Nov 032023

Run up that hill back to the beginning.

20. Mikey Woodbridge — Experiment IV

I think we can all agree that “Experiment IV” is the best song ever written about a military plot to create music with the power to kill people. The first single released to promote the then forthcoming hits compilation The Whole Story, and its lone new track, “E IV” is regularly, unfairly branded as the collection’s weak link. The classic trope regularly applied to greatest hits collections is that the new song(s) that appear on them are nothing more than disappointing “coattail hangers.” But “Experiment IV” is, in fact, a compellingly slick ‘n’ sinister sister to “Cloudbusting.”

Australian singer and multi-disciplinary artist Mikey Woodbridge’s cover is as much a visual experience as an aural one. Equal parts camp and austere, Woodbridge delivers a divinely passionate and elegant live vocal and plays the role of tormented scientist to the hilt. P.S. It’s also a seriously sweet wink to all the Kate nerds; The video looks to be based on an appearance Bush made on BBC1’s Wogan Live show in 1986! – Hope Silverman

19. Caroline Spence, Erin Rae, Michaela Anne, Tristen — This Woman’s Work

Originally written for the soundtrack to the 1988 John Hughes film She’s Having a Baby, “This Woman’s Work” is about dealing with an unexpected crisis during childbirth, and it is appropriately a mostly quiet, heartfelt, and empathetic song. Its message of dealing with difficult times has resulted in its use in a bunch of movies, TV shows and commercials. Caroline Spence, Erin Rae, Michaela Anne, Tristen, four singer/songwriters based in Nashville, contributed their cover to a benefit collection of new songs, covers, live tracks, remixes and demos released on Bandcamp last October called Good Music To Ensure Safe Abortion Access To All, so both its childbirth-centric and crisis messages were appropriate. Their version is beautiful, and faithful to the feeling of the original, without being a slavish copy. – Jordan Becker

18. James Gilmour — And Dream of Sheep

“And Dream of Sheep” depicts a nightmare but sounds like a lullaby. It is the first song of the aforementioned Ninth Wave suite on Side two of the Hounds Of Love vinyl LP. Full dark disclosure: “And Dream of Sheep” is the last song I hope to hear when I leave this earthly plane. This means when it comes to cover versions of “ADOS”, I am genuinely thrilled when someone chooses to do the song and irrationally critical of their attempt. I confess that upon first listen, I wasn’t impressed with James Gilmour’s bare-bones version. It sounded like yet another faithful, acoustic run-of-the-mill YouTube cover. Despite my initial distaste, I had an inexplicable urge to play it again. And again. And again. With each play, it began to sound more and more magical. To be honest, what separates this gentle and exceedingly lovely “ADOS” cover from the others, is something idiosyncratic and hilariously subtle: it’s that tiny buzz in Gilmour’s voice. This sheep is spellbinding. – Hope Silverman

17. Kevin Fox — Army Dreamers

“Army Dreamers” is a sad waltz that describes the grief of a mother whose son has been killed in the military. She bemoans his fate, his lack of alternative prospects, and the unfulfilled promise of a young life cut short for no good reason. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and it engendered a video that apparently was one of the few that Bush felt was wholly satisfying. Kevin Fox is a cello virtuoso and in-demand arranger, and his cover, with overdubbed and electronically enhanced cello is exquisite, and while his voice isn’t in the same ballpark as Bush’s (and how many peoples’ are?), the song’s pathos comes through. It’s also interesting when looking at a gender switched cover to see whether it works, and here, there’s no question that a father could be as sad as a mother about a lost child. – Jordan Becker

16. Tracey Thorn — Under the Ivy

A sad lament that seemed always bafflingly absent from the mainstream canon of Bush, tucked away on the B-side of a single. Tracey Thorn has just the right sort of voice to notch down the temperature even more, not that the original was in any way warm. Thorn, the voice of Everything But The Girl, has the sort of pure and gaunt timbre that can inhabit the mood of any song and make it her own, explaining her rich and rewarding catalogue of other work, solo and with the likes of Massive Attack, often tackling covers and stealing them away from their initial owner. She is a singer to be cherished. Like the original, her cover isn’t on any original album, sneaking out a single, shortly before Christmas, in 2014. – Seuras Og

