The Whole Story is a compilation album by Kate Bush, released by EMI Records on 10 November 1986. The album included 10 hit singles, plus a “new vocal” version of debut hit Wuthering Heights and one new track, Experiment IV.

Track listing

The album consists of the following tracks:

  1. Wuthering Heights (New Vocal)
  2. Cloudbusting
  3. The Man With The Child In His Eyes
  4. Breathing
  5. Wow
  6. Hounds Of Love
  7. Running Up That Hill
  8. Army Dreamers
  9. Sat In Your Lap
  10. Experiment IV
  11. The Dreaming
  12. Babooshka


The album was released on LP, CD, tape and – in 1998 – on Minidisc. The LP came in a gatefold sleeve.
In South Korea the album was edited down to nine tracks, because the South Korean ministry of Culture did not approve the three that were scrapped. They were ‘Hounds Of Love’, ‘Army Dreamers’ and ‘The Dreaming’. Also, the lyrics of Breathing were altered in the lyric sheet.
A 180 gram vinyl edition was released by Simply Vinyl on 30 October 2000.
In 2005, a so-called ‘mini LP replica’ version was released on CD in Japan.
There was also a video version of ‘The Whole Story’, released on VHS video and Laserdisc, containing the videos for all the tracks, plus one bonus video: The Big Sky. A Video CD version was released a few years later, entitled The Whole Story ’94.

Critical reception

The compilation album was received well and had several critics write down their positive reviews.

Over the last nine years and five albums, Kate Bush (…) has matured into quite the most sensual, expressive, and creative artist this country can now boast.

Roger Holland, Sounds (UK), 1986

This glorious retrospective collection… she’s playing a high-risk game, and more often than not her irrepressible flair, her instinct for a hook, and her gift for unusual and gripping arrangements carry her through.

Colin Irwin, Melody Maker (UK), 1986

More useful and more enjoyable than the constipated jangling of a hundred and one little lads with big mouths and even bigger clothes allowances. Such people are not worth a carrot. Meat or no meat, Kate Bush is streets ahead.

John McReady, NME (UK), 1986

A monumental tribute to this craziest, coziest girl-next-door. (…) One of the most refreshing compilation LPs it would be possible to put together.

Andy Strickland, Record Mirror (UK), 1986

The video version was also reviewed, but they were a bit more mixed.

The earlier clips, dating back to her breakthrough hit ‘Wuthering Heights’, show off her considerable dance skills, yet they aren’t particularly good videos. Nevertheless the material is engrossing in its disturbing portrayal of the ethereally beautiful songstress as a tormented darker Stevie Nicks type.

Jim Bessman, Billboard (USA), 4 JUly 1987

With her mime and dance talent, and her narrative songwriting style, you’d think Kate Bush would be a natural for music videos. So why then is this collection so spotty in quality? Maybe because Kate Bush is so enamoured of Kate Bush. At times she’s more interested in her hair, face and lips, than in the meanings of her lyrics or the purity of her voice. Kate Bush is an affected artist most likely stuck with her cult following.

Phil Anderson, Buzz, July 1987

Kate about ‘The Whole Story’

(…) I was asked to put out a greatest hits album by the guy at the record company. I thought it was such a crap idea and I said, “No, no way”. He came back with all this research he’d done and just completely won me over. And of course it ended up being my biggest-selling record.

Tom Doyle, ‘Kate Bush: National treasure’. Q (UK), November 2006

Yes, I was [against the release of a compilation album] at first. I was concerned that it would be like a “K-tel” record, a cheapo-compo with little thought behind it. It was the record company’s decision, and I didn’t mind as long as it was well put together. We put a lot of work into the packaging, trying to make it look tasteful, and carefully thought out the running order. And the response has been phenomenal – I’m amazed!

Kate Bush Club newsletter, Issue 22, December 1987

It wasn’t chronological because we wanted to have a running time that was equal on both sides, otherwise you get a bad pressing. In America, where I’m not very well known, they didn’t realise it was a compilation!

‘Love, Trust and Hitler’. Tracks (UK), November 1989

Highest chart positions

Australia: 28
France: 9
Germany: 11
Japan: 38
Netherlands: 22
New Zealand: 4
Norway: 10
Sweden: 48
UK: 1
USA: 76