Today is the 35th anniversary of the release of Kate Bush's debut album The Kick Inside. The album that started the incredible career of an artist who inspired countless other piano playing female singer songwriters like Tori Amos or Fiona Apple.
It really is not easy to find a female singer songwriter who doesn't at times sound like a bit of a Kate Bush clone. The aforementioned artists or the likes of Regina Spektor and Amanda Palmer are way too obvious choices but I hear traces of Kate-ness in Robyn, Nicola Roberts, Marina & the Diamonds or Paloma Faith. And what about Florence + the Machine. The Kate legacy is everywhere. And all of it was started by this little album.
I first became aware of Kate Bush when I saw an entry on her with a picture of this album in my rock'n'roll encyclopedia when I was about 12. I really liked the cover art of The Kick Inside (and I still love it today). Some time later I heard Wuthering Heights on the radio. At that point it was the strangest song I'd ever heard (my Bowie years were still a few years ahead of me), something which was impossible to classify. I wasn't even sure what time period the song was from. It was just so strange. And absolutely amazing. After some detective work I managed to connect that Kate Bush person with the song and as soon as I got my pocket money I went to buy the album. At 13 it was one of the first albums I'd ever bought. And boy, was it worth the money!
I became completely immersed in Kate's world. For a month or two I wouldn't listen to pretty much anything else. Apart from the (not very thorough) entry in my encyclopedia I knew nothing about Kate Bush but I connected so well with what she was singing about here. So many stories! I was a complete book worm back then so I was on the same wavelength. Even songs about...lady issues - going through child to woman changes at full speed back then - there couldn't have been a better time to discover Kate.
I'm pretty sure there are people who can analyse every song on the album from all possible angles so I won't even try to do that, I just wanted to share what this album meant to me. It opened a whole new horizon to me (well, a multitude of them). It started my love of piano playing songwriters. If it wasn't for Kate I might have never started listening to the Dresden Dolls, who knows. The utter weirdness of her later output prepared me well for Bowie's over the top musicianship and vision. And as I said, I see and hear her legacy in pretty much any female artist coming after her.
There are not that many artists in the rock/pop/weirdness genre that can boast being so influential. And even less of them are female. Whenever I listen to Kate I feel proud I was born a woman. She makes me feel great about not having a penis and being 5'3''. And she manages to do so just by the sheer force of her quietly fierce and independent talent, dazzling and inspiring artists and non-artists alike, 35 years on.