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"Cloudbusting" is a song written, produced and performed by British singer Kate Bush.[1] It was the second single released from her number one 1985 album Hounds of Love. "Cloudbusting" peaked at No. 20 in the UK Singles Chart.

Kate Bush - Cloudbusting.png
Single by Kate Bush
from the album Hounds of Love
  • "Burning Bridge"
  • "My Lagan Love"
  • "The Man With The Child In His Eyes"
  • "Sat In Your Lap"
Released14 October 1985 (UK)
Spring 1987 (US)
Format7" single / 12" single
GenreBaroque pop
Length5:06 (song)
6:59 (video)
LabelEMI- KB2
Songwriter(s)Kate Bush
Producer(s)Kate Bush
Kate Bush singles chronology
"Running Up that Hill"
"Hounds of Love"
Audio sample

Taking inspiration from the 1973 memoir A Book of Dreams,[2] the song is about the very close relationship between psychologist 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 lyric 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. The song was inspired by Peter Reich's 1973 memoir, A Book of Dreams, which Bush read and found deeply moving.[3]

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.[4] 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."[5]

In 2014, the song was performed live for the first time and was also chosen as the closing encore track in Bush's comeback live shows titled Before the Dawn, following her 35-year hiatus from the stage.

Music videoEdit

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. The hill on which the machine is positioned is Dragon Hill, immediately below the Uffington White Horse, a prehistoric hill carving which can be seen briefly in a couple of the shots.[6] 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.[7] 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".[8]

The Cloudbusting machine in the video was designed and constructed by people who worked on the Alien creature[9][10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

The full length video features a longer version of the song which is different from the Organon Mix released on 12 inch.

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."[13]

Cover versionsEdit

Utah Saints sampled the song's line "I just know that something good is going to happen" for their song "Something Good" (1992) as well as scenes from Bush's video for their video. It reached No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart[14] and No. 8 when re-mixed and re-released in 2008[14] (the latter of which used a different sample from another artist).

Italian metal band Novembre covered this song, as did as American rock band The Twilight Singers. American singer-songwriter Charlotte Martin covered this song in 2007 on her all-covers album Reproductions. Scottish pop act Swimmer One recorded an electro cover version of this song in 2005, released by Dogbox Records. UK punk band P.A.I.N. used a sample in their song Eastern Dub (Wilhelm Reich in Hell), without the permission of record label EMI.[15]

Neil Halstead covered the track for American Laundromat Records children's charity compilation Sing Me to Sleep - Indie Lullabies in 2010.

Irish singer Gemma Hayes covered the song in 2009, and performed it on her tours in 2011 and 2012.

Wild Nothing covered Cloudbusting in 2010.

In 2012, Geographer released a version of the song on their website.[16]

Neil Cicierega's 2014 album of mashups, Mouth Silence, features a mashup between "Cloudbusting" and Katy Perry's song "California Gurls", called "Orgonon Gurlz". Cicierega has publicly stated that "Cloudbusting" is one of his favorite songs, while "California Gurlz" is his least.

Canadian alternative rock singer-songwriter Matthew Good covered the song with Holly McNarland on his 2015 album Chaotic Neutral.

In late 2016, the UK dance act Just Us released an unofficial remix, "Everytime It Rains", on the audio hosting site SoundCloud. As Bush refused sample clearance for the remix, in February 2017, Just Us released a new version, "Cloudbusting", with rerecorded instrumentation and a soundalike vocalist.[17]

Track listingEdit

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 USA, 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" single (UK)

2."Burning Bridge"4:38

12" 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
Germany (Media Control Charts)[20] 20
Irish Singles Chart[21] 13
Poland (LP3)[22] 3
UK Singles Chart[23] 20

In Australia, "Cloudbusting" narrowly missed the Kent Music Report top 100 singles chart in January 1986.[24]


  1. ^ "Cloudbusting". MUBI. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Interview with Bush about inspiration for song
  4. ^ "Community Weblog". MeFi Music. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Cloudbusting". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Kate Bush's Cloudbusting video: 7 minutes of heaven". The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  7. ^ Donald Sutherland Interview by Suicide Girls 7 May 2006
  8. ^ VanDevender, Steve. "Love-Hounds Digest #8.38". Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ "HR Giger and the Cloudbuster". 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2011. HR Giger designed the cloudbuster. ... one of those fan myths
  11. ^ Image of actual cloudbuster
  12. ^ Book in Sutherland's jacket pocket.
  13. ^ Dazed (30 October 2015). "The story behind Kate Bush's Cloudbusting video". Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Official Charts > Utah Saints". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  15. ^ Brunner, Simon (December 2002). "Grow more Weed". Ox Fanzine. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
  16. ^ "We Covered Kate Bush - Cloudbusting". Ox Fanzine. 8 January 2012. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
  17. ^ "Kate Bush's 1985 Single 'Cloudbusting' Just Got a Major Update". 15 February 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Dutch Top 40". Top 40. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Kate Bush - Cloudbusting (single)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know > Search results for 'Cloudbusting'". Fireball Media. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  22. ^ "CLOUDBUSTING – Kate Bush" (in Polish). LP3. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  23. ^ "Official Charts > Kate Bush". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  24. ^ "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.

External linksEdit