For the song, see Hounds of Love (song). For the film, see Hounds of Love (film).
Singles from Hounds of Love
Released: 5 August 1985
Released: 14 October 1985
Released: 24 February 1986
Released: 28 April 1986
Hounds of Love is the fifth studio album by English singer-songwriter and musician Kate Bush, released by EMI Records on 16 September 1985. It was a commercial success and marked a return to the public eye for Bush after the relatively poor sales of her previous album, 1982’s The Dreaming. The album’s lead single, “Running Up That Hill”, became one of Bush’s biggest hits. The album’s first side produced three further successful singles, “Cloudbusting”, “Hounds of Love”, and “The Big Sky”. The second side, subtitled “The Ninth Wave”, forms a conceptual suite about a person drifting alone in the sea at night.
Hounds of Love received critical acclaim on its release and in retrospective reviews. It is considered by many fans and music critics to be Bush’s best album, and has been regularly voted one of the greatest albums of all time. It was Bush’s second album to top the UK Albums Chart and her best-selling studio album, having been certified double platinum for 600,000 sales in the UK, and by 1998 it had sold 1.1 million copies worldwide. In the US, it reached the top 40 on the Billboard 200. The album was nominated at the 1986 BRIT Awards for Best Album, where Bush was also nominated for the awards for Best Producer, Best Female Artist, and for Best Single (“Running Up That Hill”).
- 1 Production
- 2 Release and promotion
- 3 Critical reception
- 3.1 Accolades
- 4 Track listing
- 5 Personnel
- 6 Charts
- 6.1 Weekly charts
- 6.2 Year-end charts
- 7 Certifications
- 8 Release history
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Following the disappointing sales of Bush’s fourth album, The Dreaming, EMI was concerned about sales largely due to the long time period it took to produce the album.[which?] “I finished my last album, did the promotion, then found myself in a kind of limbo,” she later explained.[when?] “It took me four or five months to be able even to write again. It’s very difficult when you’ve been working for years, doing one album after another. You need fresh things to stimulate you. That’s why I decided to take a bit of the summer out and spend time with my boyfriend and with my family and friends, just relaxing. Not being Kate Bush the singer; just being myself.” In the summer of 1983, Bush built her own 48-track studio in the barn behind her family home which she could use any time she liked.
Bush began recording demos for Hounds of Love in January 1984. Rather than re-record music, she took the demos and enhanced them during the recording sessions. After five months, she began overdubbing and mixing the album in a process that took a year. The recording sessions included use of the Fairlight CMI synthesiser, piano, traditional Irish instruments, and layered vocals. The chorale in “Hello Earth” is a segment from the traditional Georgian song “Tsintskaro,” performed by the Richard Hickox Singers. The lines “It’s in the trees! It’s coming!” from the beginning of the title track are sampled from a seance scene from the 1957 British horror film Night of the Demon, spoken by actor Maurice Denham (although mouthed by Reginald Beckwith).
The album was produced as two suites – side one being “Hounds of Love” and side two a seven-track concept piece, “The Ninth Wave”. Bush described it as being “about a person who is alone in the water for the night. It’s about their past, present and future coming to keep them awake, to stop them drowning, to stop them going to sleep until the morning comes.”
Release and promotion
On 5 August 1985 Bush performed the new single “Running Up That Hill” on Terry Wogan’s BBC1 chat show Wogan. The single entered the UK singles chart at number 9 and ultimately peaked at number 3, becoming Bush’s second highest charting single (after her chart-topping debut single “Wuthering Heights”).
The album launch party was held at the London Planetarium on 5 September 1985, which was the first occasion that Bush and Palmer officially appeared in public as a couple. The invited guests were treated to a playback of the entire album while watching a laser show inside the Planetarium. Hounds of Love was released 16 September 1985 by EMI Records on vinyl, XDR cassette and compact disc formats. It entered the UK album chart at number one, knocking Madonna’s Like a Virgin from the top position. The album marked Bush’s breakthrough into the American charts with the Top 40 hit “Running Up That Hill”. The album also yielded a set of videos, one of which was “Cloudbusting”, directed by Julian Doyle, and co-starring Donald Sutherland. The video—like the song—was inspired by the life of psychologist Wilhelm Reich.
On 16 June 1997 a remastered version of the album was issued on CD as part of EMI’s “First Centenary” reissue series. The “EMI First Centenary” edition included six bonus tracks: 12″ mixes of “The Big Sky” and “Running Up That Hill”, and the B-sides “Under The Ivy”, “Burning Bridge”, “My Lagan Love”, and “Be Kind To My Mistakes”, the last of which was written for Nicolas Roeg’s 1986 film Castaway and plays during the opening scene.
In 2010, Audio Fidelity reissued Hounds of Love on vinyl with new remastering by Steve Hoffman.
A 10″ pink vinyl record with four songs taken from the album (“The Big Sky”, “Cloudbusting”, “Watching You Without Me” and “Jig of Life”) was released by Audio Fidelity (catalogue number AFZEP 001) on 16 April 2011 for Record Store Day 2011, limited to 1000 copies worldwide.
In the 2014 Before the Dawn concerts, Bush performed almost all of the album’s tracks live for the first time, with the exceptions of “The Big Sky” and “Mother Stands for Comfort”. “Running Up That Hill” had been already performed live in 1987 with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd at the Secret Policeman’s Third Ball.
