The Man With the Child in His Eyes :: Kate Bush
from the album, The Kick Inside

About the song

The Man with the Child in His Eyes is a song by Kate Bush. It is the fifth track on her debut album The Kick Inside and was released as her second single in 1978.

Kate Bush wrote the song when she was 13 and recorded it at the age of 16. It was recorded at AIR Studios, London in June 1975 under the guidance of David Gilmour. She has said that recording with a large orchestra at that age terrified her.

The song was Bush’s second chart single in the United Kingdom where it reached # 6 in the summer of 1978. In the United States the single was released in December of the same year. It became her first single to reach the Billboard Pop Singles chart, peaking at # 85 early in 1979. She performed this song in her one appearance on Saturday Night Live, singing on a piano being played by Paul Shaffer.

The single version slightly differs from the album version. On the single, the song opens with the phrase “he’s here!” echoing, an effect added after the album was released

The song received the Ivor Novello Award for “Outstanding British Lyric” in 1979.

The song has been said to tell of a relationship between a young girl and an older man. She sees him as an all consuming figure; he’s wise, yet retains a certain innocent quality. He’s a very real character to the girl, but nobody else knows if he really exists. Bush has said she wrote the song because of a quality she saw in most of the men that she knew, how they are all little boys inside, and how wonderful it is that they managed to retain this magic.

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My thoughts:

To me, this song always made me think she was singing to a ghost, a lover lost at sea, and his spirit that is in her room at night that she can only see. That he is there as she ages, never aging himself, always till looking like the young man he was when they were together, when he was still alive. Like a gender swapped Heathcliff and Cathy, or like the television show my Grandmother loved when I was a child, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (though I think that ghost was there first, and that he was never her lover).

A love song to a ghost, to me, fitting in just right for Spooky October.

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