Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’ Inspired a Kate Bush Song

TLDR;

  • Kate Bush had a strong reaction to Stephen King’s The Shining and wrote a song inspired by it.
  • Bush usually doesn’t write songs about her life.
  • Her song inspired by The Shining appeared on a hit album.
Jack Nicholson, the star of 'The Shining,' wearing a suit
Jack Nicholson, the star of ‘The Shining’ | PA Images via Getty Images

Kate Bush has released songs about numerous unusual subjects. For example, she revealed one of her songs was inspired by Stephen King‘s novel The Shining. The “Wuthering Heights” singer explained the effect The Shining had on her.

How Kate Bush reacted to Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’

According to the book Digital Signatures: The Impact of Digitization on Popular Music Sound, Bush said she had a strong reaction to the book in a 1982 interview. “The Shining is the only book I’ve read that has frightened me,” she said. “While reading it, I swamped around in its snowy imagery and avoided visiting certain floors of the big, cold hotel, empty for the winter.”

During a 2011 interview with Interview magazine, Bush was asked if she consciously drew influence from Stanley Kubrick‘s film version of The Shining. “‘Get Out of My House’ was more to do with the book than the film, just to say that,” she said. “But whatever is going on in your life when you’re writing has to somehow seep into your work.”

For context, the book is quite different from the film. The book features topiary animals who come to life. The end of the book depicts Jack Torrance dying in an explosion, whereas he freezes to death in the film. 

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Kate Bush usually doesn’t write songs based about her experiences

Bush added that she doesn’t usually take inspiration from her life when she writes songs. “And maybe if my songs feel personal, that’s very nice,” she said. “I like that. I take that as a great compliment. But there are very few that really have any sort of autobiographical content.”

Bush said she didn’t mind if fans misunderstood her lyrics. “I think what is great is that if anything that I do is interesting to somebody else, then I really don’t think it matters at all what I had originally intended,” she continued. “If people like the song, or they can draw some feeling from it, then I’m really happy about that. Quite often, lyrics get misunderstood — and I never mind that either. I guess what all artists want is for their work to touch someone or for it to be thought-provoking.”

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The way listeners in the United States and the United Kingdom reacted to the song

Bush never released “Get Out of My House” as a single, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. “Get Out of My House” appeared on Bush’s album The DreamingThe Dreaming reached No. 157 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 11 weeks.

According to The Official Charts Company, “Get Out of My House” did not chart in the United Kingdom either. Meanwhile, The Dreaming hit No. 3 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for 12 weeks. “Get Out of My House” wasn’t a hit, but it remains an interesting connection between Bush and The Shining.

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