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

John Scalzi

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

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

  1. I am a bit behind on the music so I will comment on “Maps” today. I had never heard this song before, it is very good, better on the second listening than the first.
    Maps reminds me strongly of “Lydia” by Fur Patrol, a song released in 2000. You might not have heard of Fur Patrol as they are a New Zealand band. “Lydia” has a powerhouse vocal by Julia Deans, it’s amazing.

  2. “Kiteflyer’s Hill”: does not start out very interesting, gets better. I mean musically: can’t make out most of the lyrics.

    “Where Will I Be”: very nice. Thanks.

    “Maps”: ugh, not for me. If that’s one of the great rock songs of the 21st century, I’m ready to write off the whole century.

  3. As well as Kiteflyer’s Hill, I also really liked Bell, Book and Candle.

  4. Just catching up with this – Eddie has the voice of an angel and Perfect is indeed just perfect – as I’ve spent my weekend at Cymera. Thoroughly enjoyed listening to your pre-recorded talk – I’ve been a fan for a long time now but had never heard the story of OMW’s publication before – wow!

  5. I’m getting ‘This video is not available” too.

    Gery: that link doesn’t work for people without Spotify accounts.

    @ DB Re: Maps. I kinda wanted to agree with you – it seemed fine, but not great – but bits of the damned thing have earwormed me for the last day and a half after one listen. I’m off to check out more of their work. (Thanks for the recommendation, John!)