"Cloudbusting" is a song written, produced and performed by English singer Kate Bush.[4] It was released as a single in October 1985, and was the second single released from her fifth studio album Hounds of Love (1985). "Cloudbusting" peaked at No. 20 on the UK Singles Chart.

Single by Kate Bush
from the album Hounds of Love
Released14 October 1985 (1985-10-14)[1]
  • 5:06 (song)
  • 6:59 (video)
Songwriter(s)Kate Bush
Producer(s)Kate Bush
Kate Bush singles chronology
"Running Up That Hill"
"Hounds of Love"
Music video
"Cloudbusting" on YouTube
Audio sample

Taking inspiration from the 1973 Peter Reich memoir A Book of Dreams,[5] which Bush read and found deeply moving,[6] the song is about the very close relationship between psychiatrist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich and his young son, Peter, told from the point of view of the mature Peter. It describes the boy's memories of his life with Reich on their family farm, called Orgonon, where the two spent time "cloudbusting", a rain-making process which involved using a machine designed and built by Reich – a machine called a cloudbuster – to point at the sky. The lyrics further describes the elder Reich's abrupt arrest and imprisonment, the pain of loss the young Peter felt, and his helplessness at being unable to protect his father.

In a retrospective review of the single, AllMusic journalist Amy Hanson praised the song for its "magnificence" and "hypnotic mantric effects". Hanson wrote: "Safety and danger are threaded through the song, via both a thoughtful lyric and a compulsive cello-driven melody.[7] Even more startling, but hardly surprising, is the ease with which Bush was able to capture the moment when a child first realizes that adults are fallible."[8]

In 2014, the song was performed live for the first time and was also chosen as the closing encore track in Bush's 2014 live residency, Before the Dawn.[9]

Music video


The music video, directed by Julian Doyle, was conceived by Terry Gilliam and Kate Bush as a short film. The video features Canadian actor Donald Sutherland playing the role of Wilhelm Reich, and Bush in the role of his young son, Peter. The video shows the two on the top of a hill trying to make the cloudbuster work. Reich leaves Peter on the machine and returns to his lab. In flashback, he remembers several times he and Peter enjoyed together as Reich worked on various scientific projects, until he is interrupted by government officials who arrest him and ransack the lab. Peter senses his father's danger and tries to reach him, but is forced to watch helplessly as his father is driven away. Peter finally runs back to the cloudbuster and activates it successfully, to the delight of his father who sees it starting to rain.

Filming took place at the Vale of White Horse in Oxfordshire, England. From the eminence on which the machine is positioned can be glimpsed the bald chalk top of Dragon Hill, immediately below the Uffington White Horse, a prehistoric hill carving which can be seen briefly in a couple of the shots.[10] Bush found out in which hotel Sutherland was staying from actress Julie Christie's hairdresser and went to his room to personally ask him to participate in the project.[11] In the UK, the music video was shown at some cinemas as an accompaniment to the main feature. Due to difficulties on obtaining a work visa for Sutherland at short notice, the actor offered to work on the video for free. Although the events depicted in the story took place in Maine, the newspaper clipping in the music video reads The Oregon Times, likely a reference to Reich's home and laboratory "Orgonon".[12]

The Cloudbusting machine in the video was designed and constructed by people who worked on the Xenomorph[13][14] and bears only a superficial resemblance to the real cloudbusters, which were smaller and with multiple narrow, straight tubes and pipes, and were operated while standing on the ground.[15] In a reference to the source material of the song, Bush pulls a copy of Peter Reich's A Book of Dreams from Sutherland's coat.[6]

The full-length video features a longer version of the song, which is different from the Organon Mix released on 12-inch vinyl. This version was commercially available on "The Red Shoes" single.

Around the time of the release Bush sent Peter Reich a VHS copy of the music video. Reich was immediately a fan. He later told Dazed magazine "Quite magically, this British musician had tapped precisely into a unique and magical fulfilment of father-son devotion, emotion and understanding. They had captured it all."[16]



In 2020, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling chose the track as the first of ten songs on Ken Bruce's BBC Radio 2 show Tracks Of My Years, because it reminded her of her student years.[17]

Track listing


The B-side to the single was "Burning Bridge", in which a woman desperately pleads with her lover to step up his level of commitment to her. The 12" featured the additional track "My Lagan Love", a traditional Irish melody with lyrics by John Carder Bush, Kate Bush's brother. The 12" version of "Cloudbusting" was a special remix called "The Organon Re-Mix" in which the verses were downplayed and the main focus was the development of the song's chorus. In the US, this mix was issued as "The Meteorological Mix", a title used in the UK for 12" version of Bush's later single "The Big Sky".

