Pop phenomenon, Kate Bush has been dominating the world of avant-garde pop since the 70s with her wildly, wonderful weird music videos that still, decades on, exist in an unmatched ethereal plane of existence of their own. But, since Netflix dropped the latest season (four) of their horror-cult hit series Stranger Things last Friday, with a pivotal scene featuring her whimsical 1985 Hounds of Love hit, Running Up That Hill, a whole new generation of fans are now discovering immersing themselves in the transcendent powers of the weird and wonderful alt-pop icon for the very time.
With the show set in the 80s, one of the main characters, Max Mayfield – played by Sadie Sink – reveals in episode four (titled Dear Billy) that Running Up That Hill is their favourite song. In the interest of avoiding spoilers, we won’t reveal the reasons around it, but, with those instantly recognizable, stormy drums, the song’s entrance is unlikely to be subtle. Anyone familiar with the series’ dark and otherworldly cinematography, could see how the two make for a match made in heaven!
For those who aren’t, you can familiarize yourself with the show’s supernatural themes via the official trailer, below.
‘Stranger Things’ 4 | Official Trailer [Netflix]
And, when it comes to Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill, we’re not just talking about a small resurgence in interest – we’re talking about an escalating viral event, 37 years after the song’s original release!
Yesterday, (Monday, May 30), Spotify reported that Bush’s 1985 single, Running Up That Hill had posted an 8,700% increase in global streams in just one day – compared to the streaming figures posted on Thursday, May 26th, before Netflix’s highly-anticipated premiere of the latest Stranger Things season on Friday 27th. Over the pond, in the U.S, the singer posted a 9,900% increase in streams over the same 24hr period.
Speaking to Billboard, Spotify’s global head of music, Jeremy Erlich, shared that, “It’s incredible to watch iconic songs get rediscovered and have global moments with new listeners. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) is one of those ‘perfect storm’ examples. It’s a classic song that has been introduced to a wide fandom and has now taken on a whole new meaning.”
Kate Bush | ‘Running Up That Hill’
When Kate Bush first released Running Up That Hill in 1985, it went straight to the top of the UK album chart (knocking Madonna’s Like a Virgin from the number one spot) marking her breakthrough into the American charts, landing on the Billboard Top 30. The album it arrived on, Hounds of Love received is considered, by fans and music critics alike to be not just Bush's best album, but one of the greatest albums of all time.
Currently, Running Up That Hill (Deal with God) is sitting at number two on Spotify’s US Top 50 Chart and in the fourth position on their Top 200 global chart. With the series having just been released, we here at IYOS are thinking another number one might just be on the way!
Adding further weight to the timeless appeal of Bush’s timeless and undeniably captivating originality, Stranger Things co-star, and 90s cult icon in her own right, Winona Ryder has made no secret of her admiration for the alt-pop icon, sporting a Kate Bush pin to the show’s premiere, and telling USA Today she has been “obsessed with her (Bush) since I was a little girl. I've also for the last seven years been dropping hints on set, wearing my Kate Bush T-shirts.”
"I don't know if you did this, but in my school, you had to dress down for P.E., and sometimes I just wouldn't. I'd just sit there with my headphones listening to her. She's a hero of mine."
We’re sure you’re not alone there Winona!
Back in 2020, Outcast’s Big Boi spoke candidly about his love for the iconic singer growing up, revealing that he would blast Running Up That Hill on his headphones while pedalling to school as a young teen. In an interview with Pitchfork, the well-known rapper explained: “I love Kate Bush. That’s my people, man.”
You can check out the full conversation on YouTube below.
The soundtrack to Stranger Things season three was also jam-packed with classic 80s tunes! You can check out our comprehensive rundown below.
Although Kate Bush’s popularity, among her devoted, and sizeable cult following of fans, peers and knowing music critics worldwide, has waned none over the past four decades, her recent re-explosion in mainstream pop culture is one of those wild and wonderful, unexpected twists that couldn’t happen to a more fitting artist.
We can't wait to see how this unfolds – Stranger Things season four is streaming on Netflix now.
Listen to Kate Bush on Spotify:
Listen to Kate Bush on Apple Music: