Page last updated at 07:21 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:21 UK

Behind the enigma of Kate Bush

Kate Bush

The career of singer-songwriter Kate Bush, who celebrates her 50th birthday today, has spanned more than 30 years.

The star, whose hits include Wuthering Heights and Running Up That Hill, has been famously enigmatic in recent years.

Her most recent album was released in 2005 after a hiatus of more than a decade.

Two musicians who have worked with the singer reveal their impressions of Kate Bush both inside and outside of the studio.


Folk-rock musician Roy Harper released his first album in 1966 and had a song recorded in his honour by Led Zeppelin.

Kate Bush duetted with him on his 1980 song You and he sang backing vocals on her hit Breathing in the same year.

A decade later Bush contributed to Harper's album Once.

Kate is a fantastic musician and very professional as well. Working with Kate is a very smooth operation because she always knows what she wants to do, surprising you too, which is what good musicians always do.

Roy Harper - photo by Danny Clifford
Roy Harper praises Kate Bush's generosity

She is a perfectionist with her art, but isn't like that with all aspects of her life.

She is a wonderful person and it would be impossible to speak highly enough of her. She is the kindest woman I've ever met and if she's a friend of yours, she is for life.

I would go round there and we used to talk all night and exchange ideas. On a social level she is very graceful and has given me some beautiful presents including a wonderful kaleidoscope one year which is an absolute treasure.

Her songs are brilliant, simple deepnesses and a fantastic degree of musicianship goes into them. There is nobody quite like her.

I think she should eventually be honoured by her country because she is an outstanding contributor to the cultural life of her generation.


Musician Colin Lloyd Tucker produced his first album at the age of 17, playing all the instruments himself, when he first met the Bush family.

After recording with Kate Bush's musician brother Paddy, he was invited to perform backing vocals on her 1993 album The Red Shoes.

He also played a devil in The Line, The Cross and The Curve, a film produced and directed by Bush which accompanied the record.

The singer begins by explaining how he came to work with Kate Bush.

Colin Lloyd Tucker and Paddy Bush
Colin Lloyd Tucker (l) has recorded with Kate Bush's brother Paddy (r)

Kate was living next door to Paddy at the time and would come by at night to listen to what we'd been doing. She heard us singing together and said it would sound great on a track she was working on.

She directed us through the whole thing and is easy to work with because she knew what she wanted and spent a long time getting it right. But it wasn't painful and she was very patient at communicating what she wanted.

It was quite exhausting but we were very well looked after - she makes a lovely ham salad sandwich!

But she's also intuitive and if a mistake is made that she really likes, she'll keep it.

Music is her whole life and when she's making it she's extremely professional and courteous. But when she's off duty she's an extremely relaxed person and has you creased up in hysterics.

She's a really normal person and happy in her domestic life and the people she has around her are nice to be around. She's easy-going and not at all aloof which is a common misconception.

Kate is a musician through and through and she's never going to stop writing. I wouldn't be surprised if there'll be a flurry of activity when her son gets a bit older.


Kate Bush's debut in the music world

Roy Harper and Colin Lloyd Tucker talked to BBC News entertainment reporter Michael Osborn.

In pictures: Kate Bush at 50
30 Jul 08 |  In Pictures
Kate Bush song in Golden Compass
14 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Operatic act beat Bush to the top
13 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
Mixed reviews for Bush comeback
04 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
Album nearly killed me, says Bush
01 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
The sensual world of Kate Bush
31 Oct 05 |  Entertainment


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