Meaning of “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush

“Wuthering Heights” is a song based on a book of the same name which Kate Bush was introduced to in her late teens. She has taken on the role of one of the characters by the name of Catherine Earnshaw, i.e. “Cathy” in the track. And as can be deduced from the lyrics, her romantic interest goes by the name of “Heathcliff”.

Without going too much into the specifics of the book, Cathy is actually a ghost who longs for her former lover, Heathcliff. So the song serves primarily to relay this sentiment, though not overtly by mentioning her status. However, there are clues scattered throughout, especially if someone is already familiar with the plot of the story. For instance, Cathy desires to “grab (his) soul away”. This is definitely not something someone would say in a conventional romantic context.

So striped down to its most-basic elements, this is a song about a ghost who is in love with a living man.

Lyrics of "Wuthering Height"

Facts about “Wuthering Heights”

  • Kate Bush did the writing of “Wuthering Heights” all by herself. With regards to the song’s production, it was handled by English record producer, Andrew Powell.
  • “Wuthering Heights” holds the distinction of being the maiden single of Kate’s very successful musical career.
  • As aforementioned, this song is based on the classic Emily Bronte’s novel of 1847, which has the same title as this track.
  • The song came out officially in January 1978 from her debut album (The Kick Inside).
  • The video for “Wuthering Heights” came out in 1978 and it comes in two versions. The first version was directed by Keith “Keef” MacMillan, whereas Rockflix helmed the second version.
  • Samples of this tune can be heard in a variety of songs, including the 2011 track, “Free”, performed by English artist, Natalia Kills.
  • The 1995 song, “Bad Dreams” by DJ Isaac contains samples of “Wuthering Heights”. Hip-Hop artist, Er Costa sampled the tune in his 2014 track, titled, “Come Cazzo Me Pare”.
  • Various cover versions of the tune have been dropped by a host of artists. Some of them include veteran American singer, Pat Benatar (in 1980), rock band, White Flag (in 1992), and legendary Wales singer, Dave Edmunds (in 2015).

“Wuthering Heights” on the Charts

“Wuthering Heights” proved to be one of Kate Bush’s biggest hits. It not only topped the British singles charts, but it also reached number 1 in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Italy
  • New Zealand
  • Ireland

It was equally successful in the Netherlands and Belgium, where it ranked at No.6 and No.3 respectively.

9 Responses

  1. James May says:

    Never heard the song before until an ad for a duck mask on Facebook Market came up. Now I can’t stop listening to it. I love the song. It will forever be in my collection of favorite music. Great job Kate Bush!! You have my attention and a big thumbs up!!

    James May from Nebraska USA

    • Steve says:

      Living under a rock or what

      • Aus_Roh says:

        There’s people of all ages.

        For myself, when I was a kid in ’78, the local TV station played the red-dress video clip relentlessly as an afternoon filler. From then, it went over my head for years. It’s just tonight I’ve discovered the second phrase is not “in divorce” but is “windy moors”. It was only a few years ago I learnt the “singer” is a ghost.

  2. Mr Hoo says:

    If you look closely at the video,
    You will notice that she is not much older than a high school leaver- hence the mystery of superstar talent for such teenage years.

  3. Nabanit Baruah says:

    It is sensational……the way she presented the song in her video wearing a red gown that too in her teens really amazing talent.
    I love you Kate

  4. A Great Fan in America says:

    This song has been breaking my heart for 44 years.

  5. sian says:

    Great song, as timeless as the story.

  6. Donna Ashbrook says:

    The whole experience of Wuthering Heights is hauntingly beautiful, from the highest , repetitive notes on the piano to her fragile, pleading voice. It captures the atmosphere of the book, love and loss, passion and possession along with death, in the gothic setting of the bleak house up on the wily, windy moors. I’ve been there and it’s awesome.

  7. Sorrel says:

    It’s a very complex song melodically as well. No every vocalists can sing it.. Definitely not an easy one for karaoke! All around, what an amazingly talented teenager to compose and sing such an imaginative song.

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