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"Cloudbusting" is a song that was written, produced and performed by the British singer Kate Bush. It was the second single released from her no.1 1985 album Hounds of Love. "Cloudbusting" peaked at no.20 in the UK Singles Chart.
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 pointing at the sky a machine designed and built by Reich, called a cloudbuster. The lyric further describes Wilhelm 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.
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. 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."
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. Bush found out what hotel Sutherland was staying from actress Julie Christie's hairdresser and went to his room to personally ask him to participate in the project. 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," either as an anagram of "orgone" or as a confusion between Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon.
The Cloudbusting machine in the video was designed and constructed by people that worked on the Alien creature 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. In a reference to the source material of the song, Bush pulls a copy of Peter Reich's "A Book of Dreams" out of Sutherland's coat.
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 #4 on the UK pop charts and #8 when re-mixed and re-released in 2008 (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 actSwimmer 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.
Irish singer Gemma Hayes released a free download of a live version of the track on her website as a gift to fans for Christmas 2009.
The song has also been covered by Brooklyn, New York indie rock group Anthem In.
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 Meterological Mix", a title used in the UK for 12" version of Bush's later single "The Big Sky".
- 7" single (UK)
- 12" single (UK)
|1.||"Cloudbusting (The Organon Re-mix)"||6:34|
|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 "Meterological Mix")||6:31|
|Dutch Single Top 100||13|
|Irish Singles Chart||13|
|UK Singles Chart||20|
|German Singles Chart||20|