Running Up That Hill, Again? Where Was It The First Time?
Maybe I am crazy but I can’t remember “Running Up The Hill” by Kate Bush when it first made the scene in 1985. Then again, there’s a lot I don’t remember about 1985.
I decided to look into this because in 1985 I was knee deep in studying “Rick Dees and the Weekly Top 40” along with “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem“ so I am a little confused why I wasn’t familiar with this song.
After doing a little research I think I know why. First, it really wasn’t a “big hit” in the USA. I think you are seeing a lot of “media hype” about that part. Here’s the reality.
In 1985 ,”Running Up That Hill” reached number three on the UK Singles Chart and number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. So, yes, it cracked the top 40 but it never reached the Top 10. So, I suppose….you can call it a “Top 40” hit accurately but let’s face it. A lot of songs are a top 40 hit that are not very memorable.
For example, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash only ever made it to No. 45 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1982. Also, “Tiny Dancer“ (one of Elton John’s most recognizable songs) peaked on the Hot 100 chart in the No. 41 spot in 1972.
So, I guess the Billboard charts don’t always give you the big picture. Still, the song was received much more favorably across the pond. The Brit’s loved it.
Kate Bush won her first Brit Award, the equivalent of a Grammy in the US, in 1987. However, a year before, the English singer was nominated three times. “Running Up That Hill” was nominated for Best British Single and “Hounds of Love” was nominated for Best British Album.
Bush was also nominated for Best British Female, the award which eventually won in 1987 and has been nominated for six times.
So, I suppose, when you hear about this song being a “hit again” you have to factor in the success it had in England in the 1980s. All that aside, it is a great fit for “Stranger Things” appearing throughout many episodes of the Netflix series.
If you are a fan of the show….perhaps there is a possible clue on what might happen in Season 5 of Stranger Things. The song is about men and women switching roles.
Kate Bush has gone on record saying in a 1992 interview:
“I was trying to say, really, a man and a woman can’t understand each other because we are a man and a woman and if we could actually swap each other’s roles, if we could actually be in each other’s place for a while, I think we both will be very surprised and I think it would lead to a greater understanding. – Kate Bush”
After being featured in the fourth season of Stranger Things, Spotify revealed streams for the song increased by 9,900% in the United States. The single re-entered the UK top 10 at number eight – reaching number two the following week.
But what about the United States?
This year, “Running Up That Hill” re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 on the chart on June 11, 2022 at number eight, an improvement on the single’s initial 1985 peak of number 30. The song reached number four the following week, becoming Bush’s first single to reach the American top five. The song also charted on Billboard’s rock charts, and peaked at number one on both Hot Alternative Songs and Hot Rock & Alternative Songs and debuted at number 26 on the Alternative Airplay chart.
It’s a big hit. So much so that Kate Bush had to make a statement on her website:
“You might’ve heard that the first part of the fantastic, gripping new series of ‘Stranger Things’ has recently been released on Netflix,” Bush said. “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.”
I’m looking forward to more re-kindling of 80s nostalgia.