The Dreaming (album)
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The Dreaming Album

The Dreaming
Kate Bush The Dreaming Cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released13 September 1982
RecordedSeptember 1980 - May 1982
StudioAbbey Road Studios and Townhouse Studios
LabelEMI (UK)
EMI America (USA & Canada)
ProducerKate Bush
Kate Bush chronology
Never for Ever
The Dreaming
Hounds of Love
Singles from The Dreaming
  1. "Sat in Your Lap"
    Released: 21 June 1981
  2. "The Dreaming"
    Released: 26 July 1982
  3. "There Goes a Tenner"
    Released: 2 November 1982
  4. "Suspended in Gaffa"
    Released: 2 November 1982
  5. "Night of the Swallow"
    Released: 21 November 1983

The Dreaming is the fourth studio album by the English singer Kate Bush, released in 1982 via EMI Records. Recorded over two years, the album was produced entirely by Bush and is often characterized as her most uncommercial and experimental release. The Dreaming peaked at no. 3 on the UK album chart and has been certified Silver by the BPI, but initially sold less than its predecessors and was met with mixed critical reception. Five singles from the album were released, including the UK no. 11 "Sat in Your Lap" and the title track.

The critical standing of the album has improved significantly in the recent decades.[5]Slant Magazine listed the album at #71 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[6] It is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die',[7] the Mojo "Top 50 Eccentric Albums of All Time" list[8] and The Word magazine's "Great Underrated Albums of Our Time" list.[9] Musicians such as Björk and Big Boi have cited The Dreaming as one of their favourite albums.[10][11]

Recording and composition

Bush's third album Never for Ever had been a co-production between her and Jon Kelly. For her fourth album, she elected to produce the work entirely herself. With her newfound freedom, Bush experimented with production techniques, employing a diverse blend of musical styles. She made extensive use of the Fairlight CMI digital sampling synthesizer, which she had first used on Never for Ever. She also collaborated with a variety of engineers, including Nick Launay, who had previously worked with artists such as Public Image Ltd and Phil Collins.[5] Recording began around the release of Never for Ever, with the first demo for "Sat in Your Lap" being laid down in September 1980, inspired after Bush attended a Stevie Wonder concert.

According to critic Simon Reynolds, "armed with the Fairlight and other state-of-the-art machines, Bush pushed her existing maximalist tendencies to the brink of overload."[12] In June 1981, the first single was released, "Sat in Your Lap", which peaked at No.11 in the UK, but the rest of the album was slow to develop, with Bush saying she suffered from writer's block.[5] Over the summer of 1981, Bush worked on the album in Abbey Road Studios and Odyssey Studios as well as working with Irish bands Planxty and The Chieftains in Dublin.[13] After long days in the studio, Bush decided to take a break from the album in the latter part of 1981 and resumed work in the early months of 1982 - laying overdubs and other final touches throughout the period January to May 1982 in Advision Studios.

The Dreaming has been characterized as an experimental release.[14][5][15] The album employs folk instruments such as mandolins, uilleann pipes, and didgeridoos,[16] shifting time signatures and textures, polyrhythmic percussion, samples[5] and vocal loops.[17] Its songs draw inspiration from a variety of sources, including old crime films ("There Goes a Tenner"), a documentary about the war in Vietnam ("Pull Out the Pin"), the plight of Indigenous Australians ("The Dreaming"), the life of Houdini ("Houdini") and Stephen King's novel The Shining ("Get Out of My House"). Other tracks explore more personal issues; "Sat in Your Lap" examines feelings of existential frustration and the search for knowledge, while "Leave It Open" speaks of the need to acknowledge and express the darker sides of one's personality.[18][19]The Quietus suggested that "The Dreaming's disparate narratives frequently seem to be tropes for Bush's quest for artistic autonomy and the anxieties that accompany it."[5] Barry Walters of Pitchfork described its sound as more similar to experimental post-punk bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees and Public Image Ltd in comparison to her previous works.[20]

Release and commercial performance

The album was finally released in September 1982 following the second single, title track "The Dreaming". The single performed badly, peaking at a low 48, but the album fared better, peaking at No. 3 in the UK. It however only remained on the chart for 10 weeks, making this Bush's lowest-selling album, being certified just silver.[21][22]

"The main thing I heard was 'uncommercial'... the label that the press, the record company put on it. "But for an uncommercial record to go straight in at No.3 in the charts seems ironic to me."

