Song written by Kate Bush, released on her debut album The Kick Inside. 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 received the Ivor Novello Award for "Outstanding British Lyric" in 1979.
In 2010, former radio and television presenter Steve Blacknell offered Kate Bush's original hand-written lyrics for the song for sale through music memorabilia website 991.com.
'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' was released as the second single from the album on 26 May 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 number 85 early in 1979.
A simple but effective music video was made to support the release of the single. Accoring to Kate: "Yes, that probably was the simplest one [Video] we've ever done. Again, the song dictated it, it was a very intimate song about a young girl almost voicing her inner thoughts, not really to anyone, but rather to herself. And it just started off where I sat down on the floor, crosslegged, and getting ready to work out some ideas to the routine with the music on. And my brother Jay came in and saw me sitting there and said, 'Why don't you just keep it like that?' (Razzmatazz, 1981)
There are two versions of the song: the album version and a single version. On the single, the song opens with the phrase “he’s here!” echoing.
Bush 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.
'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' has been covered by Tina Arena, Bardo State, Theo Bleckmann, The Chasers, Charlotte Church, Dark Orange, Kat Devlin, Lara Fabian, Maria Friedman, Hue & Cry, Inside Moves, Sandra King, Anja Lerch and Frank Sichmann, Majella O'Shea, Dave Smith & Judy Dinning, Syd Straw, Velvet Belly and (in Mandarin) by Xu Ru Yun.
There is also an Italian translation, which is called Domani Dimenticherai, recorded by Zenima.
The song was sampled by Salt Tank on their track 'Swell'.
Kate about 'The Man With The Child In His Eyes'
The inspiration for 'The Man With the Child in His Eyes' was really just a particular thing that happened when I went to the piano. The piano just started speaking to me. It was a theory that I had had for a while that I just observed in most of the men that I know: the fact that they just are little boys inside and how wonderful it is that they manage to retain this magic. I, myself, am attracted to older men, I guess, but I think that's the same with every female. I think it's a very natural, basic instinct that you look continually for your father for the rest of your life, as do men continually look for their mother in the women that they meet. I don't think we're all aware of it, but I think it is basically true. You look for that security that the opposite sex in your parenthood gave you as a child. (Self Portrait, 1978)
I just noticed that men retain a capacity to enjoy childish games throughout their lives, and women don't seem to be able to do that. ('Bird In The Bush', Ritz (UK), September 1978)
Oh, well it's something that I feel about men generally. [Looks around at cameramen] Sorry about this folks. [Cameramen laugh] That a lot of men have got a child inside them, you know I think they are more or less just grown up kids. And that it's a... [Cameramen laugh] No, no, it's a very good quality, it's really good, because a lot of women go out and get far too responsible. And it's really nice to keep that delight in wonderful things that children have. And that's what I was trying to say. That this man could communicate with a younger girl, because he's on the same level. (Swap Shop, 1979)
Highest chart positions
New Zealand: 36
USA (Billboard Pop Singles): 85
- The Man With The Child In His Eyes. Wikipedia, retrieved 21 September 2014.