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Sunday, August 3, 2014

50 Words For Kate: #24 - Collaborating

One of the more hilarious misconceptions about Kate Bush is that she is some Garbo-esque recluse. The fact that Kate has no interest in being a celebrity, whatever that means, should not be mistaken as aloofness. A simple measure of Kate's gregarious nature is the number of musical collaborations she has under her belt. Apart from the many guest musicians she has used on her own albums, Kate has freely given her time and talents to a broad list of other artists over the years. Her unmistakable voice can be heard backing up everyone from Go West to Prince, Roy Harper to Big Country, Midge Ure to Lionel Azulay.

Kate has also shown her charitable side, popping in to sing a lovely line on the number one cover of Let It Be, organised to support the victims of the Zeebrugge ferry disaster. She was also persuaded, I'm presuming at gunpoint, to deliver a rather prophetic line on the well-meaning, but god-awful Spirit Of The Forest, in aid of trees and stuff. The choir is like a "who's that?" of popular music...

One of Kate's rare and fleeting live performances of the last 35 years was also in aid of charity. She appeared at the first Comic Relief live show in 1986, where she sang Breathing and also duetted with Rowan Atkinson on a hilarious song that sought to answer that eternal question, Do Bears...

Of course, Kate's most remembered collaboration was with Peter Gabriel. Kate provided backing vocals to two tracks on Peter's third album and he appeared as guest on her BBC TV Special, but it was a duet on his 1986 album, So, that would forever link their names in pop history.

Peter recently said that he'd wanted Dolly Parton to provide the female voice for Don't Give Up. Now, I love me some Dolly, but I think it would be hard for anyone who's heard Kate sing on this track to accept any substitutes. The video is simple, yet extremely effective, the perfect accompaniment to this heartwrenching ballad, that's become an anthem for many.

So, as you see, Kate is far from trapped in an ivory tower. Whether big or small, her guest appearances are always faultless and can gild a lily, or make a silk purse out of the hoariest sow's ear.

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