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‘Stranger Things’ ushers in a Kate Bush renaissance

Singer Kate Bush, pictured in April 1980, is experiencing a new wave of success after the Netflix series “Stranger Things” featured her song “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” in its latest season. (John Glanville/AP Photo)
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Kate Bush, the English singer-songwriter known for her ethereal voice, has found her way into the hearts of yet another generation thanks to a music cue from the latest season of “Stranger Things.”

“Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” which peaked at No. 3 on the U.K. Singles Chart upon its release in 1985, returned to the top tier of music after playing in the Netflix series’ fourth season, which premiered late last month. The song jumped from No. 8 up to No. 2 on the U.K. chart as of Monday, according to Billboard, and reached No. 8 on the U.S.-based Hot 100 — marking Bush’s first time in its top 10.

As of Monday, “Running Up That Hill” was also the No. 1 streamed song on Spotify’s daily global chart with 8.42 million streams.

Bush, who tends to keep to herself, issued a rare statement in response to the boost in popularity.

The song “is being given a whole new lease of life by the young fans who love the show — I love it too!” she recently wrote on her website, adding that “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.”

“Stranger Things,” a sci-fi series about teenagers in 1980s Indiana, draws from music of that era. In written statements shared with members of the media, music supervisor Nora Felder said she chose “Running Up That Hill” because it resonated with the pain and loss afflicting one of the show’s young characters, Max (Sadie Sink), and “could be very special for its powerful melodic flow and very poignant themes.”

Actors Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp, Priah Ferguson and Cara Buono attended a lighting ceremony at the Empire State Building on May 26. (Video: Reuters)

After getting approval from series creators Matt and Ross Duffer, referred to collectively as the Duffer brothers, Felder and her clearance coordinator reached out to Bush for permission to use the track. The singer is known to be picky with how her music is used, but turned out to be a fan of the show.

“I’ve always felt that this song was so timeless and deserves to be heard for years to come,” Felder said. “I think it’s struck a chord for so many people because it really touches on the alienation and emotional struggle that so many of us go through at one point or another in life, especially as teenagers. Music gives us validation and strength, especially when we aren’t feeling supported or understood by others.”

This isn’t the first time Bush, who achieved massive success in the late 1970s with her debut, Emily Brontë-inspired single “Wuthering Heights,” has been embraced by a younger generation. As NME noted early last year, her 1980 single “Babooshka” went viral on TikTok and contributed to thousands of videos featuring the song in some way. The NME article pointed out that Bush appealed to a subset of the app known as WitchTok, given her general aura and cloaked appearances in the original “Babooshka” music video.

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