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Stranger Things: Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill faced religious backlash | Music | Entertainment

For an entire generation those percussive opening drums and hound-like yelps are instantly recognisable but now an entire new audience has been introduced to the majesty of the queen of 1980s artpop. Her classic 1985 hit Running Up That Hill features in the premiere of  Stranger Things season four, heard on the Walkman of teen Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink). The powerful track then continues to feature as Max’s favourite song throughout the series. Netflix kicked started an entire sub-genre of shows (mainly on Netflix) fuelled by original and imitation 80’s synth pop with the first series of Stranger Things, but the response to Bush’s iconic song has truly gone global.

The lead single from Bush’s fifth studio album, Hounds of Love, rocketed to the top of the iTunes chart last Friday when Stranger Things returned to Netflix for its final series – which will be split into two parts. The first seven episodes are out now, with the second season currently announced with two episodes in July.

Running Up That Hill was a UK number three smash on release but a minor hit in the US, where Bush enjoyed considerably less mainstream success. This is possibly why she lost out this month on a nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She made the shortlist but scored low on the public vote, losing out to the final inductees Duran Duran, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Eurythmics and Eminem.

Bush was absolutely right about Running UP That Hill, which hit number three, as opposed to Cloudbusting’s number 20.

But the original title of A Deal With God was deemed too controversial and provocative, especially when the phrase also has strong connotations with the Devil. It was expected that it would not be played or even sold in Catholic countries and would also face major obstacles across broad swathes of the US and Australia. Bush eventually agreed to change it.

She has also found herself having to explain what the song was actually about.

Bush said: “I was trying to say that, 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’d both be very surprised! And I think it would lead to a greater understanding.

“And really the only way I could think it could be done was either… you know, I thought a deal with the devil, you know. And I thought, ‘well, no, why not a deal with God!’ You know, because in a way it’s so much more powerful the whole idea of asking God to make a deal with you.”


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