15. Tous Les Oiseaux d’Europe — Nocturn

Kate Bush’s 2005 album Aerial is not meant to excite but rather to soothe and caress. It meanders and wanders. The average track length is five minutes. There’s a comforting sonic sameness to the songs, and they all kind of blend into one another. It is the “chillest” Kate album. With a running time of over eight minutes, “Nocturn” is the LP’s longest track—and one of its most memorable. Full of gorgeous evocative imagery and turns of phrase (“We stand in the Atlantic, we become panoramic”), the song both grooves and positively thunders (it literally closes with a cloudbusting clap). Dutch choral group Tous les oiseaux d’Europe’s cover is loyal and vocally lush, full of sweet vocal flourishes, piano punctuation, and goofily manic harmonizing. “Nocturn” is an ambitious and wonderfully deep ‘n’ nerdy cover choice and the choir nails the song’s spirit oh so eloquently. – Hope Silverman

14. Katie Malco — Cloudbusting

It is surely a superpower to make it through the first year of the Pandemic, living alone and unable to make the music that you love, and then choose a joyous, optimistic song to cover as the first shoots of hope begin to emerge. English singer Katie Malco has that power and manages to bring the enduring power of hope in the face of adversity to her version of the song. Her voice is perfectly matched to the piece, and the pared down arrangement is a perfect vehicle for the vocals. A superb embodiment of the musicality and message of the original. – Mike Tobyn

13. Heidi Harris — Watching You Without Me

The original is not reliant on the lyrics to do the storytelling. Instead, the instrumentation does the heavy lifting. The original has a deep and syncopated percussion that is maintained in this cover. However, extra elements like the pipe organ and bird call sounds that appear in the original are swapped out for a tinkling xylophone and more dissonant accoutrements like what I can only describe as the sound of laser guns “pew”-ing at different octaves. The vocals are also spookier in this cover, fitting for the song’s story of a ghost visiting her home but lamenting that she can’t be heard. You can definitely hear the frustration building. – Sara Stoudt

12. Lady Maisery — This Woman’s Work

No strangers to Cover Me, Lady Maisery are a three woman folk supergroup from the UK; think boygenius as conceived by the Bronte sisters. As with their cover of Bjork’s “Hyperballad,” from last year’s best-of ranking, they show themselves dab hands at folking down much the modernity in the song, endowing a stately polish from beneath the chilly veneer of the original. The harmonies of Hazel Askew, Hannah James, and Rowan Rheingans get swapped and shared about the delivery, with the Scandinavian hardanger fiddle giving the scaffolding around which the voices weave. Released initially as a charity single for International Women’s Day in 2013, all profits went to the End Violence Against Women Coalition. – Seuras Og

11. Rage of Light — Running Up That Hill

Swiss group Rage of Light released this version of “Running Up That Hill” when the market was absolutely saturated with covers of the Stranger Things-hyped song. Not always the best idea but someone’s got to rise to the top, and Rage of Light’s metal take was one of them. Lead singer Martyna Halas shows her range by doing a decent job replicating Bush’s style during softer passages while blowing out speakers with her “cookie monster” vocals at other points. The best moments come when the former is overlaid on the latter, backed by blistering double drum pedals and chunky metal riffs. This is the version that would play in The Upside Down, and it rocks. – Mike Misch


Cover Me is now on Patreon! If you love cover songs, we hope you will consider supporting us there with a small monthly subscription. There are a bunch of exclusive perks only for patrons: playlists, newsletters, downloads, discussions, polls - hell, tell us what song you would like to hear covered and we will make it happen. Learn more at Patreon.

  One Response to “The 30 Best Kate Bush Covers Ever”

Comments (1)
  1. Martin Newnham: Really great cover! Tight, almost terse guitar work. Love it!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>