S04E09 – Houdini

Strange Phenomena: The Music of Kate Bush
S04E09 - Houdini

It’s an epic episode about an epic love story: Bess and Harry Houdini! Our song this week is Houdini, the ninth track from The Dreaming and what a song it is! There’s Broadway singing, there’s light, pure vocals, and of course, the famous screams in the chorus! And mystery! Can’t forget the mystery either (don’t let it go now!)

We have two big fans on the show this week: Zoey P and Luke McQuillan, who was on the show back in season one to discuss Wuthering Heights. With Zoey, we get to talk about the feminist implications of Kate writing a song from Houdini’s wife’s point of view rather than Houdini himself, the symbolism of keys, and our favorite lyrical and vocal moments. With Luke, we talk about how strange the music is (that chord progression!) and dissect how he came up with his own piano/vocal version of Houdini by ear!

Song clips used:

Houdini (piano/vocal version by Luke McQuillan)

Houdini (piano instrumental by YANTA)

Interview clips used:

Rare 1982 interview with an opera singer

Paul Gambaccini interview, Pebble Mill At One, 1982

Other links mentioned:

Luke McQuillan – The Gauntlet

Sheet music for Rosabel, Sweet Rosabel

S01E06 – Wuthering Heights

Strange Phenomena: The Music of Kate Bush
S01E06 - Wuthering Heights


At last, we come to the song that started it all, the worldwide (except for the US) mega-hit Wuthering Heights. In this special episode, Cecilee and special guest, musician and Wuthering Heights fanatic Luke McQuillan, hope you’ll let them in at your window as they discuss this important song. Cecilee and Luke discuss the unusual chord progression, the massive popularity this song still has 40 years after it was written by chance on the night of a full moon, various cover versions, and the tragic story of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. Also, Luke and Cecilee talk about the first time they ever heard this song, which was their first exposure to Kate’s music.

Live versions used:

Wuthering Heights live at the Hammersmith Odeon
Wuthering Heights live on Top of the Pops

Cover versions played: