Music Monday – Lionheart

I thought I’d kick my Music Monday’s off with one of the very first albums I bought brand new, Kate Bush’s Lionheart.

I fell madly in love with Kate when I first saw her on Top of the Pops, way back in 1978, I was only eight! From that moment on, her exotic voice was burned into my brain and when I started gathering music her records were a high priority.

Lionheart was the first to be added to my collection, on vinyl, on the Fame label, it was the 1984 reissue. It remains to this day one of my favourite albums and one that I often listen to (and dare I say, sing along to) whilst painting. I’ve also got it on CD now, twice!

The album displays everything that Kate is capable of. The beautiful Ballad, ‘Oh England My Lionheart’, whimsical and thought provoking. ‘Don’t Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake’ sees Kate’s voice full of power as she blasts out the chorus. And, of course, there’s the familiar ‘Wow’ that reached number 14 in the UK charts and shows just how controlling she can be within her voice’s range.

Talking of her voice, it’s amazingly versatile. Many credit her with being able to cover 4.5 octaves, putting her in contention for the leading lady with the widest range. It isn’t just range, though, and in ‘Coffee Homeground’ – a song about a poisoner – she characterises her voice with a delightful (German?) accent.

All tracks were written by Kate herself and again, we see a versatility and willingness to experiment. She can be serious and romantic – ‘Kashka from Baghdad’ and ‘The Warm Room’ – she can be rocky and punchy – ‘Don’t Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake’ and ‘Hammer Horror’ – and she also shows a sense of fun with the aforementioned ‘Coffee Homeground’.

The great thing about vinyl? You get larger pictures to look at!

The thing that really makes this album though, for me at least, is when you listen to it as a whole. The songs all come together and take you on a journey. The opening track, ‘Symphony in Blue’ is melancholy and a lovely opener. As the first side (we’re talking vinyl here, for all you youngsters you have to turn it over halfway through the album!) draws to a close you’ll have been put through the haunting opening of ‘Wow’, hit with the ‘Hearbrake’, and lulled back down gently by ‘Oh England,’ all ready for it to start again on side two.

One of my favourite Kate Bush songs…

‘Fullhouse’ hits you harder than ‘Symphony’ and the pace settles as we hit ‘In the Warm Room’ but then you get to smile as she puts on that accent for ‘Homeground’ and finishes with the triumph that is ‘Hammer Horror.’ It really is a complete album in terms of showing off what she can do, both vocally and lyrically.

The album is a gatefold, delightfully displaying all the lyrics.

Is it a great album? Probably not. She’s still finding herself – this was only her second album – and the fact that it does cover so much of what she’s capable of makes it a very ‘up and down’ album in terms of mood. It’s an album to listen to alone, to appreciate. When I listen to it whilst painting I find I tune out of some of the songs when I’m concentrating – I can’t do that to a truly great album because I’m either singing along, ‘air drumming’, or emotionally connected – but the next minute I’m curdling the milk with my rendition of ‘Wow’, ‘Heartbrake’, or ‘Hammer Horror’. I’m okay with that because, and this is between me and you, I’m still just that little bit in love with Kate Bush!

Lionheart

Released 1978

Track Listing

  1. Symphony In Blue
  2. In Search of Peter Pan
  3. Wow
  4. Don’t Push Your Foot On The Heartbrake
  5. Oh England MY Lionheart
  6. Fullhouse
  7. In The Warm Room
  8. Kashka From Baghdad
  9. Coffee Homeground
  10. Hammer Horror

My version: Fame – FA 41 30941 released April 1984. This version on Discogs has a low of £3.49, a median of £6.40, and a high of £32.40. It’s a gatefold 12inch Vinyl album featuring the lyrics on the inside of the gatefold.

7 thoughts on “Music Monday – Lionheart

  1. Enjoyed reading this! 🙂 I must admit to not being a Kate Bush fan despite my age unfortunately!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, John.

      That’s the beauty of music, though, isn’t it? Everyone has their own tastes, which makes it all so much more interesting to talk about.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Remember listening to Kate Bush in the 70’s wouldn’t say i was a huge fan, but she certainly had a great range to her voice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Each to their own when it comes to music, Dave, and I’m glad you can appreciate her even if you’re not a fan 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun fact: This album came out a year before I was born 😀 I had never heard of her until Stranger Things made her popular recently. I’ve never watched Stranger Things (not my cup of tea) but that’s how much attention “Running up that hill” got from the show here in the States anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Youngster! 😅

      Stranger Things certainly revamped interest in her, giving her her second number one over here, 44 years late!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Can’t help it if I’m one of the yuf, bruv! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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