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(Credit: Mercury)


Remembering Kate Bush's delightful advert on 1970s Japanese TV


Following the rising success of early albums The Kick Inside and Lionheart, Kate Bush took her popularity international with a series of charming appearances in Japan in 1978 that have aged pretty hilariously.

Japan offered a refuge for artists in the pre-social media age. To one extent, it allowed them to reach a far wider audience of passionately competitive creatives and, on the other, it was a chance to cash in on commercial opportunities without losing too much face. The adverts, as Bill Murray wonderfully exhibits in his Lost in Translation role, would be screened on Japanese TV and rarely make their way across the globe.

One such artist to make the trip to the land of the Rising Sun and cash-in was none other than Kate Bush. The singer would take her song ‘Moving’ and add it to an advert for Seiko watches. It would become a cult smash.

As Flashbak points out, Bush was performing the track at the seventh annual international Tokyo Music Festival inside the Nippon Budokan arena when the ‘Hounds of Love’ became an overnight sensation.

Bush’s performance was screened through Japanese television on June 21, 1978, and was broadcast as an estimated 35 million watched on—it secured her cult status and saw Bush instantly gain fame in the country where her off-beat show would be appreciated.

The track, written by Bush and produced by Andrew Powell, is considered a tribute to Lindsay Kemp, her mime teacher of the time. Kemp was an integral member of Bush’s team and can be widely attributed with offering up her unique performance style. ‘Moving’ has a little more nuanced, opening up with a whale song sampled from Songs of the Humpback Whale, an LP. It encapsulates an artist who was not afraid to push the envelope.

The song became an extremely rare 7″ vinyl due to the fact it was only ever released in Japan as part of a well-crafted marketing campaign involving a commercial for Seiko watches. It meant that the song’s desirability only grew alongside Bush’s. There were two pressings made in limited numbers but, where the song truly found fame – and intrigue looking back – was during its use in the Seiko watch adverts.

EMI commissioned these releases in relation with the Seiko advert, limited to 25 copies and features a large photo of Bush sitting on a motorcycle. A second version, which can be seen in some of the images included below, was limited to 200 copies.

While the vinyl will remain a coveted piece of memorabilia for some lucky Kate Bush fans, the Seiko advert can be enjoyed by all of us, thanks to YouTube.

Below you can find the full advert, as well as some imagery from the time, as we reflect on yet another gem from Japanese TV.

(Credit: Flashbak)
(Credit: Flashbak)
(Credit: Flashbak)
(Credit: Bate Bush Encyclopedia)
(Credit: Flashbak)
(Credit: Bate Bush Encyclopedia)