Song written by Kate Bush. Originally released on her fourth album The Dreaming.
Only the album version has been released officially. However, in recent years a demo version of 'Leave it open' appeared on the internet. In this version, the lead vocals are less processed.
Kate about 'Leave It Open'
Like cups, we are filled up and emptied with feelings, emotions - vessels breathing in, breathing out. This song is about being open and shut to stimuli at the right times. Often we have closed minds and open mouths when perhaps we should have open minds and shut mouths.
This was the first demo to be recorded, and we used a Revox and the few effects such as a guitar chorus pedal and an analogue delay system. We tried to give the track an Eastern flavour and the finished demo certainly had a distinctive mood.
There are lots of different vocal parts, each portraying a separate character and therefore each demanding an individual sound. When a lot of vocals are being used in contrast rather than "as one", more emphasis has to go on distinguishing between the different voices, especially if the vocals are coming from one person.
To help the separation we used the effects we had. When we mastered the track, a lot more electronic effects and different kinds of echoes were used, helping to place the vocals and give a greater sense of perspective. Every person who came into the studio was given the "end backing vocals test" to guess what is being sung at the end of the song.
"How many words is it?"
"Does it begin with a 'W'?"
It is very difficult to guess, but it can be done, especially when you know what the song is about.
I would love to know your answers. (Kate Bush Club newsletter, October 1982)
'Leave It Open' is the idea of human beings being like cups - like receptive vessels. We open and shut ourselves at different times. It's very easy to let you ego go "nag nag nag" when you should shut it. Or when you're very narrow-minded and you should be open. Finally you should be able to control your levels of receptivity to a productive end. (Richard Cook, 'My Music Sophisticated? I'd Rather You Said That Than Turdlike!'. NME (UK), October 1982)
Talking about "guessing", at last someone has discovered what's being said at the end of ``Leave It Open'' - well done! But let me tell you about some of the fascinating encounters I've had. There is a Mr. John Reimers from the U.S.A. who has rung up once a week with his new version:
"Well, is it...?"
"Tell me! Tell me!"
John, you're terrific!
But I'm afraid this is just a mild case. One night I woke up to a tapping on the window. It was someone hanging from a nearby tree by their feet. In their hands was a card, and written on it was: "Is it 'We paint the penguins pink?'" I'm afraid I had to laugh, and shook my head. They burst into tears and ran off into the moonlight. But I think the cleverest was a phone call I had the other week.
"It's Jay here, how are you doing?"
He sounded a little squeaky to me. Then he said: "You know, it's ridiculous. I was sitting here listening to the end of 'Leave It Open' the other day, and I just couldn't remember what you said - I know it's crazy but -"
"'We paint the penguins pink.'"
"Oh, yeah! Of course, how could I forget? See you soon - bye!"
Hmmm... see what I mean?... C-lever!
But seriously, I have enjoyed your guesses tremendously, but I have terrible dreams about your reactions now that the answer has been revealed. Do I hear cries of "You're kidding! But that's stupid!" or "Cor, that's pathetic - all our efforts over that?"
Well, I hope not... And remember to let the weirdness in. (Kate Bush Club newsletter, 1984)
Drums: Preston Heyman
Bass: Jimmy Bain
Electric guitar: Alan Murphy
Acoustic guitar: Ian Bairnson
Piano, Fairlight: Kate Bush