Revisit a pre-fame Kate Bush covering The Beatles song ‘Come Together’
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you a special cover of one of The Beatles most iconic numbers, from one of Britain’s most cherished talents, Kate Bush.
Ever since its release in 1969, The Beatles’ Abbey Road track ‘Come Together’ has been covered, reimagined, and sampled. Seemingly perpetually referenced as a major influence by those artists that have since followed the mammoth record, the song’s reach truly knows no bounds.
The track may be credited to the iconic Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership, the song is primarily written by John Lennon who, at the time, was attempting to write a song for Timothy Leary’s political campaign for governor of California. Skip forward a few months, however, and Leary was imprisoned for possession of marijuana and Lennon’s track remained without purpose.
“The thing was created in the studio. It’s gobbledygook; ‘Come Together’ was an expression that Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song,” Lennon once said of the song. “I tried and tried, but I couldn’t come up with one. But I came up with this, ‘Come Together’, which would’ve been no good to him — you couldn’t have a campaign song like that, right?”
The song is now synonymous with The Beatles, in fact, it is arguably one of their most famous creations after it climbed to the top of the charts upon its release the United States. Such is its legacy, some of contemporary music’s most iconic figures have put their own spin on the song, including the likes of Ike and Tina Turner, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, Elton John and, most recently, Sheffield’s own Arctic Monkeys, while performing at the opening ceremony of 2012 London Olympics.
While the high profile cover versions have been reported relentlessly over the years, we’ve been brought to the attention of a very special rendition of the Abbey Road song by none other than a pre-fame Kate Bush.
At the time, the mid-to-late ’70s, Bush had just been signed to EMI Records after a recommendation from Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. While EMI saw the potential in Bush at the time, they were concerned by her lack of real music industry experience and suggested she needed to play live more often to toughen her up a little. One year later, in 1977, an 18-year-old Kate Bush was linked up with a handful of musicians who became her band.
“We went around to her brother’s house to meet her because we wanted to get a band together to do some pop [songs],” band member Del Palmer told the BBC. “And the idea was we’d get his sister to sing because we might be able to get a few more gigs if we had a girl singer,” he added in reference to Bush.
The mutual agreement proved fruitful as Bush would get the opportunity to work in music outside her comfort zone and, in the meantime, the band would be able to secure more shows in London. “Kate didn’t frequent pubs, but she wanted to do it because she had to learn stage presence and projection,” Vic King, Bush’s then bandmate, told the Telegraph in 2014. “She wasn’t doing it because she loved being onstage.”
The band with Bush would play around 20 shows in London and, during one of those, run through a rendition of The Beatles track ‘Come Together’. It marks the song out as one of Bush’s best covers and a glimpse of the unchartered talent she was about to unleash on the world.