ENIGMATIC singer-songwriter Kate Bush has hinted she may return to the live stage more than 30 years after her last tour, before she becomes "too ancient" to perform.
She became one of the music world's biggest sellers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but has avoided live tours since a six-week run of concerts in 1979, for reasons that have baffled fans.
The 52-year-old is about to release an album, Director's Cut, consisting of heavily reworked versions of earlier tracks.
In 1978, aged 19, Bush exploded into the British charts with her debut single and number one hit Wuthering Heights. The song, which she wrote, earned Bush the first of two Ivor Novello Awards. Her Tour of Life, the next year, was the only concert tour of her career.
Explanations for her absence from the stage, despite a string of hits, have included her determination to deliver perfectly finished songs, to a severe fear of flying, to the tragic death of one of her tour crew during a show.
But in a rare interview, she said: "It was enormously enjoyable. But physically it was absolutely exhausting. I still don't give up hope completely that I'll be able to do some live work, but it's certainly not in the picture at the moment.
"Maybe I will do some shows some day. I'd like to think so, before I get too ancient - turn up with my Zimmer frame. I enjoy singing, but with the albums it's the whole process I find so interesting. If I was going to do some shows it would be the same thing."
In April 1979, her lighting director, Bill Duffield, was killed in an accident during a concert, and the following month she staged a benefit concert for him, on the penultimate night of the tour.
During the 1980s she only made three or four brief guest appearances, typically at charity concerts, on stage with other artists. With the birth of her son Bertie in 1998, she mostly retreated from public life altogether.
Her last album, Aerial, came out in 2005. Director's Cut includes 11 songs from her albums The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, heavily reworked with new vocals.
Born Catherine Bush on 30 July, 1958, the daughter of a piano-playing Kent doctor, she found fame when debut single Wuthering Heights topped the UK charts for a month. She went on to win a Brit Award for best female performer and two Ivor Novello Awards.
Hit albums included The Kick Inside, above, Hounds of Love and The Sensual World, and she had huge success with singles such as The Man with the Child in his Eyes and Don't Give Up, a duet with Peter Gabriel. Her only tour was in 1979.