Kate Bush was once the face of Seiko Watches in Japan, and we have the video to prove it

Kate Bush wearing a Seiko watch
Kate Bush wearing a Seiko watch on the cover of the Japanese 'Them Heavy People' single (Image credit: EMI Music Japan)

Before the internet came along and ruined everything, celebrities and musicians could make significant extra income by endorsing products for the Japanese market. They'd film commercials and appear in magazine ads, and no one back home would ever complain about them selling out because, well, they'd never find out. 

So that's why Harrison Ford felt safe wrapping himself in a towel to flog Kirin Lager from a Sauna. It's why nothing revitalises Jean-Claude Van Damme like the taste of Black Black Gum. And it's why, back in 1978, Kate Bush briefly became the face of Seiko Watches. 

It all began in June, when Bush played at the Seventh Tokyo Song Festival. The event was held at the Nippon Budokan Hall, the famed concert hall where Deep Purple had recorded their Made In Japan live album six years earlier, and the 11,000 attendees – along with an estimated TV audience of 35 million – were treated to a mimed version of Moving. Back in London, the BBC's children's TV news show John Craven's Newsround reported on the event

Moving had been released as a single in Japan four months earlier, with Wuthering Heights as the b-side, and while soul legend Al Green won the contest, Bush's success – she shared the festival's silver prize with Chicago soul act The Emotions, whose Best Of My Love single had topped the US chart the previous year – meant that local label EMI Music Japan were eager to capitalise.

The answer? Seiko Watches. The company produced a series of print ads featuring Bush wearing their timepieces, while the September release of new single Them Heavy People saw the singer wearing another watch on the cover with a Seiko ad appearing on the back. The same song was used in a TV spot, in which Bush engaged in some freeform dance moves before offering a short, somewhat profound voiceover. 

“We have many varieties of mood within us," she says. "It’s up to you to choose.”

The single was success, reaching number three in the Japanese chart. It was backed by The Man With The Child In His Eyes, a song Bush famously wrote when she was just 13, although a super-rare, promotional-only double vinyl 7" was also produced, with the second disc featuring the two tracks released in February, Moving and Wuthering Heights. Own a copy? It's worth a small fortune. 

Quite why the famously independent Bush got involved with the commercial behemoths at Seiko hasn't been made clear. And it remains the only time she's leant her face to such an campaign, although she was commissioned to write some music for the adverts that launched Coca Cola's Frutopia drink in 1994 (other ads were soundtracked by the Cocteau Twins and The Muffs). 

Maybe she just fancied some free watches. 

The Japanese cover of Kate Bush's Them Heavy People

(Image credit: EMI Music Japan)

The back cover of the Japanese version of Kate Bush's Them Heavy People single

(Image credit: EMI Music Japan)

Kate Bush Seiko print ad

(Image credit: Seiko Holdings Corporation)
Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.