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Music

Kate Bush, the first woman to secure a UK number one single with a self-written song

@notmyyaztattoo

When it comes to topping the charts, you might expect an even split in regards to gender diversity when looking at the makeup of the music industry today. However, it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, you might be surprised to learn how recently a woman topped the UK charts with a self-written song.

English singer-songwriter Catherine Bush CBE, most commonly known as Kate Bush, topped the charts with her debut single ‘Wuthering Heights’ in 1978, at the age of 19. She wrote the song herself, and with this, she became the first woman to top the charts with a number-one self-written song.

The song spent four weeks at number one, kicking off a fantastic career of number-one singles, accolades, and awards. She’s been nominated 13 times for British Phonographic Industry accolades, and in 1987 she won a Brit Award for Best British Female Artist. Additionally, she’s been nominated for three Grammy awards.

Bush began songwriting at the age of 11 and has been creating ever since, with her last studio album being released in 2011. She even published a book of lyrics in 2018 titled How to Be Invisible.

Since ‘Wuthering Heights’ came out, Kate Bush has had 25 top 40 singles, including hits like ‘The Man with the Child in His Eyes’, ‘Babooshka’, ‘Running Up That Hill’, and ‘Don’t Give Up’. 

Although she dropped out of the public eye for a prolonged period and didn’t perform live between 1979 and 2014, Bush later took up a concert residency, which allowed longtime fans and newcomers alike to enjoy her music for the first time.

By most accounts, Kate Bush is an undisputed legend of music, especially having paved the way for other women singers and songwriters topping the charts in subsequent years. ‘Wuthering Heights’ didn’t just kick off Kate Bush’s career—it also made history in the UK for women in the music industry. 

If you want to take a listen to the song that attracted so much attention and got the ball rolling for women to top the charts in a whole new way, you can listen below.