Long before Madonna or Lady Gaga unleashed their distinct performance and vocal stylings on the world, British songstress Kate Bush was turning the music community on its ear with her unconventional ways and sounds.
The original show-woman released her debut song "Wuthering Heights" in 1978 at the tender age of 19 which was a massive hit in Europe, if not in the U.S. Still, the video, which featured Bush doing an interpretive dance in a flowing red dress, had special meaning for her fans and still does today.
Come July 16, those fans in the U.S. can pay special homage to Bush and possibly even set a world record in the process by donning a red dress and reenacting her most famous video as part of "The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever". Location is Candler Park in Atlanta, the city where event co-organizer Kim Manning lives — and all are invited.
"I just love how nerdy and awesome and weird it is — she's singing about the Emily Brontë novel, but not just loosely referencing the book, she's deep in the role of Catherine," explains Manning in an email interview. She discovered Bush's sound during her time as a college deejay in the 1990s. "Some people laugh at her because it all seems so outrageous, but I've always felt she was magical."
Manning decided to bring the event stateside after she saw a video of a 300-person reenactment in England. "When I saw it, I immediately felt inspired to organize something like that here," she says. "It's just so bizarre and ridiculous and fun."
Originally planned for July 30 (both Kate Bush's and Emily Bronte's birthday), Manning got wind of a number of other international reenactments in cities like Berlin, Uppsala, Montreal and Tel Aviv happening on July 16, so the event was moved to coincide with the international movement. People interested in joining in on the zaniness can keep tabs on it and R.S.V.P. via a specially established Facebook event page. The event starts at 10 a.m.
In keeping with Bush's free-spirited vibe, the reenactment can be as serious an experience as a person wants it to be. Attendees are encouraged, but certainly not required to sport a red frock, a la the original video.
Free choreography lessons will also be provided. "But we hope people will come out whether they know the choreography or not. We want to keep it as free and open as possible," Manning says.
Bush might not ever have racked up the monstrous sales success of Gaga or the Material Girl, but her numbers were hardly shabby. Her first album "The Kick Inside" was a huge success in the U.K., where it sold a million copies and peaked at No. 3 on the charts. Her debut single "Wuthering Heights" easily topped the singles list and was the first self-written song by a female artist to get to No. 1 in Britain.
Bush never truly took off in the U.S., but her rabid fans have always found her nonconformist approach appealing. "She's such a strong, playful, original voice, and her videos are wildly theatrical and bizarre," Manning says. "'Wuthering Heights' was one of the first videos I saw, and it just begs to be performed in front of your bedroom mirror."
Although a thousand people and a world record would be nice, Manning's goal for the event is far simpler: "Joy. I just want to see if we can do it, and to meet other people who think this is a beautiful idea."