Wow (Kate Bush song)

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Kate Bush - Wow.png
Single by Kate Bush
from the album Lionheart
Released9 March 1979 (1979-03-09)
Format7" single
GenreArt rock
Length3:41 (Single edit)
4:00 (Album version)
Songwriter(s)Kate Bush
Producer(s)Andrew Powell
assisted by Kate Bush
Kate Bush singles chronology
"Hammer Horror"
"Symphony in Blue"
Audio sample

"Wow" is a song by English singer Kate Bush. Originally released on her second album Lionheart in 1978, it was issued as the album's second single in March 1979. It was a top 20 hit in the UK.

"'Wow' is about the music business," she told her KBC fan club magazine in 1979. "Not just rock music but show business in general. It was sparked off when I sat down to try to write a Pink Floyd song – something spacey."[1]

The lyrics include a reference to Vaseline as a sexual lubricant. In the original video, Kate Bush pats her behind when singing the lyric. This video was censored by the BBC at the time of release.


The single version is an edited version of "Wow", although it is not labelled as such on most editions. On all European "Wow" singles, the first 12 seconds of synthesiser chords have been removed. Brazil and Canada used the full-length LP version. The Canadian single featured a unique sleeve and was pressed on transparent yellow vinyl. The song was a moderate hit on Canada's Adult Contemporary singles chart in RPM Magazine.

The song was released in the UK on 9 March 1979 and peaked at number 14 in the UK Singles Chart, remaining on the chart for ten weeks.[2] This was an improvement on Bush's previous single, "Hammer Horror" which had stalled at No.44 a few months earlier. A video was filmed for the release, featuring Bush performing the song in a darkened studio, and then backed by spotlights during the chorus. She also made a guest appearance on the TV Special ABBA in Switzerland, where she performed this song in April 1979.[3] Also around the time of this release, Bush embarked on her first of only two live concert tours. Due to this and the release of the single, Bush's second album Lionheart saw a resurgence of interest in the UK albums chart, by making a re-entry into the top twenty for several weeks.[2] The song became a hit in other countries such as Ireland where it reached No.17.[4] "Wow" was a target for comedian Faith Brown who parodied it on her show.[5] In 2012 The Guardian called "Wow" the "undisputed highlight" of the Lionheart album.[6]

"Wow" also appears on Bush's compilation hits album The Whole Story, released in 1986. For the video compilation of this album, a new video was made of "Wow", featuring a montage of Bush performing live in concert.

This song was featured in the 2002 Rockstar North videogame Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as part of the power ballads radio station Emotion 98.3. However it was not featured on the 10th anniversary edition re-release.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Jazz singer Liza Lee covered the song on her 2009 album Anima. Lee, who is a stroke survivor, is donating proceeds of the album to the Society for Women's Health Research.[7]
  • British electronic musician Andi Fraggs has recorded a cover version of "Wow" and is performing the song on his live shows.[8][9]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written and composed by Kate Bush.

7" vinyl

  1. "Wow" (edited version) – 3:46
  2. "Fullhouse" – 3:13



Chart (1979) Peak
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[10] 28
Irish Singles Chart[4] 17
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[11] 14


  1. ^ Quoted in Never Forever fanzine, No. 17, December 1991
  2. ^ a b "Kate Bush - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  3. ^ ABBA on TV, ABBA in Switzerland
  4. ^ a b Irish Charts – search Kate Bush
  5. ^ "Top 5 Kate Bush spoofs".
  6. ^ Chesterton, George (25 January 2012). "Old music: Kate Bush – Wow" – via The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Jazz Artist Liza Lee Releasing Exciting New CD, Anima, with a Personal Mission on January 27, 2009".
  8. ^ "Andi Fraggs - "Wow" Live at Madame JoJo's". Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  9. ^ "ANDI FRAGGS Wow (Audio/Slide)". Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 4519." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  11. ^ "Kate Bush: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 6, 2017.

External links[edit]