Personal History of Music

A Personal History of Music, Day 4: “Kiteflyer’s Hill” by Eddi Reader

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The thing about Eddi Reader is that there are just too many songs to choose from to represent her excellence: Nearly all the songs from Fairground Attraction, the neo-skiffle band she emerged from with a bang (including the just-about-perfect pop song called, appropriately, “Perfect”), and a whole spread of singles from her solo work.

But of all of them, “Kiteflyer’s Hill” is the one that always gets me, a wistful paean to young love gone by, so perfectly delivered by Reader that if you’re not instantly transported to the hill in question, the problem is you, not her. The song feels like the standout song from a long-running West End show; indeed, it’s written by Mark Nevin, who also wrote most of the songs in Fairground Attraction, so there’s your excuse for a jukebox musical right there.

I think it gets me because I came to it at the right time, when I was in a place where I was happy with my own life, and able to look back at some earlier moments of my life with some fondness. The past was the past, and I was happy for it to be in the past, but I was happy to have had those moments, and I wished well to those who were with me in them. “Kiteflyer’s Hill” is perfect for that. It’s still perfect for that now, when I have even more past to look upon fondly.

— JS

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