“And it’s not easy for me
To give away a secret”
Taken from the album This Woman’s Work
Sorry ‘Memory Of You’, you just missed out – ‘Under The Ivy’ is the greatest B-side of all time. Unless I’m forgetting something huge (which is quite possible), this is the highest song on the list that was relegated to the other side of a single, in this case ‘Running Up That Hill’ in 1985. Included in the This Woman’s Work box set and then later on the Hounds Of Love reissue, thankfully ‘Under The Ivy’ has not been lost over the years. But it has been underappreciated.
It’s not surprising that a B-side gets roundly ignored, but I’ve found among Kate Bush diehards, ‘Under The Ivy’ is among her most highly regarded songs. The lyrics, childlike and innocent, see Kate calling back to “the little girl inside”, a continuation of the future-self themes explored in ‘Jig Of Life’ from the Hounds Of Love album. Her voice is impeccable, basically flawless, with just the right amount of power and vulnerability.
Running just over two minutes, ‘Under The Ivy’ is brief and effective, leaving me wanting more but knowing that it is perfect as it is. It wouldn’t have fit on Hounds Of Love, as there is no room for improvement on that record, and in a way it’s a good thing that ‘Under The Ivy’ is a little bit hidden away. When you discover Kate Bush and wish to dig deeper, this song will present itself as proof that at this point in her career, she was so overflowing with ideas that she could put one of her all-time great recordings on a B-side.