-- Kate Bush (1984)[23]

In November the next (and final UK release) single, "There Goes a Tenner", was released in the UK. It failed to chart at all - Bush's only single not to enter the UK top 100.[21] In Europe, "Suspended in Gaffa" was released instead, which performed better chartwise. Belatedly, another single, "Night of the Swallow" was released in Ireland in November 1983.

Despite the album's relatively lacklustre sales elsewhere, The Dreaming was Bush's first album to dent the US Billboard Top 200, largely due to the growing influence of college radio. Following this, an EP was released in 1983, which also charted. In 1984, her second album Lionheart was belatedly released in the US.

With the lengthy and expensive studio time used to complete the album, EMI Records were concerned at the relatively low yield of the album. Following this, Bush decided to build her own studios where she could be free to spend as much time as she liked. Although her next album was another long-gestating project, it returned Bush to the top of the charts.

The album cover depicts a scene described in the lyrics to the song "Houdini". In the picture shown, Bush is acting as Harry Houdini's wife, holding a key in her mouth, which she is about to pass on to him. The photograph is rendered in sepia, with just the gold key and Bush's eye make-up showing any colour. The man with her on the cover photograph was her bass player, engineer and former long-time partner Del Palmer.


Initial response

Upon its release, The Dreaming met with a mixed critical reception. Many were baffled by the unconventional techniques and dense soundscapes Bush had employed.[5] Writing for Smash Hits, Neil Tennant described the album as "very weird. She's obviously trying to become less commercial."[5] Colin Irwin of Melody Maker wrote that "initially it is bewildering and not a little preposterous, but try to hang on through the twisted overkill and the historic fits and there's much reward." He labelled "Suspended in Gaffa" the only "vaguely conventional track" and predicted the album failing in the charts. American critic Robert Christgau wrote that "the revelation is the dense, demanding music," calling it "the most impressive Fripp/Gabriel-style art-rock album of the postpunk refulgence."[16] Jon Young of Trouser Press called it "a triumph of inventive songwriting and unpredictable performances" but warned that "its sensory overload will drive away the less than dedicated."[28]


In a later review AllMusic called it "a theatrical and abstract piece of work," as well as "a brilliant predecessor to the charming beauty of 1985's Hounds of Love."[17]The Quietus called it "a brave volte face from a mainstream artist" and "a startlingly modern record too," noting its "organic hybridization, the use of digital and analogue techniques, its use of modern wizadry to access atavistic states."[5] In 2014, critic Simon Reynolds called The Dreaming a "wholly unfettered mistress-piece" and "a delirious, head-spinning experience."[12] Bush herself has called The Dreaming her "I've gone mad album" and said it wasn't particularly commercial. On later revisiting the album she said she was surprised by the sound, saying that it was quite an angry record.[29]Uncut has said that it was a "multi-layered, polyrhythmic and wildly experimental album [and] remains a landmark work".[30]

In recent years, musicians such as Björk and Big Boi cited The Dreaming as one of their favourite albums of all time.[31][32]

Track listing

All tracks written by Kate Bush.

