“How I Wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush” by Me.


All this excitement about getting Kate Bush tickets – yes, I was one of the smug luckies – has reminded me of how, for a brief few weeks, I thought I had written her marvellous song “Wuthering Heights”.

Back in 1978, when the single was released, I spent most of my evenings with a white mono earphone stuck in my ear, the other end being plugged into an old transistor radio with the battery kept in place by some well worn gaffa (YES!) tape.  Most of the time, it was tuned into 247 medium wave (or radio 1 as it was) but around 7:30, a magical transformation took place….

Spoken about in hushed and reverent tones, those usually reserved for Radio Caroline, Fabulous 208 – Radio Luxembourg – held, and continues to hold, a place deep in the hearts of those even vaguely interested in music in the 1970’s.  You could never quite tell when you would receive it, the signal drifting in and out seemingly on a whim, but sometime between 7:00pm and 8:30pm, the magic signal would find it’s way to your tranny and a new world of pop and europop was available to you.

One morning, I woke up with the static hiss of dead air in my ear, and had a tune rattling around my head, the like of which I’d never heard before. Glorious; etherial; slightly insane.   I had no idea what this was.   I’d never heard it before, ergo.  I must have written it in my dreams.   It was MINE!   I got my old cassette player out, pressed play and record and sang what I remembered into the condenser mic.

A few days later, I woke up with the tune in my head again.  This time, I’d been woken up by my alarm clock radio. It was playing something very poppy, but in that weird moment before waking, the tune, that breathtaking tune . . .

Fast forward another week and I’m at the dentist, having some teeth removed.  Back in those days, it was perfectly accepted practice to gas all and sundry for the tiniest of reasons.  I was anaesthetised, the dentist did his thing and when I started to come round in the recovery room, again, that dreamy melody faded into my semi-conscious mind… I really had to get that tune down in a more concrete form, I thought.

The following morning, as usual, the radio alarm woke me.  Still feeling a bit sore and sorry for myself after the dental work, I decided to stay in bed for a while.  The Radio 1 morning news finished, the DJ chattered for a while and then announced “a remarkable new single by a star of the future”.

He was right on both counts, but imagine my horror when the tune I thought I had written, and had only so far heard in semi-conscious or subliminal states, began to play.   I was enthralled, enchanted, appalled, gutted and hopelessly in love.   You don’t forget that kind of mix!

I got used to the loss very quickly, purely because it was so wonderful a tune.

But yeah, for a while there . . .



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