Kate Bush: how Running Up That Hill ended up in Stranger Things


Originally released in the ’80s, the tune features prominently in the latest season of Stranger Things

Kate Bush song running up That Hill It looks set to hit number one this week thanks to its use in the , 37 years after it was originally released Meet Netflix series stranger things.


The 80’s ballad is currently number two and is number two in the UK most streamed songaveraging an impressive 700,000 games per day Spotify.

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When was Running Up That Hill first released?


running up That Hill was first released in 1985 as part of Bush’s fifth studio album dogs of love. Also on the album were songs like Cloudbusting, the big sky and Mother stands for consolation.

The song was originally called A deal with Godhowever, was renamed due to concerns that it would be negatively received religious countries.

English singer-songwriter and musician Kate Bush, February 21, 1978. (Photo by Chris Moorhouse/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Bush said in an interview with Richard Skinner on Radio 1 in 1992: “We were told that if we kept this title it would not be played in any of the religious countries Italy wouldn’t play it France wouldn’t play it, and Australia wouldn’t play it!

Ireland wouldn’t play it, and that we could generally redact it just because it has “God” in the title. Well I couldn’t believe it, it seemed utterly ridiculous and the title was such a part of the whole of the song.


“I just couldn’t understand it. But nonetheless, even though I was very unhappy about it, I felt like I was going to cut my own throat if I didn’t compromise, you know, I had just spent two, three years making an album and we wouldn’t get that record played on the radio if i was stubborn.

“So I felt like I had to grow up on that, so we changed it to running up That Hill

English singer-songwriter and musician Kate Bush at her family’s home in East Wickham, London, September 26, 1978. (Photo by Chris Moorhouse/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“But it’s always something I have regrets, I have to say. And I usually always regret any compromises I make.”

Speaking of BBC In 1992, Bush explained the meaning of the song, saying, “I was trying to say that a man and a woman cannot understand each other because we are a man and a woman.


“And if we could actually switch roles, if we could actually be in each other’s places for a while, I think we’d both be very surprised!

“And I think it would lead to a better understanding.”


What did Kate Bush say about the song’s renewed popularity?

She wrote: “running up That Hill has just gone to #2 in the UK charts and #1 Australia, New ZealandSwitzerland Sweden…


“How absolutely brilliant! It’s hard to comprehend the speed with which all this has happened since the release of the first part stranger things New series. So many young people who love the show are discovering the song for the first time.

English singer/songwriter, musician, dancer and record producer Kate Bush holding her two awards for Best British Female Singer and Best British Newcomer at the Capital Radio Music Awards ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel, London, UK on 6th March 1979 (Photo by Stuart Nicol/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“The answer to running up That Hill is something that had its own energy and willpower. A direct relationship between the shows and their audience, and one that was completely outside of the music business. We were all amazed to see the track explode!


“Thank you to everyone who supported the song and a very special thank you to those who supported the song Duffer brothers for creating something with so much heart.”

What is the meaning of the song in Stranger Things?


Spoilers for the fourth episode of Stranger Things season four

running up That Hill plays a major role in the latest season of stranger thingswho provides the soundtrack to one of the most powerful scenes between Max (Sadie Sink) and Vecna, but also for the character of Max on the show.

Running Up That Hill has meaning for the character of Max, played by Sadie Sink (Picture: Netflix)

In the new season, Max mourns the loss of her stepbrother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) after witnessing him being brutally killed by the Mind Flayer in Season 3.

She becomes withdrawn from her friends, becoming withdrawn and depressed, becoming the perfect target for season four’s villain Vecna ​​- an Upside Down serial killer who tortures his victims with their worst fears and nightmares before killing them.

Vecna ​​uses Billy’s death to target Max (Picture: Netflix)

Sitting at her brother’s grave, Vecna ​​appears before Max as Billy, bloodied and mutilated, using her survivors’ guilt to rub salt on her already painful emotional wound.

As Billy, Vecna ​​says to Max, “Late at night you sometimes wished you could follow me. Follow me to death. That’s why I’m here Max, to end your suffering once and for all.”


As Max attempts to outrun Vecna, he materializes in front of her and she suddenly finds herself in the Upside Down. In the real world, her friends are desperate to save her from Vecna’s grasp – and they do it by blasting running up That Hill in Max’s headphones.

Max is finally rescued by her friends after playing the song in their headphones (Picture: Netflix)

As Vecna ​​prepares to kill Max, she closes her eyes and sees happy memories – Good times with El, dresses up as Ghostbuster and shares a kiss with Lucas. She manages to break free from Vecna ​​and escape through the portal to her friends in the real world.


How did the song get on the show?

Speak with diversity, stranger things‘ Music Supervisor Nora Felder explained that she was the one responsible for brainstorming the songs used to depict the emotional experiences Max was going through on the show.


She said, “Consequently, each of the potential song placements in the original scripts was marked with the placeholder ‘TBD Max song.’ From there, I struggled to internally align with what the Duffers felt were the key elements needed and my own intuitive understanding of Max’s complex emotions.”

Felder said she landed on it running up That Hill fairly quickly, however, was aware that Bush could be quite picky about what she did and didn’t allow her music to be used on.

Nora Felder attends the 2018 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 8, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

She said: “I sat with my release coordinator and finalized all the scripted scenes to use songs that we knew at the time.

“Knowing the challenges, we proceeded to create elaborate scene descriptions that provided as much context as possible so Kate and her camp would fully understand the usage. … When we finished, we were nervous but excited and hopeful.”


On the other side of the conversation was Wende Crowley, Sony Music Publishing SVP of creative marketing, film and television.

Crowley said: “Nora Felder came to us ahead of the pandemic to discuss the idea of ​​using it as Max’s ‘song’ for this season.


“She wanted to make sure it was within the realm of possibility before bringing the Duffer Brothers on board with the idea, since the song “would be such a pivotal point in Max’s storyline.

(LR) Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer attend the “Stranger Things” Los Angeles FYSEE Event at Netflix FYSee Space as Netflix Presenters on May 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“Kate Bush is choosy when it comes to licensing her music, so we made sure to give her script pages and footage to review so she could see exactly how the song would be used.”


Luckily for Felder, Bush turned out to be a pretty big fan of the show, and after talking about the intent and vision the team had in mind, Bush gave her permission to use it.

Bush said she was pleased the song was a “positive totem” for Max’s character, played by Sadie Sink.


She said: “When the first series came out, friends kept asking us if we’d seen it stranger thingsso we checked it out and were really excited.

Netflix Host Sadie Sink attends the “Stranger Things” Los Angeles FYSEE Event at Netflix FYSee Space on May 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“Since then, we’ve watched every series as a family. When they approached us to use running up That Hillyou could tell a lot of care went into how it was used in the context of the story and I liked the fact that the song was a positive totem for the character Max.


“I’m really impressed with this latest series. It’s an epic piece of work – the shows are extremely well put together with great characters and fantastic SFX.

“It’s very touching that the song was received so warmly, especially as it’s driven by the young fans who love the shows.


“I am delighted that the Duffer Brothers are receiving such positive feedback on their latest creation. They earn it.”