Despite being released in 1985, Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush has been given a new lease of life after being featured in the hotly anticipated season 4 of Stranger Things. The track soared to No. 1 on the iTunes chart shortly after the season premiere on the 27th of May. Since then, it has been in the top 10 music charts in a dozen countries, including Bush’s native UK.
The song plays a vital role in the latest season of Stranger Things, being the favorite song of the character Max, played by Sadie Sink. The song has become a particular hit among Gen-Z, who weren’t even born when the song was first released in the mid-1980s, and has flooded TikTok.
Kate Bush herself issued a statement revealing her excitement that her hit song had become gained popularity once again. She wrote that Running Up That Hill has been given “a whole new lease of life by the young fans who love the show” and was surprised to see that it had entered the UK charts again, three decades after initially holding the No. 3 place in 1985.
You can watch the original music video for Running Up That Hill below.
Why was Running Up That Hill chosen to feature as Max’s favorite song?
Stranger Things music supervisor Nora Felder has revealed how she came to choose Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill for one of the most pivotal moments in the series. In an interview with Variety, Nora explained how she was asked by The Duffer Brothers to find a song that resonated with Max’s ‘complex feelings’. For a long time, the script simply said ‘TBD (To Be Decided) Max Song’ as Nora searched about for the perfect song.
After listening to Running Up That Hill she said that:
“It immediately struck me with its deep chords of the possible connection to Max’s emotional struggles and took on more significance as Bush’s song marinated in my conscious awareness.”
However, the process to get the rights to use the hit wasn’t easy. Kate Bush is notoriously selective when it comes to her discography being used in media. To get Kate’s approval, Nora and her clearance coordinator created elaborate scene descriptions to send to Kate and her team to show them how the song would be used.
Fortunately, Kate agreed to let Stranger Things use her song, and acknowledged that she is a big fan of the series. The result? The creation of one of the most praised cinematic moments on Netflix, where Max runs through the Upside Down to return to her friends.