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Kate Bush: Under the Ivy Hardcover – August 1, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

  • "The best music biography in perhaps the past decade... absorbing, painstakingly researched and downright fascinating ... A magnificent read..." - Irish Times
  • "Thomson's book sheds a light on the women behind the inspiration of many a modern-day chanteuse" - NME
  • "[An] excellent biography.... expertly unravelling her contradictions and motivations. In addition to his faultless research... Thomson's prose is often as rich and as eloquent as Bush's own writing" - Record Collector
  • "An excellent bio" - The Quietus
  • "Thorough, thoughtful" - Pitchfork
  • "A thoughtful and rewarding book..." - Classic Rock


"...an exhaustive and engaging account of Bush's career." - Metro "Thomson's book sheds a light on the woman behind the inspiration of many a modern-day chanteuse." - NME "Thomson's descriptive language is gorgeous." - The Word "[A] compelling examination of her music" - Mojo

About the Author

Graeme Thomson is the author of biographies of Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello and a regular contributor to The Guardian, Observer, the New Statesman, The Word and The Herald.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press; First Edition edition (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847729304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847729309
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,861,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Informative and engaging in equal measure, Graeme Thomson's new book "Kate Bush: Under the Ivy" (as Amazon sometimes lists it; the title page itself reads "Under the Ivy: The Life & Music of Kate Bush) breaks from the pack of inferior Bush bios and lays claim to being the cream of the crop. While it cannot boast of any "authorized" status or any direct credited input from Bush family members, "Under the Ivy" does pack in a commendable level of firsthand detail from music business insiders who have worked with Kate Bush and many of her close musical partners. Extremely well researched and eminently readable, this fine biography explores not only Kate's life in absorbing precision but also offers informed and erudite critical analysis of her complex music and film work. Thomson is a sympathetic and passionate observer but never fawning and not hesitant to criticize where he believes criticism is merited. He connects many of the dots that bind Kate's work within larger contexts and explores the background motivations to some of her best (and also less successful) efforts. Rational subjective analysis of Kate Bush's unique songs and their corresponding video interpretations is in short supply, and this book does a great service in addressing a serious flaw in previous biographies.

The reader gains a wider appreciation of the many influences that molded Kate's musical and philosophical perspectives and how she fits in among the pantheon of British musical geniuses (yes, she is demonstrably a genius, as Thomson makes clear, although he convincingly argues that she is better regarded as residing within a literary tradition rather than the contemporary pop-star celebrity machine).
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Format: Hardcover
Having enjoyed Graeme's past work ,incl. bios of Elvis Costello 'n Willie Nelson, I came to this book primarily as a fan of his writing. Beyond her hit singles I didn't really know Kate Bush's work. That's all changed now as this very readable and informative book has me getting her albums and finding out what I've missed. Graeme has a beguiling habit of mixing opinion and narration to persuasive effect. Not afraid to indicate what he believes to be Kate's weaker work he artfully contexualises same to make it as valid as his unreserved acclaim for most of her work. Neat turns of phrases abound - a'Whiplash/ Havisham'line is especially apt - and the reader leaves this book both informed about a truly fascinating person and satisfied by a piece of well formed literature.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is easily the most comprehensive bio written about Kate Bush so far, and unlike the others (which have been content to rehash the same old information that's been floating around for decades), "Under The Ivy" boasts new interviews from those who've worked with her over the years. The interviews are key, because they are the one true insight that makes this book more than a listing of facts we all already know. They provide a bit of emotional background, amusing anecdotes and insight for what would otherwise be very dry text.

The one thing missing, of course, is any participation from Kate Bush (or any of her immediate and current camp). And that is a rather giant gap to fill, since you'd really like to be reading her own emotional reaction to events that befall her. Thomson has dug up some great quotes from Kate that I'd never seen before, but the book still remains a little dry and ponderous for lack of her involvement.

Another small complaint I have is that Thomson disses several great tracks (even saying "Ran Tan Waltz" is a dead ringer for "Army Dreamers," the single for "The Big Sky" probably didn't do well because of the Chernobyl tragedy, and "You're The One" is "a thudding, ponderous rock ballad with an artless heart-on-sleeve lyric...[it's] stodgy...banal...clumsy and clunky"). What?!?! :) Thomson's opinions are usually restrained, but some are as wrong-headed as any snarky review from the NME.

Still, "Under The Ivy" is a very dense, fact-filled read and there are bound to be some gaffes. And having read many of her bios, the truth of it is that I can't imagine there being a better one on the subject until Kate "turns to her computer" herself.
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Format: Hardcover
Far and away the best Kate bio out there, and as she'll never agree to an authorised one, this is a close as we'll get, with Thomson talking to a lot of important 'Kate' people (Charlie Morgan, Stewart Avon-arnold) who don't usually get a look in. Great to see a book that's not afraid to be critical, but it's no hatchet job - Thomson genuinely loves Bush's music and isn't afraid to point out how much the rampant 'boy's club' attitude of the English music press made her first a joke and then an idol. (She's neither...just a brilliant musician.)Don't bother with any of the other biographies (well, the Paul Kerton one from 79 is pretty awesome for nostalgia value.)This is the one to read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Forget all those other so-called "Bush bios" out there on the market ... This is the one to look for and purchase, if you're SERIOUS about Kate and the genius talents she possess in her songcraft and delivery!! Graeme Thomson has clearly outdone himself on this one, folks ... Trust me! Buy it! Read it! Know it! This is the one to have ...

Great job, Graeme!!!
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