Matthew Sweet Conjures An Intimate Kate Bush Tribute With “Wuthering Heights”

Matthew Sweet has released his version of Kate Bush’s landmark 1978 single, “Wuthering Heights.” This is the first new recording from Sweet since his January 2021 album Catspaw, which was recorded pre-covid. Sweet, known for his collaborations with guitarists over the years, nevertheless plays the guitar solo on the track as well as all the additional instruments except for the drums, played by longtime Sweet sideman Ric Menck.

As the latest season of Stranger Things caused a resurgence of interest in Kate Bush via her song “Running Up That Hill”, Sweet was reminded of a recording he once made.

Matthew Sweet writes:

“I do love that song, but this got me thinking about a piano and vocal demo I once made of “Wuthering Heights,” the 1978 hit that first brought the 19 year-old Kate to the attention of the world of music. Like Kate herself, I have a strong amount of Irish blood in me, as my mother, like hers, was 100% Irish. In fact, I have dual citizenship between Ireland and America. Maybe this helps account for my always feeling a mystic kinship with Kate, despite our music being worlds apart in so many ways.

Regardless, my wife recently urged me to dig up that demo of mine, and although I couldn’t find a multitrack of it, I did locate a rough of the song I had bounced down many years ago. And so it is I came to overdub some guitars and other instruments and produce this single track for release in tribute to Kate. In this streaming world we live in, there is nothing to stop me from doing so. My friend Ric Menck played drums on this originally, and as it’s turned out, I have played everything else.

The track has no background vocals, in keeping with the original, to preserve the very personal nature of the lyrics and song. It is worth noting that despite the literary origins of the lyrics, Kate is, in fact, the Cathy of the song. She was born to the name, referred to by it throughout her early years, and didn’t ask to be called Kate until she was nearly 12 years old. Although Kate’s range for singing is quite high on her version, I had only to sing the song an octave lower in the original key and it worked well for me. Hopefully somebody out there might enjoy it, and be led back to Kate’s own very special music.” 

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