Japanese CD of the Day / Kate Bush: “Never For Ever” supermasters reissue

Japanese reissue Never For Ever reissue from 1990 (TOCP-6546)

Although Kate Bush‘s third album Never For Ever didn’t sell quite as well as her 1978 debut The Kick Inside, it did reach number one on the UK album charts in September 1980, something both of her first two records failed to do (Lionheart was issued in late 1978).

Co-produced with Jon Kelly, this was Kate getting to grips with production, drum machines and the Fairlight CMI sampler (see Army Dreamers’ rifle-cock). The album is best known for her hit Babooshka, a tale of infidelity and revenge, although the war themed Breathing and Army Dreamers were both top 20 hits in the UK.



This Japanese reissue (TOCP-6546) dates from 1990 and is part of the “SuperMasters” series issued at the time. The most obvious difference between this and the standard European/UK issue is the cover. The original image (by Nick Price) is a painting of Kate standing up with scores of weird and wonderful creates flying out of her skirt. For whatever reason this was deemed inappropriate for the Japanese and so they selected a detail from this artwork and made that the cover. Hence, no Kate and no album title on the front!

Never For Ever_orig
The original cover for “Never For Ever” (click to enlarge)

This Japanese ‘SuperMasters’ CD has a small biography at the front (in Japanese) but also includes lyrics to all the songs in English and Japanese. The audio is identical to the other CD versions (no bonus tracks) although it sounds very well mastered. Since Never For Ever has never been remastered (c’mon Kate!), this is probably as good at the album will sound on CD.

The 1990 Japanese ‘SuperMasters’ edition of Kate’s “Never For Ever” with ‘new’ cover (click to enlarge)
The inside of the booklet (click to enlarge)

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I have the original Japanese box set on Cd and they are clearer than the us releases. Back when the box set was originally released, I researched getting it and had the local Camelot music import it for $200 because Homeground and other fanzines had mentioned the Japanese CDs as having superior quality. I compared them with the US CDs I owned and they are superior. Just wish I could read the books which are in Japanese..also there are a few typos on The Kick Inside.


Why wouldn’t the artist be able to choose where their record is mastered? Mastering is the final and very important step in making a record, and even though I don’t know much about Kate Bush, I always thought she was a bit of a control freak, hence my suggestion that the album would have been mastered at a facility of her choice.
You would think that once an album was mastered for production, the required media (glass master, metal pressing plates etc) would have been sent around the world to the various pressing plants.


Sadly, when Never For Ever came to CD the infamous “KT” symbol disappeared. It was carefully hidden, for the first time, on this 3rd album but was lost when the lyrics and artwork were formatted to booklet size. Easy to spot on The Kick Inside (vinyl edition only) and Lionheart but from then on she always when to some lengths to hide it.

Lazlo Nibble

Some titles seem to have been treated that way, with everything coming from a single digital master—though that part about Kate getting to pick where a disc was mastered seems really unlikely to me—but for ’80s releases it seems to be more the exception than the rule. Pressing plants weren’t necessarily using compatible equipment at the time, and even if a Philips-cut glass master was drop-in compatible with Sony pressing equipment, a glass master isn’t something you can just toss in the mail. It likely made sense in many cases to master the disc locally (since they had analog tapes on hand for LP production anyway) rather than press from one that might have been damaged in transit.

If it isn’t already obvious, figuring this stuff out is kind of a hobby of mine, and I’ve found that the deeper you dig on it the weirder it gets. For example, the initial Japanese and UK CD releases of Hounds of Love used different masters even though they were *both pressed in Japan*.

Simon, if you wouldn’t mind passing along some details on your Canadian TWW box, can you drop me a line at my.username at gmail.com?


Wouldn’t the CD be mastered at a facility of Kate’s choice and then a glass master be sent to Japan for manufacturing? Why pay again to have the CD mastered for production in another country?


I have the Canadian “This Woman’s Work” box set and It is all UK pressings inside… Aside from Japan, I believe the box sets produced in 1990 we’re all the same. Mine was bought in Canada when It came out on october 1990.


I happen to own the original CD release (US), the “Woman’s Work” box set, AND the Mini’s.

They all sound the same. Honestly.

Lazlo Nibble

The ’05-ish mini-LP sleeve version has, as far as I’ve been able to determine, the exact same mastering as every other CD back to the original release save the Canadian “TWW” box. (And if it had superior audio — or inferior audio for that matter — it’d be a remaster by definition! Lots of “silent” remasters out there — there are at least five distinct CD masterings of The Kick Inside, for example, even though none of them were ever marketed as a “remaster” that I know of.)

Geert De Wilde

Wouldn’t the more recent mini LP Japanese version of Never Forever not have a ‘superior’ audio still? Not that it is a remaster …

Lazlo Nibble

The Canadian “This Woman’s Work” box has unique masterings of The Kick Inside, Never For Ever, The Dreaming and Hounds of Love (not sure about The Sensual World). I’ve never tracked down a copy of the set to check them out though.