British singer and songwriter Kate Bush has topped the singles chart across the world with her 1985 hit Running Up That Hill, setting several records with the song that has enjoyed a resurgence thanks to Netflix show Stranger Things.
Running Up That Hill peaked at No 3 in the UK upon its original release but has found a new fan base among a younger generation in the latest season of the 1980s-set show about supernatural horrors in the fictional US town of Hawkins in Indiana.
The song, from Bush’s album Hounds of Love, has performed well in music charts in several countries, including the US, since the first volume of Stranger Things season four episodes premiered on Netflix in late May.
Bush, who rose to fame in 1978 with debut single Wuthering Heights in which the then 19-year-old won fans with her unique voice and expressive dance moves, made a rare public comment about the song’s renewed popularity and that she was a ‘fan’ of the sci-fi drama created by brothers Matt and Ross Duffer.
“It’s very touching that the song has been so warmly received, especially as it’s being driven by the young fans who love the shows,” Bush, 63, said in a statement.
“I’m really happy that the Duffer brothers are getting such positive feedback for their latest creation. They deserve it.”
Radio Bahrain’s morning show co-host Ben Weston is not surprised the song is a success again.
“Kate Bush getting to number one demonstrates the power of TV shows to open up older tracks to a whole new audience, and we will probably see more songs like this reach the charts in future,” he told the GDN.
“Running up that Hill was a classic in its day but has probably been overshadowed in the 37 years since release by more iconic ’80s tracks by artists such as Madonna and Michael Jackson.
“Kate Bush is also the oldest woman to score a number one which is definitely something to celebrate. In a world where pop music is entirely disposable, it’s good to see songs like this endure.”
Krazy Kevin, one of the radio jock’s predecessors in Bahrain, now spinning the tunes Down Under on Australia’s Power FM which has a global live streaming following, couldn’t agree more.
“I fell in love with Kate Bush after seeing her sing Wuthering Heights. She was mysterious, quirky, windswept and very different to the singers around at that time,” he told the GDN.
“Her longevity is amazing, so much so that I DJ’d a school disco last week and Running Up That Hill was the most requested song, followed by Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up and Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline!”
In fact, the UK’s Official Charts Company said the singer had achieved three all-time records on Friday: longest time for a single to reach No 1 on the Official Singles Chart – 37 years – as well as oldest female artist to score a No 1 on the Official Singles Chart.
And, 44 years since she last had a No 1 single with Wuthering Heights, Kate Bush now also holds the record for the longest-ever gap between No 1 singles in Official Chart history, it added.
“The way that a new generation of music fans have taken her classic track to their hearts really does cement Kate’s position as an all-time great, if that were at all necessary,” Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot said.
Bush, famously reclusive, hasn’t released any new music in 11 years, almost never gives interviews and has played live only once since 1979 – a 22-night run eight years ago.
Running Up That Hill originally appeared on Bush’s celebrated fifth album Hounds Of Love, which she self-produced and composed largely with a Fairlight CMI – a ground-breaking digital sampling synthesiser.
“When it came out all those years ago it sounded brand new,” BBC 6 Music’s Matt Everitt, told the corporation’s website, “and all these years later, it still sounds like nothing that anybody else has ever done. I think that’s why she’s able to resonate with so many people who are hearing it for the first time.”
According to the singer, the song portrays a couple trying to get into the hearts and minds of each other to strengthen their relationship, with a little divine intervention.
It features as a recurring motif in Stranger Things, obsessively played by one of the teenage protagonists, Max Mayfield, as she struggles to come to terms with her brother’s death.
The series introduced Running Up That Hill to a new generation, but the scale of its success has taken everyone by surprise, the BBC reports.
It is currently the most-streamed song in the world, with more than 57 million global plays last week. On TikTok, videos featuring the #RunningUpThatHill hashtag have been viewed more than 530m times.
And, in addition to the UK, the song is number one in Norway, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Austria, while giving Bush her first ever Top 10 hit in the US.
“I’ve never experienced anything quite like this before!” the star told fans on her official website last week. “It’s all so exciting”.