Lionheart (Kate Bush album)

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Kate Bush Lionheart.jpg
Studio album by Kate Bush
Released 12 November 1978[1]
Recorded 7 July – September 1978
Studio Super Bear Studios
Berre-les-Alpes, France
Genre Art rock, baroque pop
Length 36:32
Label EMI (UK)
EMI America (USA)
Harvest (Canada)
Producer Andrew Powell
assisted by Kate Bush
Kate Bush chronology
The Kick Inside
(1978)The Kick Inside1978
Never for Ever
(1980)Never for Ever1980
Singles from Lionheart
  1. "Hammer Horror"
    Released: 27 October 1978
  2. "Wow"
    Released: 9 March 1979
  3. "Symphony in Blue"
    Released: 1 June 1979

Lionheart is the second studio album by the English singer-songwriter Kate Bush. It was released in November 1978, just nine months after Bush's successful debut album The Kick Inside. Lionheart reached no. 6 on the UK Albums Chart (her only album not to make the top 5) and has been certified Platinum by the BPI.

The first single taken from the album, "Hammer Horror", missed the UK Top 40. However, the follow-up single, "Wow", was released on the back of Bush's UK tour and became a UK Top 20 hit.



Following the success of her debut album, Kate Bush's record company EMI were eager to get another out. Bush had composed many songs throughout her teens (she was at this time 20 years old) and the majority of the tracks used for Lionheart were compositions from before her debut. Bush, however, was unhappy with the short length of time she had in which to produce the album. Recorded entirely at Super Bear Studios in Berre-les-Alpes on the French Riviera, this was to be her only album recorded outside the UK. Of the ten tracks, only "Symphony in Blue", "Fullhouse" and "Coffee Homeground" were newly composed songs, although the other songs had been reworked by Bush in preparation for the recording. The album was produced, like her first, by Andrew Powell, with Bush feeling that she was at this stage too inexperienced to produce it herself (she would go on to produce all her following albums). Since the album's release, Bush has many times said that she was unhappy with this album because of the restrictions imposed on it. In a 1989 interview she remarked: "Considering how quickly we made it it's a bloody good album, but I'm not really happy with it".

Literary references include J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan in "In Search of Peter Pan" (a song which also quotes "When You Wish Upon a Star" from the classic Disney film Pinocchio), as well as a nod towards Arsenic and Old Lace in the song "Coffee Homeground", which despite being similar in plot to the play, was inspired by a taxi driver who drove Bush once. Film references include "Hammer Horror", while although taking its name from the Hammer Film studios, is actually about a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The British television show The Sweeney, a popular police drama from the 1970s, was mentioned in the lyrics of the song "Wow", which is a song about a homosexual actor. Touching on the same subject, "Kashka from Baghdad" is about a male couple who are forced to keep their relationship secret.

Lionheart was the first Kate Bush album to feature Del Palmer, who played bass. Palmer went on to play bass, or to engineer and record on every subsequent Kate Bush album up to and including 50 Words for Snow (2011). He and Bush also had a long-term relationship between the late 1970s and early 1990s.[2][3]


The album was released in November 1978, the title being taken from side one's closing track "Oh England My Lionheart". The front cover shot depicts Bush in an attic wearing a lion outfit, which she described as being "slightly comical". The photographer was Gered Mankowitz. The lead single chosen was "Hammer Horror", which peaked at a low 44 in the UK (although fared better in many other countries). The album however performed well in the UK, peaking at No. 6. It remained on the chart well into 1979, its promotion being continued by the second single and Bush's UK tour. In total it spent 36 weeks on the chart and was certified Platinum by the BPI for sales of over 300,000, making it one of Bush's better-selling albums.[4] The second single from the album was "Wow", which was released in early 1979. This fared better than the first, peaking at No. 14 in the UK and performing well in many other countries also. In some territories, "Symphony in Blue" was released instead. Around this time, Bush embarked on her first tour, which featured a number of songs from Lionheart - one of these ("Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake") was included on the On Stage EP in September 1979.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[5]
NME (1978) negative
Record Mirror 2.5/5 stars

Reception to the album was average, with the album almost universally being looked upon as an inferior version of her debut. NME's Ian Penman wrote: "'Mature' lyrics sung in that twee irritating schoolgirl-siren voice [...] Actually most of the time she's nearer a vague British lineage - Barbara Dickson to Lynsey de Paul - than a Joni/Janis wonderland".[6] Record Mirror was not convinced and wrote about the performance between the musicians: "The feel is often bland and soulless". Reviewer Chris Westwood concluded: "A product which is at best moderate, lacking and often severely irritating... This is flat conceived silliness."[7]

Contemporary reviews however were more favourable, with the American magazine Trouser Press rating it well, in particular the songs "Symphony in Blue", "In the Warm Room" and "Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake".[8] AllMusic said that the album lacked substance, while acknowledging that Bush was capable of much better work.[5] In a Guardian poll of Bush's best albums, Lionheart placed lowly with just 2% of the vote.[9] While Bush herself has said that she was unhappy with the finished album, she has mentioned satisfaction with the track "Wow".[citation needed]

In the US, the album was initially unreleased following the failure of her debut. As Bush gained a cult following over the coming years however, Lionheart was belatedly released in 1984 following the entry into the charts of her fourth album The Dreaming.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Kate Bush, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Symphony in Blue" 3:35
2. "In Search of Peter Pan" (Includes an excerpt of "When You Wish upon a Star" (Leigh Harline, Ned Washington)) 3:46
3. "Wow" 3:58
4. "Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake" 3:12
5. "Oh England My Lionheart" 3:10
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Fullhouse" 3:14
7. "In the Warm Room" 3:35
8. "Kashka from Baghdad" 3:55
9. "Coffee Homeground" 3:38
10. "Hammer Horror" 4:39




  1. ^
  2. ^ "The Independent: Kate Bush: The Return of the recluse". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 October 2005. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  3. ^ " People: Kate Bush". Archived from the original on 20 January 2005. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Kate Bush | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  5. ^ a b DeGagne, Mike. Lionheart at AllMusic
  6. ^ Penman, Ian (25 November 1978). "A Bird and her Bush - Lionheart album review". New Musical Express. p. 53. 
  7. ^ Westwood, Chris (25 November 1978). "Lionheart album review". Record Mirror. p. 53. 
  8. ^ Kate Bush - Lionheart review, Trouser press, July 1979 
  9. ^ "Poll: Which is the greatest Kate Bush album?". the Guardian. 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  11. ^ " Kate Bush - Lionheart". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  12. ^ "Album Search: Kate Bush" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  13. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  14. ^ " - Kate Bush - Lionheart". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  15. ^ " Kate Bush - Lionheart". Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  16. ^ " Kate Bush - Lionheart". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  17. ^ "Chart Stats - Kate Bush - Lionheart". UK Albums Chart. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  18. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kate Bush – Lionheart". Music Canada. 
  19. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Kate Bush – Lionheart" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  20. ^ "British album certifications – Kate Bush – Lionheart". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Lionheart in the search field and then press Enter.
  21. ^ "American album certifications – Kate Bush – Lionheart". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  22. ^
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