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English singer-songwriter Kate Bush has just entered the Billboard Top 10 for the first time – with a song she released four decades ago.
“Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” peaked at number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released in 1985. It is now enjoying a major revival thanks to stranger thingsthe 1980s sci-fi hit whose fourth season premiered on Netflix late last month.
The song appears several times throughout the show, as it is a favorite of – and a major plot focus of – the character Max (played by Sadie Sink). And it caught on quickly, topping the iTunes charts in two days and posting an 8,700% increase in global streams over the course of a weekend.
As of Tuesday, the song had reached the Top 10 in 34 countries – including the United States, Germany, Norway and New Zealand – and number two in nearly a dozen of them, including the Kingdom. UK, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia. This week, it re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at No. 8, making it Bush’s first US Top 10 single.
Bush — whose catalog includes hits like “Wuthering Heights” and “Cloudbusting” and is also getting a streaming boost — said in a statement on his website that the show’s young fans have given the song “an whole new life,” adding, “I love it too!”
“Because of this, Running Up That Hill has toured the world and entered the UK chart at No. 8,” she wrote over the weekend. “It’s really exciting! Thank you so much to everyone who supported the song. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series in July.”
Bush generally does not allow his music to be used in other media, Variety reports, but signed on after reviewing script pages and images to find out exactly how the song would be used. She also happens to be a big fan of the show, he added.
And the feeling seems mutual. Winona Ryder, who stars in the series, told USA Today that she had long campaigned for the show to feature the music of Bush, whom she called “one of my heroes.”
“I’ve been obsessed with her since I was a little girl,” she said. “For the past seven years, I’ve also left clues on set wearing my Kate Bush t-shirts.”
It’s rare for older songs to reappear in the Top 10 years later, Variety explains, adding that it’s believed that a catalog track other than Christmas hasn’t reached that level in its original recorded form since Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” reached number 2 in 1992 (after being featured in Wayne’s World). Even Fleetwood Mac’s 2020 resurgence of “Dreams” — thanks to a juice-drinking, skateboarding Idaho potato worker — only reached No. 12.
And “Running Up That Hill” doesn’t seem to be running out of steam.
Tuesday is the second most played song in the world on Spotify and Apple News, according to The Guardian. And German songwriter Kim Petras recently released an electro-pop version of the song (one of many covers released over the decades) in honor of Pride Month.
Nora Felder, the musical supervisor of stranger thingsTold Variety that the song’s embrace of the next generation proves how timeless it is.
“I believe if it was written and recorded today it would fit right in and would not be considered a ‘dated’ sound in any way,” she added.
And fans today certainly seem to find meaning in the song some 37 years later, even if they’re listening to it on their cellphones instead of a Walkman.