Friday, January 09, 2009

Terror Made Me Cruel

Kate Bush at the age of 19 wrote the stunning song “Wuthering Heights” based on Emily Brontë’s only novel. The song broke into the number one spot on worldwide charts but only managed to reach the top 100s in the US market in 1978. Two years later, Pat Benatar covered the song on her second album “Crimes of Passion” but unfortunately the song was lost among her chart hits “Hell is For Children” and “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”. Admittedly, I heard Pat Benatar’s version first as a child but upon discovering Miss Kate in high school, I have been since enthralled by her beautiful voice and her lyrical story telling. The original version is theatrically delivered and, by clever lyrical devices, it aptly portrays the feelings of Brontë’s main theme of the novel -- the devolution of falling in love -- losing love, anger, hatred and so on.

The song has all the right stuff to lure in musicians. And it has been covered, again and again. Nobody that I have heard has captured the essence, some covers seem to be an exercise or attempt to cover it as something really challenging and some simply reduce it to sentimental caricature. I thought I’d share some random versions as well link you to the original [here] just in case you have managed to not hear this incredible song after all these years.

An a capella version by The Sweptaways [mp3]
(Hybrism, 2006)

One of the more lovely versions by Josh Pyke (recorded version/unofficial video)

Schmaltz-core version by The Puppini Sisters (live version/unofficial video)

The ubiquitous Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (recorded version/official video)

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