Another day and another reason we love Kate Bush. In this rare recording which has just surfaced to us online, Kate, back in 1975, gives a few words on her unreleased song ‘Humming’, a track which is widely assumed to be about the legendary David Bowie. Listen back to the song below:
In the bootleg clip, clearly recorded from somebody’s FM radio, a reserved and shy Bush talks about the clip as if it is the worst song ever. Written when she was 15 the song is fairly naive in construction but still holds all the values as Bush’s later work. The real naivety comes from the song’s subject matter: Kate Bush’s hero, David Bowie.
Prior to it’s release in 2018 as an extra on a bumper vinyl box set, the song was floating around the airwaves known as ‘Maybe’ or even ‘Davy’. The latter of which a clear nod to the beginning of Bowie as Davy Jones. The track pays homage to the flame-haired alien from outer space, not through the music (which is actually more akin to Bush’s other hero Elton John) but through her wondrous, cheeky and very intelligent lyrics.
Now, forgive us, as we’re about to do a lot of ‘supposing’. The first reference is a tongue-in-cheek to Bowie’s music rival in the glam rock world, the leading man of Roxy Music Bryan Ferry in the line “Who’ll ferry me”. The links continue, with references to discoloured eyes, being a rock singer, talk of groupies, and the continuous references to stars – it all adds up to this being Kate’s ‘Song For Bob Dylan’.
The track comes from a very exciting period for David Bowie. He had ditched the long-haired hippy vibe of Hunky Dory and was instead intent on establishing his incarnation Ziggy Stardust. The rock world was taken aback by the transformation and his output and it’s no wonder when people like Kate were caught up in his wake. Kate was even standing solemnly when at the Hammersmith Apollo in 1973 Bowie killed off his alter-ego Ziggy.
In fact, we’d go as far to say as that the song is about this very moment. The yearning in Bush’s lyrics, coupled with the song’s love-letter qualities, send a message of missing somebody special. Written at the age of 15, just a year after Ziggy was sent back up into outer space, it makes sense that a heartbroken Bush would pen a song for the moonage daydreamer.
It’s a wonderful song which not only is given an extra kick of gravitas by the small and sweet intro she gives the song on the radio but with it’s latest release in 2018, is given a modern face-lift. Kate Bush is very shy about most personal things in her life but she wasn’t shy about Bowie. Below is the message she wrote for David upon hearing of his passing. Below that is the two versions of the song ‘Humming’ or as we prefer to call it ‘Davy’.
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“David Bowie had everything. He was intelligent, imaginative, brave, charismatic, cool, sexy and truly inspirational both visually and musically. He created such staggeringly brilliant work, yes, but so much of it and it was so good. There are great people who make great work but who else has left a mark like his? No one like him.
I’m struck by how the whole country has been flung into mourning and shock. Shock, because someone who had already transcended into immortality could actually die. He was ours. Wonderfully eccentric in a way that only an Englishman could be.
Whatever journey his beautiful soul is now on, I hope he can somehow feel how much we all miss him.”
You set the scene for any revolutionary
Who’ll ferry me
A crossing to enlivenment
Well not a cloud in his eye, not a blue in the sky
And they were rocking
Because he’s a rock singer too
So maybe you may have many birds
And many songs for your morning
You’re so like a star upon me
You’re so like a star upon me
To be one in your garden
Well strike a light in my head
Watch me buzz around the floor
But it’s no good
Because you give your own buzz and more
Everything is a stride it’s alright
While you’re playing boy
But when you go there’s nothing
There’s nothing left
Source: Steve Pafford