b/w The Empty Bullring

Breathing (UK) front


Breathing (UK) rear


Country: UK
Label/Number: EMI 5058
Release date: April 14, 1980
Chronology: Kate's 6th UK single; the 1st from Never for Ever (though the LP wasn't released for another 4 months). The B-side was her 5th non-LP track.
Highest chart position: 16
Cover art by Paul Maxwell
Breathing Lyrics
What it's about: A fetal spiritual being, very much aware of what's going on outside the womb, makes a desperate plea to save mankind from nuclear destruction. Kate says it was inspired by side 3 of Pink Floyd's The Wall.
3:00 into the song, there's a narration explaining how nuclear bomb sizes are determined by their flash duration. Here is the text.
Running time: 4:52 (single mix) or 5:24 (single mix)
The Empty Bullring Lyrics
What it's about: A woman laments her husbands futile obsessions -- he's an injured matador who will not accept the fact that he can no longer fight.
Running time: 2:16
Breathing entered the UK chart in the second week of its release at #44.  It peaked at #44 four weeks later, on May 24, 1980.  It held that position for one week, and had a total chart run of seven weeks.
First UK pressings have a different mix of the song than the version that appears on the LP/CD, but there is a lot of conflicting information.  Some sources say they are "virtually identical".  Others say the spoken narrative about nuclear bombs is more left, right, centered, or back in the mix.  Still others say there are slight differences in the first verse and the percussion in the intermezzo section.  And finally, there are early pressings out there that eliminate the entire end section where the two final tones play (on the 4:52 running time version noted above).  The 5:24 single mix also appears on the 1985 Greenpeace compilation (where it is labeled 5:31).  It was replaced by the LP/CD mix on reissues of the single.
Here is what I know for sure.  I have a 5:24 promo, so I have to assume it's an early pressing.  The spoken narrative is on the far left and behind the music, so it's very difficult to hear.  The CD version I compared it to has this narrative much further forward and way to the right, making it much easier to understand.  I don't hear any differences between them in the first verse or in the intermezzo percussion -- which is certainly not to say they are not there...!
First pressings sleeves are glossy, coated card stock with angled thumb notches. Reissues were printed on thinner paper stock, with round thumb notches. Scan courtesy of Pertti.
Additionally, the originals have "We all share the same air" etched in the dead wax of side A, and "Happy anniversary to the P's" etched into the dead wax on side B. For more information on first pressings vs. reissues, look here.

Go to: 7" Single Index 7" Pictorial Chronology