Kate Bush Enjoys a (Long-Overdue) Revival, Sparked by Season 4 of Stranger Things

There’s nev­er been a bad time for a Kate Bush revival. Those who lived through the 1980s may always asso­ciate her biggest songs with their mem­o­ries. Fans who only know the 80s by way of Net­flix know it by proxy and don’t suf­fer from nos­tal­gia. But what­ev­er Kate’s big, reverb-soaked drums, big Fairlight synths, big hair, and enor­mous vocals evoke for audi­ences now, one thing is cer­tain: Kate Bush’s music is time­less.

Rebec­ca Nichol­son sums up the sen­ti­ment in a Guardian post on the renais­sance Bush is now enjoy­ing, thanks to the use of her 1985 hit, “Run­ning Up That Hill (Deal With God)” in the new sea­son of Net­flix hit series, Stranger Things: “If any song can steel itself against over famil­iar­i­ty, it’s ‘Run­ning Up That Hill.’ Whether it is for the first time or the 500th time, you still hear it now and think, what the hell was that? And then you play it again.”

Not to spoil, but the love of a per­fect pop song after innu­mer­able rep­e­ti­tions plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in the plot of Stranger Things’ Sea­son 4, just one of the wink­ing crit­i­cal touch­es in the show’s use of 80s cul­ture as com­men­tary on the present. (If you haven’t seen the show yet, maybe skip the clip below.) Can we find the same com­forts in our dis­pos­able pop cul­ture, the show seems to ask? Maybe we need musi­cal guid­ance from an icon like Kate Bush now more than ever.

When the show’s pro­duc­ers approached Bush about using the song, she dis­played her usu­al ret­i­cence. Since her break­out debut sin­gle, “Wuther­ing Heights” and the result­ing album and tour, she has shunned the press and stage, pre­fer­ring to com­mu­ni­cate with videos and tak­ing sev­er­al years off, only to return onstage recent­ly after 35 years, to the delight of stal­wart fans world­wide. Now, since Stranger Things’ new release, “a new gen­er­a­tion is tap­ping ‘who is Kate Bush?’ into the search bar,” Nichol­son writes.

The song is already back in the UK top 10 (where it hit no. 3 orig­i­nal­ly), and it should “at least give its orig­i­nal chart peak a run for its mon­ey” in the US, where it only reached no. 30, Bill­board com­ments. For those who need an intro­duc­tion, the Trash The­o­ry video at the top, “Run­ning Up That Hill: How Kate Bush Became the Queen of Alt-Pop,” will get you caught up on one of the most bril­liant — and under­rat­ed, in the US — pop stars of the past forty years.

Despite show­ing her usu­al cau­tion, how­ev­er, when the show’s pro­duc­ers sent Bush a script and an expla­na­tion of how “Run­ning Up That Hill” would be used, she revealed that she was already a fan of the show and agreed to the song’s licens­ing, some­thing the 63-year-old singer almost nev­er does. Then, she made a rare pub­lic 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. 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.  
         Best wish­es,

Fans of the show all wait, with Kate, for its return, but not near­ly as eager­ly as fans of Kate Bush await­ed a sign from their idol for decades, a self-made artist who defined her era by nev­er bow­ing to its dic­tates. Now, we hope, she’s come back to stay for a while.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Revis­it Kate Bush’s Pecu­liar Christ­mas Spe­cial, Fea­tur­ing Peter Gabriel (1979)

Watch a Tow­er­ing Orches­tral Trib­ute to Kate Bush: A 40th Anniver­sary Cel­e­bra­tion of Her First Sin­gle, “Wuther­ing Heights”

The Largest Ever Trib­ute to Kate Bush’s “Wuther­ing Heights” Chore­o­graphed by a Flash­mob in Berlin

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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