Running Up That Hill: Why great music never gets old

Kate Bush has broken the top ten in countries around the world with her 1985 stormer, 'Running Up That Hill'. We take a deeper look into why, Stranger Things and all, whilst glorifying music of generations gone by

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 9th Jun 2022

So, you're not the biggest fan of TV. You don't partake in mainstream media, you refuse to subscribe to any of the big streaming platforms, the likes of Netflix or Disney, and you'd rather spend your time listening to underground music or out in the real world. Understandable.

Chances are, however, you'll have still heard a certain Kate Bush record recently, namely her 1985 single, 'Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)', ringing out from people's smartphones, cars stereos and basically every other radio station across the land. How does the saying go again? Unless you live under a rock... There's simply no escaping it! It's everywhere and all with thanks to one of the most popular shows on said streaming platforms - Stranger Things. 

Check out the infamous inclusion of 'Running Up That Hill' in the Stranger Things clip below...

Now in its fourth season, the 80s-based sci-fi horror drama became the most watched series of English-language TV in a single week, upon its arrival on May 27th, and featured the track from Kate's seminal LP, Hounds of Love.

Peaking at number thirty in the Billboard charts back when it was first issued, the single is now on a fast track to reaching the top spot after breaking the top ten for the first time ever in more than thirty years. An incredible feat that's even drawn a comment from the usually media shy artist herself. 

Writing a statement via her website, Kate Bush said:

"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."

She wasn't lying when she said the song was charting around the world. Thirty four countries and counting now feature 'Running Up That Hill' within their top ten, amongst them are Germany, Norway, New Zealand and the UK. It's also currently at number two in nearly a dozen other countries, including Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia and, as of earlier this week, it was also the most played song globally on Spotify and Apple, according to The Guardian. 

But why exactly are music fans so in love with 'Running Up That Hill'? Stranger Things aside, why is the record seeing such a huge resurgence in the charts? And what does it say about the current state of modern music?

We've known the answer to the first question for a long time. It's timeless! The combination of tribal drums, airy synth notes and Kate's unmistakable voice will forever be relevant, not that we're at all biased here at Skiddle (Big fans). And ok, Stranger Things has a big part to play in the tracks newfound success, especially when you consider the younger audiences the series has introduced this 80s soundtrack to. But older tracks have been synced or used in TV shows for a long time.

According to Variety Magazine, it's actually very rare for a record to break back into the charts years after it was released. The reintroduction of 'Running Up That Hill' marks the first time since 1992, when Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was featured in American slacker comedy, Waynes World, that a non-Christmas related record has broke back into the top ten.

The eye-opening takeaway point from this revolves around the success the record continues to have over recently released music. Has the need for constant new music brought about a negative change in the quality of musicianship, of writing and of the release itself? Possibly. Have the charts become stagnant with pop formulae used to appease the algorithms of music streaming platforms? Perhaps. Are music fans, both young and old, yearning for a change, looking to the icons of the eras before us for something to break up the monotony? Arguably, yes. 

One thing is for certain, the classics will never get old. The records that bopped back in the day can still strike a note with music fans now. Going forward, we'll be using this certainty to glorify some of the best records of times gone by in a brand new feature - 'Classics Revisited'. Keep an eye out for the first instalment coming this month.



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