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

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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