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Saint Etienne: Five Essential Kate Bush Songs

Saint Etienne's Pete Wiggs, Sarah Cracknell and Bob Stanley (photo by Rob Baker Ashton, PR)

Saint Etienne's Pete Wiggs, Sarah Cracknell and Bob Stanley (photo by Rob Baker Ashton, PR)


[July 2018 update: Kate Bush turns 60 years old on July 30, and on July 14, a flash mob of about 150 Bush fans in Sheffield, England recreated the singer's "Wuthering Heights" video with their own scarlet-clad, interpretive dance for what was called "The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever 2018." (The single itself marks its 40th anniversary this year.) Bush was also commissioned this year to pay tribute to Wuthering Heights author Emily Brontë with an original poem that's been carved into stone and placed in West Riding, near the Brontë sisters' Halworth homestead.

As for Bush fan Sarah Cracknell and her bandmates of Saint Etienne, the group is touring behind the 20th anniversary of their album Good Humor and will be playing New York's Bowery Ballroom on September 5 and Elsewhere on September 6.]

The latest album from the ever-cosmopolitan British trio Saint Etienne, Home Counties, finds the trio — Sarah Cracknell, Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley — looking back with both nostalgia and wariness at the suburbs of their youth. All three come from the counties that encircle London — Cracknell from Essex, Stanley from Sussex and Wiggs from Surrey — and while they strove to break from the restraints of English bedroom communities, it's also where they all grew up and as teenagers, found their many rock and pop heroes.

For Cracknell, one of those most significant watershed moments in her young life was discovering was this week's FUV Essentials artist, Kate Bush. She frequently cites Bush's music whenever tapped to list her favorite albums (like The Kick Inside) and as Cracknell described over a decade ago in a review she wrote for the Times regarding a Kate Bush biography, discovering the singer's albums in the '70s changed her life.

We reached out to Cracknell, who is touring Europe and the UK with Saint Etienne this month, for her picks of "Five Essential Kate Bush Songs." And when Saint Etienne were touring the States this fall, their first tour here in five years, they also stopped by FUV for a session which airs this Thursday, November 2, at 8 p.m. EDT, and will also be available on-demand in the Vault.

Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell: Five Essential Kate Bush Songs

This has been a very tricky task. There are so many wonderful Kate Bush songs to choose from, it seems unfair not to mention songs like "Running Up That Hill," "Babooshka" and "Sat In Your Lap." So there, I just did!

"Wuthering Heights," The Kick Inside (1978)

I was about 11 years old when I first heard Kate Bush on Top Of The Pops. She was so other-worldly. A beautiful, mystical creature. I've heard her say that she caught the end of the 1939 film version of the book on TV, where Cathy is begging Heathcliff to let her in, and felt inspired to buy Emily Brontë's novel, read it and write a song. The result is dramatic, cinematic and pretty spooky.

"The Man With The Child In His Eyes," The Kick Inside (1978)

This has to be my favourite Kate Bush song. It really gives me goosebumps. She'd written it by the time she was 15 years old, although I actually read somewhere that she was 13! She came from a musical family and was in a band with her brothers playing pub gigs early on. But this song shows such maturity and amazing storytelling that is was obvious she had a very special talent.

"Cloudbusting," Hounds Of Love (1985)

I've always found the lyrics to this so fascinating, but I haven't got the faintest idea what they mean. Something about a glow in the dark yo-yo, got to hide it from the government, and bury it in the garden? Crazy stuff!

"Army Dreamers," Never For Ever (1980)

Such a sad song, talking about the waste of young life during a futile war. "Should have been a rock star, but he didn't have the money for a guitar. Should have been a politician, but he never had a proper education. Should have been a father, but he never even made it to his twenties."

"A Sky Of Honey," Aerial (2005)

This is the really long song on disc two of the double album, Aerial, which came out in 2005. I've always been a fan of drifting, meandering mood pieces that just seem to take you on a journey. Shame about the Rolf Harris contribution though...

- Sarah Cracknell
November 2017

Read all of FUV's Five Essential Albums and Songs.