As you know if you’ve been watching the fourth and final season of Stranger Things, the fourth season’s use of a nearly 40 year old song has revived the single and brought it back to the pop charts. “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush — originally released on the 1985 album Hounds of Love — played multiple times throughout the new season and it’s made a huge impression on fans of the Netflix series. Now Bush herself is speaking up to let fans know how grateful she is for the revival.
On Kate Bush’s official website, the singer/songwriter wrote, “You might’ve heard that the first part of the fantastic, gripping new series of Stranger Things has recently been released on Netflix. It features the song, ‘Running Up That Hill’ which is being given a whole new lease of life by the young fans who love the show – I love it too! Because of this, Running Up That Hill is charting around the world and has entered the UK chart at No. 8. It’s all really exciting! Thanks very much to everyone who has supported the song. I wait with bated breath for the rest of the series in July.” You can see the original official video for the song below.
SPOILERS follow for Stranger Things season 4 — “Running Up That Hill” is much more than just background music for the final season of Stranger Things; nor does it simply feed into the show’s palpable eighties nostalgia. The song quite literally saves the life of Max (Sadie Sink). In the fourth episode of the new season, “Dear Billy,” the powerful Vecna uses his psychic abilities in hopes of killing Max just as he has other Hawkins teens. When Max finds herself under his spell, her friends come up with the plan to reach her by playing her favorite song, which is Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.” After her escape, she continues playing the tune on her walkman whenever she can, to ward off Vecna should he try to kill her again.
In a discussion with Vanity Fair, the Stranger Things music supervisor Nora Felder explained that while Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” was the song she wanted for new season, she had to work hard to get the chance to use it. Felder said the Duffer Brothers approached her with the challenge of finding a song that a teen would be listening to in 1986, and that would also speak to the “sense of isolation and depression” Max experienced after the death of her brother — Billy (Dacre Montgomery) who dies at the end of the previous season. Felder said “Running Up That Hill” came to mind immediately, but there was a problem: Kate Bush is known for refusing to approve the uses of her songs in TV series and movies. Felder said she worked overtime to prepare footage and scripts for Bush to review so the singer would know exactly how the song was being used. Stranger Things was hit with a stroke of good luck — it just so happens Bush was already a fan of the show, and she gave the song use her seal of approval.
The way Stranger Things has breathed new life into Kate Bush’s song is amazing, but not completely unprecedented. Older fans — or simply avid followers of pop culture — may recall how the Righteous Brothers’ 1965 cover of “Unchained Melody” once again found itself on the top of the pop charts because of its use in the 1990 fantasy romance Ghost.