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Revisit a rare Kate Bush live performance of 'Hounds of Love' from 1986


We’re digging into the Far Out vault to bring you a very rare thing indeed, a live Kate Bush performance of her iconic song ‘Hound of Love’ at the BPI Awards in 1986. It’s an astounding performance.

Released in 1985, ‘Hounds of Love’, the titular track from her simply perfect album, has gone on to typify an artist who lived on the very cutting edge. Kate Bush has always been one of Britain’s favourite artists, which makes it even more unbelievable she didn’t win a single award at the event.

The BPI Awards, which later became the BRITs, had nominated Bush’s album Hounds of Love as best British album in 1986. It was a welcomed nomination and came along with an invitation to perform too. This is where things could have got tricky.

Bush, one of the leading lights of the British music scene, has only really toured twice in her career and one of them was a residency in London. It makes every live performance she ever conducted feel like gold dust.

The singer experienced an almost non-existent touring life after her 1979 dates ‘The Tour Of Life’, which saw Bush travel to 28 different shows across Europe. Her show became famed for its meticulous use of performance art and visuals as well as Bush’s vocal gymnastics. It took a lot out of the young artist.

It would take 35 years for Bush to go on another run of shows, this time at her 22-night London residency with ‘Before The Dawn’. It meant that on the few occasions Bush did perform, even for one song, it was big news. It makes this performance of ‘Hounds of Love’ all the more special.

Bush delivers a stunning rendition of the track, using her famous command of movement and theatricality to make the song’s point and allow her audience to watch on with glee. There is a slight contentious point we should address though—is it actually a live performance?

Though the growls and extra breaths on the vocal would lead us to believe that it is a live performance, the speed at which Bush is spun in the final moments of the track, and the fact she doesn’t miss a note during it, has led many to think this is a mimed performance.

If you put that to the side for one minute and instead focus not only on the performance in front of you but the song at hand, soon enough the debate feels a little fruitless. Sadly, Bush didn’t win an award that evening, losing out inexplicably to Phil Collins. But she certainly left a mark on proceedings.

While the debate will rage on whether this is truly an authentic live performance and not a taped live vocal, we think it’s best to sit back and enjoy the enigmatic Kate Bush singing one of her most cherished songs.