケイト・ブッシュの売上ランキング" [Kate Bush's sales ranking]. (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  44. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  45. ^ "Official Album Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  46. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1978" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  47. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1978 — The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Recorded Music New Zealand. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  48. ^ a b "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  49. ^ "Kate Bush, The album - the Kick Inside, the single - Wuthering Heights". Billboard. 15 July 1978.
  50. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kate Bush – The Kick Inside". Music Canada.
  51. ^ EMI: Exploring the World of Music (PDF). Billboard World of Music. 16 June 1979. p. 149. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  52. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Kate Bush – The Kick Inside" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter The Kick Inside in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  53. ^ > "New Zealand album certifications – Kate Bush – The Kick Inside". Recorded Music NZ.
  54. ^ "First artist to write every song on a million-selling album (female)". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  55. ^ "Reaching Out". Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  56. ^ "British album certifications – Kate Bush – The Kick Inside". British Phonographic Industry.
  57. ^ Caulfield, Keith (22 November 2005). "Ask Billboard: Bush League". Billboard. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.

External links[edit]