S03E20 – Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel Song)

On to the last Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush song….. for now! Like the previous two Peter Gabriel songs we’ve talked about on the show, Games Without Frontiers is an album track. But unlike the previous ones, this was a successful single. In fact, it was Peter’s first top 10 hit in the UK and the biggest hit, to that point, that featured Kate and Peter singing together (until Don’t Give Up in 1986)! How cool is that?

To discuss this song, we have our resident PG fan, also known as Cecilee’s husband Andrew Linke. We get to talk about the lyrics, the interesting references in the song, and of course, our lovely Kate’s ghostly background vocals singing the title line in French (as if her voice could get any more beautiful!). We also get to talk about how this collaboration came to be and a funny story from Graeme Thomson’s book Under the Ivy about a record executive’s reaction to this song. We also talk about the title’s reference to a rather silly game show called Jeux sans frontières (French for “games without frontiers”) and the British equivalent, called It’s a Knockout.

Clips used:

It’s a Knockout Theme

Jeux Sans Frontières Full Show

Games Without Frontiers (official video from Melt)

S03E19 – No Self Control (Peter Gabriel Song)

Now on to Peter Collaboration #2, the UK top 40 hit No Self Control, track number 2 on his 1980 album Melt. Peter Gabriel may have written this song, but in the production and song theme, No Self Control shares some parallels with Kate’s music as we would come to know it on her upcoming album The Dreaming.

World instruments in a non-world context (marimbas are featured in this song).

Distorting the human voice even further with technology (Kate’s vocals on the bridge and title line).

The song’s overall theme (human psychology and someone losing their mind).

In short, some of the seeds of The Dreaming can be heard on this collaboration, and what an exciting thing to hear!

Cecilee’s husband Andrew Linke returns to discuss No Self Control. They discuss the inspiration of this song (a Steve Reich composition called Music for 18 Musicians), the lyrics, why Kate and Peter may not have actually written songs together beyond these few collaborations, Kate’s contributions to the song, and how it fits into the music that Kate would come to produce on The Dreaming.

Song clips used:

No Self Control (album version)

Music for 18 Musicians (performed February 5, 2011 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago)

Further viewing:

No Self Control (promo video fan edit)

S03E18 – I Don’t Remember (Peter Gabriel Song)

And so now begins the collaborations portion of this third season of the show! There will be a total of five collaboration episodes this season, three of them with the same artist: Peter Gabriel.

I Don’t Remember was first sung by Peter and Kate together on stage for the Bill Duffield benefit concert in May 1979. Until then, I Don’t Remember was a Peter Gabriel only track, but during that show, Kate sang harmonies with Peter on this song and was even featured on the album version of said track (albeit in a very distorted manner such that her voice is unrecognizable unless you listen carefully!).

During Kate’s sessions for Never For Ever, Kate popped by Peter’s studio to sing background vocals with Peter on three of his songs: I Don’t Remember, No Self-Control (a UK top 40 hit that peaked at #33 in May 1980), and the top 20 hit Games Without Frontiers. All three of those songs ended up on Peter’s third album known as Peter Gabriel, a.k.a. Peter Gabriel 3 or Melt, due to the distinctive cover image. For this episode, and the two following Peter Gabriel collaboration episodes this season (and for Don’t Give Up next year in the Hounds of Love season), Cecilee gets to talk with her husband Andrew Linke, the resident Peter Gabriel fan (though Cecilee is becoming a fan too!). Cecilee and Andrew talk about the lyrics, Kate’s performance on this song, and the ways that she’s already starting to use her voice in a more experimental and very distorted way.

Song clips used:

S03E17 – Kidnapped on a Building Site

Ready to dive into a discussion of a rather obscure and strange little number? We hope so! Kidnapped On a Building Site is one of Kate’s most obscure songs, a raw piano/vocal unreleased demo of a song that was never fleshed out. In fact, we’re not even sure where this song came from, but a few years ago, it ended up on YouTube and, well, once it’s on the Internet, it’s hard to get rid of.

Given the style and her vocal, this was probably written around the time of Lionheart and Never For Ever, and was probably not meant for fans or anyone else to hear.

But we’ve heard it anyway!

To discuss this rather obscure little number, we have Dani Llamas, a fellow American Kate fan from Brooklyn, New York, who, when not working at Mute Records, does music in her spare time. Most notably, she is a huge fan of this song and even sampled the opening chords in one of her own songs! Very cool, we think! We think you’ll agree!

Dani joins us on the show to talk about the rather dark lyrics (at least, what we can make out, since it is a demo after all) and to speculate about when this song was probably written. And further speculation about where this song might have come from. We’ll probably never know!

But it’s fun to talk about!

Song clips used:

Kidnapped on a Building Site

Harrow Step by Dani Laundry

S03E16 – Warm and Soothing

For a song that was probably meant, like The Empty Bullring, as a quick runthrough as she acclimated herself to a new studio, Kate sure came up with something beautiful and criminally underrated. This week, we’re discussing a b-side featuring just Kate and her piano, the flip of December Will Be Magic Again, called Warm and Soothing, a song that is anything but when you dig into the lyrics. Keep in mind that a young woman in her early twenties wrote a song like this about a fading love. How could this be?

Only Kate!

