Max’s Favourite Song in Stranger Things Season 4 Revives 1985 Chart Topper and Sends it to Number 1 in UK and USA | Kate Bush

5 min read

Allow us a small indulgence. We’ve been fans of Kate Bush from the 70’s and 80’s. Now there is a whole new revival for a whole new generation of fans for the EDM pioneer.

Kate Bush has thanked fans of the Netflix series “Stranger Things” after her song “Running Up That Hill (Make a Deal with God)” was used in opening episode of the fourth season when Max escapes the clutches of Vecna.

‘Running Up That Hill’  (RUTH) has officially reached No. 1 in the UK charts, 37 years after its release. Originally featured on the English artist’s 1985 album ‘Hounds of Love’, the single has seen widespread success.

Over the last couple of weeks, the single has been steadily climbing the UK Charts, reaching No. 2, before officially hitting the top spot in the last few days. It marks Bush’s second-ever UK Number One single, 44 years after her debut single ‘Wuthering Heights’ topped the charts.

‘Running Up That Hill’ is currently the UK’s most-streamed song, averaging 700,000 plays per day on Spotify. Upon its original release in August 1985, ‘Running Up That Hill’ entered the UK Singles Chart at number nine, and eventually peaked at number three — her second-highest single peak. Doubling up as Bush’s first 12-inch single, it also became her most successful release of the 1980s.

As well as reaching the top of the charts in countries such as Norway and Austria, the single also hit number eight in the Billboard Top 100 Singles — the first time any song by Bush has appeared in a US Top 10. Bush also landed her first-ever Billboard Number One album, when ‘Hounds of Love’ claimed the top spot in Billboard’s Top Alternative Albums earlier this month.

It is also Number Four in Top Rock Albums, and Number 28 in the All Genre charts, bagging 17,000 equivalent album units in the week to 2nd June — a surge of more than 2000% compared with demand before the show’s arrival.

‘Hounds of Love’ made the Billboard Top 40 when it was originally released in the US. In the UK — where it is certified double-platinum — it became Bush’s second Number One album, earning her three Brit Awards nominations: Best British Album, Best British Female, and Best British Single (‘Running Up That Hill’). 1.1million copies of the LP had been sold worldwide by 1998, making it the artist’s best-selling LP to date.

In a recent statement, Bush said: “The track is being responded to in so many positive ways. I’ve never experienced anything quite like this before! I just want to say a really big thank you to everyone in the U.S. who has supported the song. It’s the first time I’ve had a top ten single over there and now it’s in the top 5! Thank you so much again to the Duffer Brothers — because of their latest, extraordinary series of Stranger Things, the track is being discovered by a whole new audience.”

Writing on her website, 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!”

She continued: “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. Best wishes, Kate.”

Bush rarely allows permission for her tracks to be used in TV series, but it was revealed that she had done so in this case as she is a fan of Stranger Things. Her publisher Wendy Crowley recently said about the use of the track: “Kate Bush is selective when it comes to licensing her music and because of that, we made sure to get script pages and footage for her to review so she could see exactly how the song would be used.”

All ten of Kate Bush’s studio albums have reached the UK Top 10, including number one albums ‘Never For Ever’ (1980), ‘Hounds of Love’ and the 1986 compilation ‘The Whole Story’.

Released in 1985, Kate Bush’s iconic fifth album, ‘Hounds Of Love’, saw her perfecting her experiments in sampling technology, drum machines and synthesizers, and opening up a whole new world of creative possibilities. For a generation of music fans at the dawn of dance music, ‘Hounds Of Love’ got electronic music settled deep into a collective psyche.

There is a tendency to view electronic music pioneers as outliers working on the edges of the musical landscape, undiscovered geniuses blazing a trail that will only be appreciated long after they shuffle off this mortal coil. Understandable as this is — who, frankly, doesn’t love an undiscovered genius? — the truth is a little more complicated. Musical history shows that for every Maryanne Amacher, there is a Jean-Michel Jarre; for every unknown electronic trailblazer, there is a break-out star who hid their innovation in plain view.

Kate Bush belongs very much in the latter category. As a vast star in her native Britain and a hugely respected artist worldwide, Bush isn’t exactly lacking in acclaim. All the same, she doesn’t get the respect she deserves as an innovator in electronic music, one who helped to explore early sampling technology and the use of drum machines and synths.

People will talk for hours about Bush’s genius songwriting and conceptual art; but they will probably mention the iconic ‘Wuthering Heights’ dance before they get to her use of the Fairlight CMI sampler, an impressively chunky and reassuringly expensive piece of electronic kit, first released in 1979, that Kate Bush made her own. When you make the connection, though, a whole new light opens up on the Kate Bush world, with ‘Hounds Of Love’, her fifth studio album, the jewel in the electronic crown.

‘Hounds Of Love’ wasn’t the first album on which Kate Bush explored the world of electronic music. There were dashes of synthesizer on ‘Oh To Be In Love’ on her debut album ‘The Kick Inside’, with the synth also peeking through on three songs on her follow up, ‘Lionheart’. But Bush really opened up to the possibilities of electronic music on her third studio album, ‘Never For Ever,’ in which she rocketed away from the orchestral pop of her first two records in favor of something more eccentric, embracing electronic instruments such as the Fairlight, the Prophet 5 synth, and the Minimoog, after apparently being introduced to a wealth of new technology by Peter Gabriel. The Fairlight would feature heavily on Bush’s next record, 1982’s ‘The Dreaming’, a bewildering, maximalist gem that Bush would later call “mad.”

But it was on ‘Hounds Of Love’, released in September 1985 after a lengthy gestation period, that Bush perfected the combination of music and technology, the avant and the popular, to create an album so perfect it seemed to fall from the sky. The genesis of ‘Hounds Of Love’ dates back to 1983, when Bush decided to build her own studio in the barn behind her family house.  She kitted it out with the most up-to-date equipment, including a LinnDrum machine and the Fairlight CMI, which she used to compose most of her new album. Working in her own studio gave Kate Bush freedom, with the recording of ‘Hounds Of Love’ taking place over two liberating years, allowing her to dream up a mind-boggling mixture of progressive pop, song cycles and unlikely instrumental choices, all presided over by her new sampling toy.

Even today, ‘Hounds Of Love’ remains one of the most perfectly poised electronic music records, an album where digital technology and acoustic instruments blend into an entirely seamless cyborg mix, with technology employed as a means to an end, rather than as a destination in itself. If ‘Hounds Of Love’ is overlooked as a pioneering electronic album, then maybe that’s the point: It flourishes as a beautiful whole, a gorgeous work of art that doesn’t call attention to its composite parts or the hard labor behind it.

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