Kate Bush scoring an unexpected smash hit with a 37-year old song? Stranger things, if you can excuse the pun, have happened, but not many. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God), which initially reached No 3 in the UK in 1985, has suddenly soared to the top of the UK and US iTunes charts after featuring in the Netflix series Stranger Things. It has also rocketed to no 4 in the the Spotify Top 200 chart – after a 153% increase in streams – and the Stranger Things effect means it is now the artist’s most-streamed track, toppling the hallowed Wuthering Heights.
Stranger Things – a supernatural/sci-fi horror set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s – is a particular smash with the Generation Z of 10 to 25-year-olds, and so is exposing our vulnerable youth to all manner of audio and visual nostalgia, from period pop to mullet haircuts.
Running Up That Hill – from Bush’s classic album, Hounds Of Love – debuted in the first episode of season four. It plays on the Walkman of one character, and reappears in other key scenes. Running Up The Hill’s lyrics – “If only I could make a deal with God, I’d get him to swap our places” – are apposite and illustrate the power of music as a therapeutic reviving force.
This is not the first time an old tune has enjoyed a surprise Indian summer after featuring in Stranger Things. Limahl’s theme tune for The NeverEnding Story enjoyed an 800% boost in YouTube searches after appearing in season three, upon which the former Kajagoogoo frontman told Entertainment Weekly that he was “very touched” by its resurgence.
Could other songs appearing in season four enjoy some of that Stranger Things effect? Keep your eyes on Dead Or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer, Musical Youth’s Pass The Dutchie and the Cramps’ wonderfully titled cult classic, I Was a Teenage Werewolf to find out.