Kate Bush's Stranger Things-boosted rise in recent visibility has helped usher her into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
There’s no doubt that one of the biggest songs of the last year could be heard in Stranger Things’ fourth season when Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” played during one of the show’s most intense scenes of all time. According to Variety, although she’s been nominated before, this pop culture resurgence was just the thing that the legendary singer needed to be welcomed into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year. Clearly having her name associated with the likes of the Duffer Brothers hit series which stars the likes of Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown, turned out to be a career-changing boost.
Although many of us will either remember hearing “Running Up That Hill” when it first came out all the way back in the ‘80s or listening to it a handful of years later via an older sibling or parent, for the youngest generation, Stranger Things served as a gateway to Kate Bush’s masterful hit. A nostalgic bit of music packed with synthesizers and other melodic effects, the pairing of Bush’s incredible voice and heartfelt lyrics have solidified the song’s place in music history.
Her Stranger Things resurgence lands Kate Bush on a list of fellow 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees including Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, George Michael, and the Spinners. With each of these well-known and celebrated names having decades-spanning careers in the music industry during which they’ve each made massive contributions to the craft, there’s not a name on the list that doesn’t belong. But, as with any award of this type, some didn’t make it in with this year’s snubs including A Tribe Called Quest, Joy Division/New Order, Iron Maiden, and Cyndi Lauper.
In case you forgot that pinnacle Stranger Things Season 4 moment that used Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”, the scene is set with the friends gathered around the grave of Max’s (Sadie Sink) brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery). It’s here that she goes into a trance and is hunted by the show’s latest big bad, Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). While she and the brutal killer standoff against one another in the Upside Down it’s the cheers from her friends set to Bush’s percussive tune that pull Max back from the breaking point and return her to her body.
It’s certainly a dark scene that sees Max facing down her worst fears and regrets after visibly struggling with the gruesome death of her brother during the season, wishing that, as the song says, she could “swap places” with him. Of course, Vecna uses this to his advantage when trying to drive Max to suicide while torturing her with thoughts of her beloved sibling. At the heart of it all, the Stranger Things moment is made all the stronger with Kate Bush’s song playing in the background as Max stands up to Vecna and her inner demons.
Season 5 of Stranger Things is (allegedly) on the way and, because it’s the show’s final installment, we can likely expect more stellarly crafted scenes held together with songs by artists like Kate Bush. While no plot details have been revealed, we know that the Duffer Brothers and the rest of the cast and crew will pour their all into the show’s final hurrah.