On January 20, 1978 Kate Bush released her debut single, "Wuthering Heights". Disco, punk and "Mull of Kintyre" may have reigned at the time, but this teenager's voice and ear for melody arrived like a visitor from another world, eventually topping the U.K. charts for four weeks to become the best selling song of the year there and in Australia.
She is not from another world. The daughter of a British physician , Kate began playing piano at age 11, writing songs at 13, and making a demo tape with Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour at age 16. EMI signed her and gave her two years to develop her songwriting, dancing ( inspired perhaps by her martial arts teachers) and four octave range voice.
The lyrics are sung from the point of view of Catherine Earnshaw, the female protagonist of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. SPOILER ALERT! She is dead, a spirit, who hopes to enter her lover's home through a window. Thus the chorus :
Heathcliff, it's me, I'm Cathy
I've come home, I'm so cold
Let me in through your window
It could be argued that Bush's high pitched voice takes some time to get used to ( especially that opening line "Out on the wiley, windy moors / We'd roll and fall in green") and that Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler had already opened the door for bombastic melodrama.
But Kate Bush's career would be far more interesting. Because she would always be far more weird.
Though it would not make any year end lists from the music mags, "Wuthering Heights" is the top rated single of 1978 from the collaborative online music database site RateYourMusic.com