In the strange world of Tik Tok, viral overnight successes and streaming culture, an old rock song that is nearly 40 years old might be surprised to find itself topping the music charts.
It’s a song called Running Up That Hill from the 1985 album Hounds of Love and although the singer-songwriter has maintained a hardcore of fans for decades, she has suddenly found herself with an army of new fans thanks to a sci-fi horror series on Netflix called Stranger Things.
The fourth series broke the streaming giant’s record for the biggest-ever premiere weekend for an English-language series and 63-year-old Kate Bush’s single featured in the first episode. When first released it made number 3 in the UK charts and failed to hit the number 1 spot anywhere in the world.
But thanks to Stranger Things, the track went viral on social media and has topped Spotify’s daily songs chart in the UK, replacing Harry Styles’ As It Was at number one in streaming service’s ranking. Worldwide, it is Spotify’s fourth-most streamed song, and is at the top of the Apple iTunes chart.
Running Up That Hill re-entered the top 10 back in 2012, when it was chosen as one of the songs to be played during the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. It was also the main theme tune to a BBC children’s drama in 1986, called Running Scared.
It prompted some wry observations from diehard fans of the singer whose first chart success came at the age of 19 when she released the haunting Wuthering Heights in 1978. One of them posted: “The funniest part about the resurgence Running Up That Hill is having right now is that Kate Bush herself probably has no idea that it’s happening.”
In a 1985 interview, Bush, who was born in south east London, said the song was about the differences in a relationship between a man and a woman and their attempts to overcome them and truly understand each another. “They love each other very much, and the power of the relationship is something that gets in the way,” she said. “It creates insecurities. It’s saying if the man could be the woman and the woman the man, if they could make a deal with God, to change places, that they’d understand what it’s like to be the other person and perhaps it would clear up misunderstandings. You know, all the little problems; there would be no problem.”
The song appears in the series, which is set in the 1980s, alongside other hits of the time including Psycho Killer by Talking Heads and You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive. Other artists whose songs appear include The Clash, Joy Division, Toto, New Order, Madonna, The Bangles, Foreigner, Echo and the Bunnymen, Queen and Peter Gabriel.
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