300 Kate Bush Impersonators Pay Tribute to Kate Bush’s Iconic “Wuthering Heights” Video

in Comedy, Literature, Music | November 27th, 2015

Heathcliff, it’s me–Cathy.

(and 300 Kate Bush impersonators…)

Let (us) in-a-your windo-o-ow!

I will never forget my first hearing of singer-songwriter Kate Bush’s “ Wuthering Heights.” My college boyfriend was a fan, but nothing he told me in advance prepared me for the shocking lunatic squeak of that voice.

Was that how Emily Brontë conceived of her otherworldly Gothic heroine, Catherine Earnshaw?

Surely no.

Had such an unholy screech issued from the lips of Merle Oberon in the 1939 film adaptation, Lawrence Olivier would have bolted for the moors…

It’s an acquired taste, but a lasting one. Bush’s debut single, written on a full moon night at the tender age of 18, has become a classic in its own right.  (SPOILER: its life span has proved longer than Heathcliff’s).

It’s weird, tragic, compelling… just like the novel that inspired it.

It’s also perennially ripe for parody. Not just because of the voice. Two music videos Bush released seal that deal.

The UK version, above, features the sort of over-the-top theatrics rarely displayed outside the privacy of bedroom mirrors, as Bush pirouettes, cartwheels, and emotes in a gauzy white frock.

(Some young teens of my acquaintance nailed that one at summer camp, with little more than white bed sheets and fifteen minutes of advance preparation.)

When it came time for the American release, below, Bush painted her nails, rouged her lips, and took to the great outdoors in a bright red gown and tights, below.

Comedian Noel Fielding camped his way through that version in 2011, raising money for charity with a nearly 30-year-old reference.

But for sheer numbers, nothing trumps the Shambush! stunt at the top of the page. In May, 2013, the self-proclaimed “ludicrous performance troupe” invited all interested Bush fans to join them in a Brighton park to recreate the famous video en masse. (Gowns and wigs were available onsite.)

More than 300 participants heeded the call, allowing Shambush! to achieve its goal of setting the world’s record for the most number of people dressed as Kate Bush. (As one of the organizers pointed out, they would’ve set the world’s record even if it had only been the three of them.)

What a wonderful, ridiculous moment in music history to be a part of!

For those inspired to recreate the madness with their own crew, Shambush! breaks down (and names) some of the most iconic moves in an instructional video, below.

Related Content:

2009 Kate Bush Documentary Dubs Her “Queen of British Pop”

Ai Weiwei’s Parody of ‘Gangnam Style’

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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Comments (26)

  1. mrmittens says . . .
    November 27, 2015 / 11:26 am

    Kate is singing in that pitch on purpose- Kathy is singing from the grave. it mimics the odd high pitched sounds some claim come from electronic devices from the dead- EVP.

  2. notmrmittens says . . .
    November 27, 2015 / 3:54 pm

    Hmm.. Nobody said anything special about her pitch, so it’s a little mystifying what you’re on about, mate.

  3. loveit says . . .
    November 27, 2015 / 4:21 pm

    It’s like a commercial for feminism!

  4. rubaiyat says . . .
    November 27, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    I am a fan of this as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF0VaBxb27w

  5. Christian says . . .
    November 27, 2015 / 8:21 pm
  6. Loopy says . . .
    November 27, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    “the shocking lunatic squeak of that voice.”
    It seems that he did, in fact, say something about her pitch. Not so mystifying.

  7. Dan Colman says . . .
    November 27, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    Hey there,

    Just out of curiosity does anyone know who just mentioned our post on their Facebook page?

    Thanks in advance,
    Dan (editor)

  8. Lizzie says . . .
    November 27, 2015 / 10:08 pm

    Amanda Palmer posted it on her page to almost 400,000 people.

  9. Dan Colman says . . .
    November 27, 2015 / 10:57 pm

    Sweet. That was nice of her.

    Thanks for letting me know, Lizzie.

  10. Jane Trobridge says . . .
    November 28, 2015 / 12:27 am
  11. Natisha says . . .
    November 28, 2015 / 2:53 am

    Here is one more from Eugene and Natisha :)

  12. Alex says . . .
    November 28, 2015 / 4:43 am

    A friend of mine helped organise this – she’s the one front centre when the singing starts. I’ll have to forward this page on to her!

  13. daveguy says . . .
    November 28, 2015 / 8:39 am

    Tears of joy streamed down my face as I watched this. I am not kidding.

  14. Ludo says . . .
    November 28, 2015 / 11:43 am

    Well I’ve never seen the red dress one before nor knew it existed. The UK white dress video is absolutely iconic and beautiful, the red dress one is just silly. A pity that so many people see it the other way around in my view

  15. bee tard says . . .
    November 28, 2015 / 1:06 pm

    definitely the most joyous thing i’ve seen in an incredibly long time – big smiley props to all involved :-D

  16. Mike says . . .
    November 28, 2015 / 3:22 pm

    Like many Americans I was introduced to Kate via “Running Up That Hill,” and my first exposure to “Wuthering Heights” was the redone version on Kate’s greatest hits record. Thus hearing this version for the first time some years later was something of a shock. But I don’t find it strange or grating at all…it’s just very, very Kate.

  17. Johnson says . . .
    November 28, 2015 / 5:01 pm

    Sorry but this one is better than yours because it is just women and they are all in costume. In your one it looks like you have all and sundry there wearing all sorts.

  18. KateC810 says . . .
    November 28, 2015 / 5:32 pm

    Required viewing for my AP English Literature classes at Downingtown (PA) West High School.

  19. Kun T Turnstyle says . . .
    November 29, 2015 / 8:14 am

    Didn’t read the article then did you? The sentence about an “unholy screech” might have been somewhat of a clue. However, the EVP thing has been proven to be bullshit & need never be mentioned by intelligent beings again. Ever.

  20. Siobhan says . . .
    November 29, 2015 / 12:21 pm

    The idea of doing this made me really happy.

  21. Kat says . . .
    November 29, 2015 / 8:26 pm

    Does anyone remember a version of this where she went into an extremely high note at the end of the bridge?
    (” You know it’s meee eeee… Kath…EEEEE)….or am I mixing it up in my memories with Benetar’s version? Easy, very easy, to mix up memories from those days.. ;)

  22. Steve says . . .
    November 29, 2015 / 11:15 pm

    I’m sure in thirty five years people will gather all around the world to dance and celebrate the work of Ayun Halliday.

    JOKE! They wont!

    I am glad that someone wrote this but the bitchy tone and digs were not required.

  23. Keith Peters says . . .
    November 30, 2015 / 2:21 pm

    First paragraph of the article, mate.

  24. Mrs. Dennis Duffy says . . .
    November 30, 2015 / 6:31 pm

    I’m glad it wasn’t just me!

  25. Ruji C. (@ruji_says) says . . .
    December 15, 2015 / 2:13 pm

    Awesome! This is my version of “Wuthering Heights”: https://youtu.be/NOknIpUCcpQ

  26. Grannie says . . .
    December 17, 2015 / 6:24 am

    gawd. young women are embarrassingly foolish. It’s no wonder my great-great grandmothers had to fight so hard for the vote.

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