7-inch single (UK)
2."Burning Bridge"4:38
12-inch single (UK)
1."Cloudbusting" (The Organon re-mix)6:34
2."Burning Bridge"4:38
3."My Lagan Love"2:31
CD single (US)
2."The Man with the Child in His Eyes"2:41
3."Sat in Your Lap"3:31
4."Cloudbusting" (Organon mix, listed as "Meteorological mix")6:31




Chart (1985) Peak
Belgian Top 30[18] 18
Dutch Top 40[19] 11
Europe (European Top 100 Singles)[20] 25
Irish Singles Chart[21] 13
UK Singles Chart[22] 20
West Germany (Media Control Charts)[23] 20
Chart (2019) Peak
UK Physical Singles (OCC)[24] 1
UK Vinyl Singles (OCC)[24] 1
UK Singles Singles (OCC)[24] 37
US Alternative Digital Song Sales[25] 22
Chart (2022) Peak
UK Singles Downloads (OCC)[26] 41

In Australia, "Cloudbusting" narrowly missed the Kent Music Report top 100 singles chart in January 1986.[27]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[28] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Cover versions


In 1992, Utah Saints sampled the song's line "I just know that something good is gonna happen" for their song "Something Good" as well as scenes from Bush's video for their video. It reached No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart[29] and No. 8 when re-mixed and re-released in 2008[29] (the latter of which used a different sample from another artist).

Irish musician Gemma Hayes covered "Cloudbusting" on her 2014 album Night & Day.

Canadian musician Matthew Good covered "Cloudbusting" on his 2015 album Chaotic Neutral. Good's cover version featured Holly McNarland on backing vocals.[30]


  1. ^ Smith, Robin (12 October 1985). "Index: Bush, Baby". Record Mirror. p. 6.
  2. ^ "Cloudbusting | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  3. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York: Vintage Books. p. 63. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  4. ^ "Cloudbusting". MUBI. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  5. ^ Thomson, Graeme (26 August 2014). ""This girl is very, very tough..." The untold story of Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love". Uncut. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Gaffaweb - Kate Bush - DREAMING - A. The Albums - Hounds Of Love - The Songs - "Cloudbusting" Pt. 2". gaffa.org.
  7. ^ "Community Weblog". MeFi Music. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Cloudbusting". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  9. ^ Young, Alex (26 August 2014). "Kate Bush's first concert in 35 years: setlist + photos". Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  10. ^ McNulty, Bernadette (27 July 2014). "Kate Bush's Cloudbusting video: 7 minutes of heaven". The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  11. ^ Donald Sutherland Interview by Suicide Girls 7 May 2006
  12. ^ VanDevender, Steve. "Love-Hounds Digest #8.38". Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  13. ^ Wieland Willker (September 1995 – June 1996). "* * DREAMING * * A 'Best of' Love-Hounds Collection Hounds Of Love The Songs "Cloudbusting" Pt. 2". Retrieved 8 September 2011. worked with some designers that worked on the Alien
  14. ^ "HR Giger and the Cloudbuster". 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2011. HR Giger designed the cloudbuster. ... one of those fan myths
  15. ^ "The Energy Question and the Order of Time - the Paradigm for the New World Order - 4 - An invention: thinking with one's hands". www.theorderoftime.com.
  16. ^ Dazed (30 October 2015). "The story behind Kate Bush's Cloudbusting video". Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  17. ^ "J. K. Rowling chooses the Tracks of My Years". BBC. Archived from the original on 23 June 2022. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  18. ^ "De Radio 2 Top 30". Radio 2. Archived from the original on 17 May 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  19. ^ "Dutch Top 40". Top 40. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  20. ^ "European Top 100 Singles" (PDF). Eurotipsheet. 2 (48). 2 December 1985. Retrieved 5 October 2023.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know > Search results for 'Cloudbusting'". Fireball Media. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  22. ^ "Official Charts > Kate Bush". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  23. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Kate Bush - Cloudbusting (single)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  24. ^ a b c "CLOUDBUSTING". Official Charts. 26 October 1985. Retrieved 11 May 2024.
  25. ^ "Kate Bush Chart History (Alternative Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  26. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  27. ^ "Kent Music Report No 601 - 20 January 1986 > National Top 100 Singles > Singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  28. ^ "British single certifications – Kate Bush – Cloudbusting". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  29. ^ a b "Official Charts > Utah Saints". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  30. ^ "MATTHEW GOOD". MATTHEW GOOD. Retrieved 3 March 2023.