The 10 years or so of silence since her last recorded works haven't helped, but it has to be said that Kate Bush's contribution to songwriting history and musical innovation since she burst onto the pop scene as a teenager in 1978 has been rather overlooked of late. I would urge anybody who likes their songwriting catchy and emotional but also intelligent and quirky, and their music intriguing and eclectic, to try this compilation, featuring most of the famous singles and a few minor ones from all but the last 2 albums of Kate Bush's career. Although not *quite* the whole story, this is an impressive journey over a huge range of musical ground showing a level of developing maturity and sophistication rarely heard since.
The ordering of tracks - neither chronological nor thematic - appears rather random at first, especially to those who might know the repertoire well, but holds together remarkably well. The early classics "Wuthering Heights" (here given a subtle re-working) and "The Man with the Child in his Eyes" show Kate as the wistful, impassioned teenager; "Wow" and "Babooshka" demonstrate growing vocal strength and a developing knack for telling stories in song; "Army Dreamers" and "Breathing" give a chilling reminder of the tense global situation in the depths of the Cold War and remain, years on, as outstanding protest songs in the grand tradition. With "Sat in your Lap" and "The Dreaming" a more experimental phase is reached, with at-the-time ground-breaking electronica, drum machines, sampling, and even the musical talents of Rolf Harris called in to complement the unerringly catchy, stirring melodies and bizarre lyrics. The high point of sophistication is reached with the three singles from the "Hounds of Love" album: the compelling title track; the eerie, relentless "Running Up That Hill"; and the spellbinding "Cloudbusting", a story-song mixing childhood memories with conspiracy theory, but with the sun coming out at the end. "Experiment IV", the latest work chronologically, is another conspiracy-theory-cum-story-song in which Kate's own music comes alive to wreak havoc on the military researchers trying to turn it to destructive purposes; and here, for this collection at least, the story ends. Another two albums of new material were to follow this one; but as an introduction to the repertoire of one of Britain's finest songwriters, this collection is complete in itself.
Without Kate Bush, I doubt that other innovators like Bjork or Tori Amos would have made much headway on the British music scene. More importantly, nor would a host of other talented women with their own songs and arrangements. Buy this record, and begin to glimpse the phenomenon.
on 8 August 2001
This is an enjoyable run through some of Kate's best moments, and if you are new to Kate Bush then it's a good place to start. The only drawback is that in almost every case the songs sound better as a part of the albums they came from, so if you know you like Kate Bush, skip this and go straight to the original albums as you'll end up buying them all in the end.
Kate Bush wasn't just one of the most original songwriters of the 1970sand 80s. She was also a pioneer in the use of video as a medium fortelling the stories behind the songs. This video collection, to accompanythe compilation album of the same name, suffers (as the compilation does)from not actually being the whole story, but apart from that it's afaultless portrayal of one songwriter's growing confidence in herself, inher music, in her ability as a storyteller, and in her power to commandand captivate an audience visually as well as emotionally.
I have to take issue with some of the reviewers here who deride the earlyvideo material. Yes, most of it consists of Kate in swirly whitenightdresses doing what at times looks reminiscent of "liturgical dance".So what? Remember when these films were first made: the promotional videowas a rarity in the late 70s (half of the material on this video predatesMTV), musicians were only just beginning to grasp the possibilitiesafforded by the medium, and let's face it, most of the videos produced by*anyone* in that early era look even more dated now, and are executed witha lot less grace. By the "Never for Ever" era, Kate had moved away fromdance interpretations and was beginning to use video as a storytellingmedium, as can be seen in the classic films for "Babooshka" and thechilling "Breathing". "Sat in your Lap", released in 1981, was one of thefirst videos ever to use computer graphics; true, it looks dated now, butremember this was the era when the ZX81 was the cutting edge of computertechnology, so to achieve something so spectacular and - well, downrightbizarre - at that time was absolutely ground-breaking.
