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Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting’ from The Handmaid’s Tale is story of Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Reich and his son Peter

Kate Bush as Peter Reich in music video for 'Cloudbusting' from The Handmaid's Tale

Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting‘ was the standout song on the latest episode of The Handmaid’s Tale last night — The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 3, Episode 11, “Liars“.

The song was played as the Marthas clean the room together, and as June puts on her Handmaid’s outfit. It continues over the end titles.

Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting‘ was the second single from her 1985 smash-hit fifth studio album Hounds of Love.

The song is known for its majestic pounding beat, its beautiful, insistent cello melody and for that standout lyric “I just know that something good is going to happen“.

Even though, as it turns out, that “something good” never really did happen for the man the song was written about — Wilhelm Reich.

Cloudbusting‘ also came with a stunning music video upon its release that was more of a short film than a video.

It featured Donald Sutherland and Kate Bush as Austrian psychologist/philosopher Wilhelm Reich and his son Peter, and shows the pair ‘cloudbusting’ — a rain-making process that was created by Reich with a machine he invented.

The lyrics of Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting‘ and the video also tell the story of Reich’s arrest in the United States on trumped up charges of ‘contempt’. An arrest that earned him two years in an American prison.

An internment Reich did not survive, as he died of a heart attack a few days before his planned released.

In the video, though, as Wilhelm Reich is taken away, his son Peter runs back up the hill, turns on the cloudbusting machine and makes it rain.

His father, in the back of a car with police, is ecstatic.

The lyrics of ‘Cloudbusting‘ also deal with the feelings of Reich’s son Peter, when he loses his father to the American prison system. And to the realization that, at the age of 13 when his father died, no matter what he did, he could not have saved him.

Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting‘ was written about Wilhelm Reich after she read his son Peter’s book, Book of Dreams, and felt it stab her heart.

Watch the extended music video/short film for Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting‘ below. It is a beautiful piece of work, was created by Terry Gilliam, and still holds up artistically almost 35 years after it was first released.

Bush’s album Hounds of Love is also one of the best albums released in the last 50 years. You can hear that in its entirety in the Spotify widget below that.

Related reading and music: From the same episode — Portishead’s ‘Only You‘ — listen here

You’ll find discussion of more songs from The Handmaid’s Tale on Leo Sigh here

Michelle Topham

Founder/CEO at Leo Sigh
I am a music journalist, a former radio DJ, a left-wing human rights advocate and the founder of Leo Sigh. I am also an avid video game player.
Michelle Topham