Click here to return to the main site.

Book Review

Book Cover

Running Up That Hill
50 Visions of Kate Bush (Hardback)


Author: Tom Doyle
Publisher: Nine Eight Books
358 pages
RRP: £20.00
ISBN: 978 1 788 70779 4
Publication Date: 27 October 2022

Kate Bush: the subject of murmured legend and one of the most idiosyncratic musicians of the modern era. Comprising fifty chapters or 'visions', Running Up That Hill is a multi-faceted biography of this famously elusive figure, viewing her life and work from fresh and illuminating angles. Featuring details from the author's one-to-one conversations with Kate, as well as vignettes of her key songs, albums, videos and concerts, this artful, candid and often brutally funny portrait introduces the reader to the refreshingly real Kate Bush...

Kate Bush is a name many won't have heard for decades. Until recently, thanks to a resurgence in her popularity thanks to 'Running Up That Hill' featuring in season four of Stranger Things, those who vaguely remember her from the charts will probably only recall her debut single 'Wuthering Heights', 'Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)', 'Hounds of Love' and the wide-eyed, weird jerky dance movements of the video of 'Babooshka'. When prompted they'll no doubt also remember 'The Man with the Child in His Eyes' and her 'Don't Give Up' duet with Peter Gabriel.

In truth her hardcore fan base never dwindled, have regular meet ups to travel to see tribute acts like the wonderful Cloudbusting, and are as active a community as they've always been. For the majority of the public it's arguable that Bush's perceived persona is one of privacy and wide-eyed eccentricity.

Author Tom Doyle aims to shed a little light on the life and driving force of this very private artist. Not only was he fortunate to interview Bush but he also dug into the archives to unearth as much as he could about Bush and her true driving force.

He also picks apart some of the issues with being such a secretive individual who shines in the limelight. Her views and opinions can be twisted to represent anything with little to no comeback. She was accused, by one publication, of being a "dyed in the wool Tory", something which many newspapers immediately refuted stating there was not an ounce of credibility to such a claim.

Doyle interviewed Bush for Q Magazine in 2006. A bunch of celebrities were contacted and answered lighthearted questions. It was designed to be a bit of fun, and Doyle reprints the Q&A in the book. It's probably as good as any indication of how smart, thoughtful and comical Bush is.

The book includes vivid reconstructions of transformative moments in her career and insights from the friends and collaborators closest to Bush, including her photographer brother John Carder Bush and fellow artists David Gilmour, John Lydon and Youth.

In truth it shines an interesting light on a figure who, it appears, is not that reclusive after all... well not if you collect together all the information as Doyle has done here.

A superb and intelligently written tribute to an incredible artist.


Nick Smithson

Buy this item online

Kindle edition
Kindle edition