In the UK most reviews of the album at the time of its release were overwhelmingly positive. In a five-star review Sounds called Hounds of Love “dramatic, moving and wildly, unashamedly, beautifully romantic”, before going on to state, “If I were allowed to swear, I’d say that Hounds of Love is f***ing brilliant, but me mum won’t let me”. NME said, “Hounds of Love is definitely weird. It’s not an album for the suicidal or mums and dads. The violence of The Dreaming has turned into despair, confusion and fear – primarily of love, a subject that remains central to Bush’s songwriting.” The review then went on to scorn the idea that by signing to EMI Records as a teenager, Bush had allowed herself to be moulded in their corporate image, suggesting that on the contrary, it had enabled her to use the system for her own devices: “Our Kate’s a genius, the rarest solo artist this country’s ever produced. She makes sceptics dance to her tune. The company’s daughter has truly screwed the system and produced the best album of the year doing it.” Melody Maker was more reserved, saying, “Here she has learned you can have control without sacrificing passion and it’s the heavyweight rhythm department aided and abetted by some overly fussy arrangements that get the better of her”. It was particularly disappointed by “The Ninth Wave” suite on the second side of the record, feeling that “she makes huge demands on her listener and the theme is too confused and the execution too laborious and stilted to carry real weight as a complete entity”.
In the USA reaction to the record was mixed. Awarding the record the title of “platter du jour” (i.e. album of the month), Spin observed that “with traces of classical, operatic, tribal and twisted pop styles, Kate creates music that observes no boundaries of musical structure or inner expression”. The review noted “while her eclecticism is welcomed and rewarded in her homeland her genius is still ignored here – a situation that is truly a shame for an artist so adventurous and naturally theatrical”, and hoped that “this album might gain her some well-deserved recognition from the American mainstream”. However, Rolling Stone, in their first ever review of a Kate Bush record, was unimpressed: “The Mistress of Mysticism has woven another album that both dazzles and bores. Like the Beatles on their later albums, Bush is not concerned about having to perform the music live, and her orchestrations swell to the limits of technology. But unlike the Beatles, Bush often overdecorates her songs with exotica … There’s no arguing that Bush is extraordinarily talented, but as with Jonathan Richman, rock’s other eternal kid, her vision will seem silly to those who believe children should be seen and not heard.” The New York Times characterized the album’s music as “slightly precious, calculated female art rock” and called Bush “a real master of instrumental textures,” while The Independent called Hounds “a prog-pop masque of an album.” Pitchfork Media gave the album a perfect score, noting that the album draws from synthpop and progressive rock whilst remaining wholly distinct from either style. Spin called it an “art-pop classic.”
The album was placed at number 10 in the NME critics’ list of the best albums of 1985.
In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Hounds of Love the 48th greatest album of all time, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 20 in its list of the “100 Greatest British Albums Ever” and the third “Greatest Album of All-Time by a Female Artist” in 2002. In 2006, Q placed the album at number 4 in its list of “40 Best Albums of the ’80s”. In January 2006, NME named it the 41st best British album of all time. The 19th edition of British Hit Singles & Albums, published by Guinness in May 2006, included a list of the Top 100 albums of all time, as voted by readers of the book and NME readers, which placed Hounds of Love at number 70. In 2008, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said the album should be given consideration when listing albums released between 1978 and 1988 that have stood the test of time while remaining influential and enjoyable to this day. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at No. 10 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s”. NME placed Hounds of Love 48th on their “500 Greatest Albums of All-Time” list.
All tracks written by Kate Bush.
Note The original 1985 cassette release included the 12″ single version of “Running Up That Hill” at the end of side one. The 2011 Fish People re-release contains the “Special Single Mix” version of “The Big Sky”, as opposed to the original album version.
- Kate Bush – vocals, Fairlight CMI, piano
- Alan Murphy – guitar on 1, 3, 8
- Del Palmer – bass on 1, 10, handclapping on 3, backing vocals on 5, Fairlight bass on 8, Linn programming
- Paddy Bush – violins on 10, balalaika on 1, backing vocals on 5, didjeridu on 3, harmonic vocals on 7, fujara on 12
- Stuart Elliott – drums on tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11
- Charlie Morgan – drums on 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, handclapping on 3
- John Williams – guitar on 12
- Jonathan Williams – cello on 2
- Youth – bass on 3
- Eberhard Weber – bass on 4, 11, 12
- Danny Thompson – double bass on 9
- Morris Pert – percussion on 3
- The Medici Sextet – strings on 5
- Dave Lawson – string arrangements on 5
- Dónal Lunny – bouzouki on 6, 11, Irish bouzouki on 10
- John Sheahan – whistles on 6
- Kevin McAlea – synthesiser sequences on 8, synthesiser on 12
- Liam O’Flynn – uilleann pipes on 10, 11
- The Richard Hickox Singers – choir on 11
- Brian Bath – backing vocals on 5, guitar on 11
- John Carder Bush – backing vocals on 5, narration on 10
- Richard Hickox – vocals, choir master on 11
- Michael Berkeley – vocal arrangements on 11
- Del Palmer – engineer
- Haydn Bendall – engineer
- Brian Tench – engineer, mixing
- Paul Hardiman – engineer
- Nigel Walker – engineer
- James Guthrie – engineer
- Bill Somerville-Large – engineer at Windmill Lane Studios
- Pearce Dunne – assistant engineer
- Julian Mendelsohn – mixing on 2, 4
- Chris Blair – digital remastering
- Ian Cooper – cutting engineer
- Photography for the sleeve was by Kate’s brother, John Carder Bush and the sleeve design was by Bill Smith Studio and Kate.
- Kate Bush discography
- Kate Bush’s Awards and Nominations
- Hounds of Love (Adobe Flash) at Radio3Net (streamed copy where licensed)