Side one
1."Sat in Your Lap"3:29
2."There Goes a Tenner"3:24
3."Pull Out the Pin"5:26
4."Suspended in Gaffa"3:54
5."Leave It Open"3:20
Side two
6."The Dreaming"4:41
7."Night of the Swallow"5:22
8."All the Love"4:29
10."Get Out of My House"5:25


  • Haydn Bendall - recording engineer
  • Hugh Padgham - engineer
  • Nick Launay - engineer
  • John Barrett - assistant engineer
  • George Chambers - assistant engineer
  • Nick Cook - assistant engineer
  • Danny Dawson - assistant engineer
  • Howard Gray - assistant engineer
  • Teri Reed - assistant engineer
  • David Taylor - assistant engineer, mixing assistant
  • Ian Cooper - cutting engineer
  • Pete Wooliscroft - digital editing


See also


  1. ^ Lindsay, Matthew (11 September 2012). "30 Years On: The Dreaming By Kate Bush". The Quietus. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ "CG: Kate bush". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ Grimstad, Paul. "What is Avant-Pop?". Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ Smith, Bradley (1998). The Billboard Guide to Progressive Music. Billboard Books. p. 55. ISBN 978-0823076659.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "30 Years On: The Dreaming By Kate Bush". The Quietus. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s | Feature". Slant Magazine. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ " Parker...1001 Albums". Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "Mojo - 100 greatest singles of all time". Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ " Parker...The Word Lists". Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise: My Favorite Records: Björk". The Rest Is Noise. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ Isenberg, Daniel (8 January 2013). "Kate Bush, The Dreaming (1982) - Big Boi's 25 Favorite Albums". Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ a b Reynolds, Simon. "Kate Bush, the queen of art-pop who defied her critics". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ "Gaffaweb - Kate Bush - THE GARDEN - A Chronology of Kate Bush's Career". Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ > (22 August 2014). "Kate Bush - Album By Album - Uncut". Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ Paul Simpson. "The Rough Guide to Cult Pop". Retrieved 2016.
  16. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (26 April 1983). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2011.
  17. ^ a b c Wilson, MacKenzie. "The Dreaming - Kate Bush". AllMusic. Retrieved 2005.
  18. ^ Bush, Kate. "Kate's KBC article Issue 12". KBC Newsletter. Retrieved 2007.
  19. ^ John P Lucas. "Kate Bush: 10 of the best". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ Walters, Barry (12 June 2016). "Kate Bush The Dreaming". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016.
  21. ^ a b "Kate Bush | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". 25 December 2014. Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ "Certified Awards LAtest News". Retrieved 2016.
  23. ^ BBC Radio 1: 'Saturday Live', 25 February 1984
  24. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  25. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Kate Bush". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 122-23. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  26. ^ Hepworth, David (16 September 1982). "Kate Bush: The Dreaming". Smash Hits. 4 (19): 25.
  27. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  28. ^ Young, Jon. "Kate Bush: The Dreaming review". Trouser Press.
  29. ^ "Gaffaweb - Kate Bush - REACHING OUT - Q - "Booze, Fags, Blokes And Me" - December 1993". 1 November 1993. Retrieved 2016.
  30. ^ "Kate Bush - Album By Album - Uncut". Uncut. 2014-08-22. Retrieved .
  31. ^ "Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise: My Favorite Records: Björk". The Rest Is Noise. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 2016.
  32. ^ Isenberg, Daniel (8 January 2013). "Kate Bush, The Dreaming (1982) - Big Boi's 25 Favorite Albums". Retrieved 2016.
  33. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  34. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 6941a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  35. ^ " Kate Bush - The Dreaming". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011.
  36. ^ " - Kate Bush - The Dreaming". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  37. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  38. ^ " - Kate Bush - The Dreaming". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  39. ^ " - Kate Bush - The Dreaming". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  40. ^ "Kate Bush | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  41. ^ "Kate Bush Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  42. ^ "Album Search: Kate Bush - The Dreaming" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2013.
  43. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1982 par InfoDisc" (in French). Archived from the original (PHP) on 29 December 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  44. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1982" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014.
  45. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  46. ^ "British album certifications - Kate Bush - The Dreaming". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type The Dreaming in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  47. ^ "American album certifications - Kate Bush - The Dreaming". Recording Industry Association of America.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.
  48. ^

External links

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