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Kate Bush gets permission for song based on Joyce's Ulysses

The singer first applied to use references to Joyce’s seminal work 22 year ago but has been refused permission to do so – until now.

Undated picture of Kate Bush in London.
Undated picture of Kate Bush in London.
Image: Press Association Images

MORE THAN TWENTY years after penning a song inspired by James Joyce’s literary masterpiece Ulysses, British singer Kate Bush has been granted permission to use extracts from the work.

Joyce’s notoriously protective estate would not grant Bush permission when she first applied to use the writer’s material for her song The Sensual World in 1989. The Irish Times quotes Bush, whose mother is a native of Co Waterford, as saying:  ”Originally when I wrote the song The Sensual World I had used text from the end of Ulysses but was disappointed not to receive permission”.

“But when I came to work on this current project I thought I would ask for permission again and, this time, they said yes. The song has now been retitled Flower of the Mountain and I am delighted that I have had the chance to fulfil my original concept.”

The copyright on all of Joyce’s literary works will expire next year, on the 70th anniversary 0f his death.

It is believed that Bush’s song will the first to use material written by Joyce – however, the singer herself is an old hand at drawing inspiration from literary works. Bush’s biggest-selling single was her 1978 hit Wuthering Heights – which drew inspiration from (as the name would suggest) the classic novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

Bush’s forthcoming album, Director’s Cut, will be released on 16 May, NME reports. It will include a short film directed by the singer and featuring Robbie Coltrane and Noel Fielding.

And for old time’s sake…

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