By the time the "Hounds of Love" era arrived, Kate was a video artistwithout compare. "Running Up That Hill" was a return to the "liturgicaldance" style of "Wuthering Heights", but this time with a chilly,hypnotic, bleak quality to it. "Hounds of Love" is half chase and halfcourtship dance, full of sinister men in trenchcoats and trilbys. "The BigSky" is different again, a breath of bright, fresh air, and you can seefrom the artists' faces how much fun they were having; the final image ofKate perched on the roof captures her perfectly as both child and wisewoman, pixie and siren.
"Cloudbusting", starring Donald Sutherland and more sinister men intrenchcoats, is spectacular. A small feature film in song form, this isparanoid conspiracy-theory thriller ten years before "The X Files", butwith a glimmer of optimism at the end. As ground-breaking at the time asMichael Jackson's "Thriller", it's a mystery why it hasn't been rememberednearly so widely. Conspiracy, perhaps? Last in the sequencechronologically, "Experiment IV" takes 1980s paranoia to an absurd height,as Kate's own music, enslaved in a military operation led by thebrilliantly creepy Peter Vaughan, turns against its masters and takesbloody revenge on a supporting cast now counted among the finest inBritish comedy. Cold War satire at its finest, and all in the space offive minutes.
It's probably the sheer bizarreness of Kate Bush's vision which hasresulted in the mainstream music world forgetting her video heritage. Butas one of the great innovators of the medium, and as a leftfieldstoryteller par excellence, she deserves to be remembered.
on 30 January 2001
The Whole Story (1986) is a pretty standard and obvious collation of KB's singles releases between 1978 and 1986. It introduces the as yet uninitiated to 12 of her most popular songs, although perhaps the vastly overproduced 'new vocal' for Wuthering Heights was not the brightest of ideas.
The compulsory 'new' single (released for the compilation only), Experiment IV, is actually a fairly good track (a direct descendent from the Hounds Of Love album), but nothing to get overly excited about. The inclusion of The Dreaming (which only just made the Top 50) was perhaps another oversight, and could have been replaced with a classic 'non-single' song from Kate's expansive body of work, such as the excellent Them Heavy People, Suspended in Gaffa or Infant Kiss etc. Moreover, twelve tracks covering five albums is a tad tight-fisted considering the vast resevoir of work at the compiler's disposal.
However, with the likes of Babooshka, Breathing, Running Up That Hill, Army Dreamers and Wow all present and correct, The Whole Story is certainly enough to keep most punters thoroughly happy and will undoubtedly push many of them to investigate KB's unique talent a little deeper. Even by listening to this somewhat limited singles collection, you can still begin to explore a vast array of moods and textures, each of which is a small work of art in itself.
Die-hard fans willingly forked out over £90.00 for the This Woman's Work box-set compilation a few years later, so in comparison, The Whole Story is still quite good value for the non-completist. And no, I bought all the albums instead... it was actually cheaper !
Kate liked to experiment with music all the time, which endeared her to the critics (always on the lookout for something new and different) and to a lot of fans. She had six UK top ten hits in the seventies and eighties, together with plenty of other hits. The most popular of Kate's early hits (except her live on stage EP) are to be found on this excellent compilation, originally released on vinyl in 1986.
Kate had her biggest UK hit with her debut single, Wuthering heights (inspired by the famous Emily Bronte novel of the same title), which went all the way to number one. The follow-up, Man with the child in his eyes, became a UK top ten hit. Two other UK top five hits are here (Babooshka, Running up that hill) along with several songs that made the UK top twenty and three minor UK hits. Sadly, Kate's duet with Peter Gabriel (Don't give up, a UK top ten hit) came a couple of years too late for this compilation.
The diversity of Kate's music is impressive but her music is difficult to classify. Kate's high-pitched voice may not appeal to everybody - it's the kind of voice you either love or hate but it is very distinctive. And I love it.
An expanded compilation including some of Kate's hits after 1986 is long overdue (there is plenty of room on a CD to include more tracks), but until such time as one appears, this is the only compilation of Kate's music there is. Still, quantity is less important than quality and this collection is certainly filled with quality.
The Whole Story covers all of Kate bush's most memorable songs from the 1970s and early 1980s although it is by no means the whole story of her career. It opens with the re-recorded version of her spooky and atmospheric 1978 hit Wuthering Heights. This version has greater depth than the original single and still remains a most remarkable song based as it is on the novel of the same name.
