Pink Floyd was in the midst of completing the 1975 Wish You Were Here album when David Gilmour came across a youthful singer-songwriter named Kate Bush. Through his patronage, she made her first demo, and Bush’s celebrated career was underway. A friendship in music was born, too.
“I was intrigued by this strange voice,” Gilmour says in a new interview for the BBC. “I went to her house, met her parents down in Kent. And she played me, gosh, it must have been 40 or 50 songs on tape. And I thought, I should try and do something.”
Bush was only 16. She’d actually come to meet the guitarist through a friend of her brother’s, who was in the music business. Gilmour arranged for three of those songs to be recorded, with a producing assist from Andrew Powell — he’d go on to oversee Bush’s first two albums — and engineering by Beatles collaborator Geoff Emerick.
“I think we had the [EMI] record-company people down at Abbey Road in No. 3,” Gilmour adds. “And I said to them, ‘Do you want to hear something I’ve got?’ They said sure, so we found another room and I played them ‘The Man with a Child in his Eyes.’ And they said, ‘Yep, thank you — we’ll have it.’ [Laughs.] It’s absolutely beautiful, isn’t it? That’s her singing at the age of 16, and having written those extraordinary lyrics.”
The guitarist would work with Bush as an executive producer on 1978’s The Kick Inside, a producer and sideman on 1980’s “Passing through Air,” a guest vocalist on 1982’s The Dreaming, and guitarist on “Rocket’s Tail” and “Love And Anger” from 1989’s The Sensual World. They’ve also appeared on stage together, notably for a performance of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” in 2002, when Bush was honored with the Ivor Novello Award.
Gilmour’s comments arrive as part of a new BBC documentary titled Running Up that Hill, which also features interviews with Peter Gabriel, Annie Clark and Elton John, among others. Bush is set to perform a series of long-awaited London performances, her first concerts in some 35 years.
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