Kate Bush

One of the most successful and popular solo female performers to come out of England during the last several decades of the 20th century, Kate Bush was also one of the most unusual, with her keening vocals and unusually literate and complex body of songs. As a girl, Catherine Bush studied piano and violin while attending the St. Joseph's Convent Grammar School in Abbey Wood in South London. She also amused herself playing an organ in the barn behind her parents' house. By the time she was a teenager, Bush was writing songs of her own. A family friend, Ricky Hopper, heard her music and brought Bush to the attention of Pink Floyd lead guitarist David Gilmour, who arranged for the 15-year-old Bush to record her first demo. With Gilmour's help, Bush was signed to EMI Records at age 16, though the company made the decision to bring her along slowly. She studied dance, mime, and voice, and continued writing. She also began thinking in terms of which of the 200 or so songs she'd written would be part of her first recording, and by 1977, she was ready to begin her formal career, which she did with an original song, "Wuthering Heights," based on material from Emily Bronte's novel (and more directly inspired by Bush's seeing the 1970 film directed by Robert Fuest and starring Timothy Dalton and Anna Caulder Marshall).