Bush is a unique singer-songwriter with a gift for striking romantic imagery, although her work is not always immediately accessible. The Man With The Child In His Eyes is a complex and moving ballad, whilst Wow is a powerful atmospheric pop song.
Her music can be quite idiosyncratic and full of oneiric imagery, like Breathing and The Dreaming. On the other hand, Babooshka is a buoyant pop song with a catchy tune. This compilation is charming and very enjoyable. Overall, Kate's music can be described as a form of art rock, not always appealing on first listen, but very rewarding if you persist.
on 14 August 2004
I really am a suspect to say something about Kate Bush since I have been her fan since 1978, but definetely, this VHS and all the other ones (Single File, The Sensual World, The Line The Cross and the Curve.... and some rare materials like Peter Gabriel's Don't Give Up, Rocket Man, The Man I Love.... etc.... etc....) should be combined in just one DVD and everyone could be happy and have those lovely moments treasured forever in our minds....
on 25 August 2012
This review is for: Whole Story Kate Bush (CD)
It says it all that 25 years after this was released it is currently in Amazon's Top 40 best selling CDs. This album just keeps on selling because it is the perfect introduction to Kate Bush and covers all her best known songs up to 1986 when this was released. The pre-1986 period is when Kate was a regular fixture in the singles chart with hits like "Wuthering Heights", "The Man With The Child In His Eyes", "Wow", "Babooshka", "Breathing", "Sat In Your Lap", "Running Up That Hill", which are all included here. This was the first Kate CD I bought many years ago and I figured having a hits CD was all I needed. It does include a slight reworking of "Wuthering Heights" that may not make a difference to the casual buyer, but being very familar with the original I had to also buy The Kick Inside to get the single version. Since then and because I loved Kate's music so much and played it to death, I ended up buying the 8CD box set This Woman's Work. So, dipping your toe into Kate's world with this singles collection can lead you onto needing more of a fix. But that's no bad thing. This is a collection of singles that very few artists can match in quality and class. Great melodies, excellent lyrics, superb vocals (no autotune needed for Kate), and a real warmth and subtlety throughout; all the things that are rarely found these days. At the time of this review it is £4.00 for this CD including delivery, which must be the best value for money on Amazon right now. One last thing... Some people say that this album is unnecessary if you have the original albums, but actually "Wow" was slightly remixed for the single version, which is included here.
on 17 October 2009
Kate Bush.....immense talent,unusual soaring voice,beautiful and graceful and definitely one of the most amazing female artists the U.K. has ever produced. Sadly this album doesn't do her any justice career-wise as it isn't really the "whole story" as there are quite a few tracks missing from the listing.
I guess it's hard for an artist to compile a best of album as there are probably some songs that would have been included but were album tracks and not released singles,and as us general public can be fickle little things we would only complain!
There is a new version of Wuthering Heights,which really hasn't got that edge that the original recording ever had,and for some reason they always use the album version of Man With The Child In His Eyes and never the single release version.
Songs that were missing that deserved to be on this album were: Them Heavy People,There Goes A Tenner,December Will Be Magic Again,Hammer Horror,Big Sky etc.
On the plus side, it was nice that the track Experiment IV was on there.
I do have this in my Kate Bush collection,but i do feel it's not the best of that it should be.
on 23 May 2014
Kate Bush is probably the most talented (and reclusive) British female popular artist of the last 40 years; certainly the crop of talented young female pretenders to the throne in recent years, including the likes of Adele, Pixie Lott, Duffy, Rumer and Ellie Goulding who are still developing as performers and writers in this century, can only dream of achieving the longevity and popularity enjoyed by Bush over her career. This LP hits the ground running with the superb 'Wuthering Heights' in 1978 and the hits keep on flowing through to the mid-1980s; there's no cheap filler here with gorgeous songs such as 'Breathing', 'Army Dreamers', 'Babooshka', 'Running Up That Hill' and 'Cloudbusting' - and that's just for starters! If you dismiss Ms Bush as a weird recluse who wrote one great song - think again! This is an essential collection and well worth investing in.