To discuss one of Kate’s most underrated songs, we have a familiar voice on the show this week: Zoey P, who also agrees that this song should be better known and admired. Listen as we analyze Kate’s gorgeous vocal performance, the way she stretches out words, the gorgeous, plaintive melody, and the intriguing lyrics. Another one in only a couple of songs Kate has ever released officially that feature just her piano and voice.

Song clips used:

Warm and Soothing

S03E15 – December Will Be Magic Again

Almost 38 years ago, a mysterious holiday song was released to the record-buying public. Not just any holiday song. December Will Be Magic Again!

The history of this song is a curious one indeed. First premiered to the public on the Kate Bush Christmas special in late 1979, December Will Be Magic Again didn’t get an official record release until almost a year later. Though the song reached the UK top 30, this song never had a video, curiously enough! However, Kate did perform this song live on TV, in a different version with bongos and slide whistles (!!).

To discuss this song and what it means to us, we have our resident Boston Kate fan Keith DeWeese on the show. Back when we first started talking about Kate, Keith mentioned this was one of his favorite KB songs, so of course, we’re talking about it this week! Listen as we talk about the different versions of this song, how it was performed on that famous TV show with Kate in her pajamas, and our take on the lyrics and music. Also Cecilee’s inner music nerd comes out further when she gets to talk about the intriguing structure of this song (major to minor in one song!).

Song clips used:

December Will Be Magic Again (live on the 1979 Kate Bush Christmas special)

December Will Be Magic Again (live on the Christmas Snowtime special, December 22, 1979, [bongo version])

S03E14 – Passing Through Air

Time to take a trip back in time to a track that was recorded well before Never For Ever: the lovely little song Passing Through Air. Released as the b-side to Never For Ever‘s final single Army DreamersPassing Through Air was recorded in 1973 at the age of fifteen, when Kate was still a teenager writing songs by herself in the comfort of the family home. Recorded with David Gilmour and his side project Unicorn, Passing Through Air is an interesting two-minute trip into what Kate’s music was like as a teenager.

To talk about this obscure song this week, we have the wonderful Christopher Kelley, the host of Dream of Orgonon, a blog that is going to detail every Kate song in order of release. Christopher wrote an extensive analysis of this song, so we’ve invited him to talk about this song on the show. We’ll talk about the history of the song, the demo version, and another rarity that was probably recorded at about the same time (and which will finally be released with Kate’s box sets in November: Humming).

It’s all here in this episode!

Song clips used:

Passing Through Air

Need Your Loving (Passing Through Air piano demo)

Other links:

Christopher Kelley’s blog on Passing Through Air

S03E13 – Ran Tan Waltz

Welcome to another episode of the show! This week we’re digging into Ran Tan Waltz, a sprightly little number that was released as the b-side to Never For Ever‘s second single Babooshka. Rather fitting that Ran Tan Waltz, a song about a dysfunctional marriage, was the flip side of a song also about a dysfunctional marriage.

Cecilee is joined by Keith DeWeese in Boston to discuss this little number. They discuss the only time this song has ever been performed live (on the Kate Bush Christmas Special, featuring Kate dressed as a man from Fiddler on the Roof), the theme of the song, and what it means to be ran-tanning.

It’s all here in this episode!

Live performance:

Ran Tan Waltz on the Kate Bush Christmas Special, 1979

S03E12 – The Empty Bullring

After a short break, we’re back with a new song episode. So come disappear through a window and out of your mind into our discussion of The Empty Bullring, the first released non-album track of Kate’s career so far and the first b-side of this season.

The Empty Bullring was the b-side to Never For Ever‘s lead single Breathing. Compared with the proggy, densely produced atmosphere of the A-side, Bullring is rather simple in its production. Just Kate and her piano, spinning a tale of a man trying to prove himself when he doesn’t need to, all in less than two and a half minutes. Short and sweet indeed.

For this episode, we’re joined by a great friend of the show, Zoey, who puts this as one of her most underrated Kate Bush songs. Cecilee and Zoey discuss the theme of the song, the way Kate uses her voice and her always intriguing vocal stylings, and when this song may have been recorded.

Song clips used:

The Empty Bullring

Bonus: Kate Bush Remastered!

Big news today in the Kate Bush world: all of Kate’s albums, plus new rarities, are being released in remastered editions on vinyl AND CD! The first seven are coming out on November 16, 2018 in individual and box set form, with the rest (Aerial, Directors Cut, etc) to follow on November 30, 2018! Woohoo! One hopes there might be an iTunes release as well, but we’ll see…..

No need to wait all night long, we’ll tell you all about it in this special episode of Strange Phenomena. Listen as Cecilee discusses the big news, plus some updates about the show (more listeners, woohoo!!!) and things to come in the Never For Ever season, which is ALMOST done!!

Box set orders:

Vinyl

Remastered I
Remastered II
Remastered III
Remastered IV

CD

Remastered I
Remastered II

Links to pre-order Kate’s albums individually:

The Kick Inside

Vinyl
CD

Lionheart

Vinyl
CD

Never For Ever

Vinyl
CD

The Dreaming

Vinyl
CD

Hounds of Love

Vinyl
CD

The Sensual World

Vinyl
CD

The Red Shoes

Vinyl
CD

Aerial

Vinyl
CD

Director’s Cut

Vinyl
CD

50 Words for Snow

Vinyl
CD