Kate Bush is back in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart for only the third time since the 1980s, after her song Running Up That Hill found a new global audience via Netflix drama Stranger Things.
Running Up That Hill, which reached number 3 on its initial release in 1985, reached number 8 this week based on streams and downloads. After a slow start to the week when he was well outside the Top 100, his popularity grew as listeners searched for him following the premiere of the fourth season of Stranger Things last Friday; Running Up That Hill plays a key role in the fourth episode.
It is now the most-streamed song daily on Spotify in the US and UK, just ahead of Harry Styles’ As It Was on Spotify’s global chart, and in the same No. 2 position on Apple Music. The song is also expected to rank high on the US charts, which are announced on Tuesday.
This is Running Up That Hill’s third UK Top 10 appearance; it also re-entered in 2012 after being used in the closing ceremony of the Olympics. For this version, Bush re-recorded the song at a slightly lower pitch to accommodate the changes in his voice.
Bush reached the UK Top 10 six more times. She overcame it with her debut single Wuthering Heights in 1978, then had the Top 10 with The Man With the Child in His Eyes; the live EP Kate Bush on Stage; Babushka; Don’t Give Up (his duet with Peter Gabriel); and King of the Mountain, her comeback single in 2005, after more than a decade of no recording. Twelve of his albums reached the Top 10, including three No. 1.
The latest hit from Running Up That Hill demonstrates the cultural power of supernatural thriller Stranger Things, which recorded the biggest premiere weekend ever on Netflix, with viewers spending 287 million hours watching the first seven episodes. The rest of the season will be released in July.
With its distinctive martial rhythm, spectral synth sounds and a commanding vocal performance by Bush, Running Up That Hill is one of the most critically acclaimed songs of the 1980s. Bush spoke about the song in a 1986 interview :
It is indeed two people who love each other, a man and a woman, and the idea is that they could exchange places… The man being the woman and vice versa and they would understand each other better. In some ways [the song is] talking about the basic differences between men and women, I guess trying to break down those barriers, being in someone else’s shoes; figure out how they see it and hope that it would eliminate problems in the relationship.
At No. 1 this week is Styles, with As It Was in its ninth week at the top, and his album Late Night Talking at No. 4. British singer-songwriter Cat Burns is at No. 2, the position highest to date for his slow-burn hit Go, which was released in July 2020. It will be a tough challenge for the top next week, with a duet version with Sam Smith to be released on Monday.
In the albums chart, Liam Gallagher scores a fourth No. 1 solo with new album C’mon You Know, while his new live album, Down By the River Thames, reaches No. 4. Def Leppard reaches the Top 5 for the first time in 26 years with the new album Diamond Star Halos.
Queen, who will perform at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace on Saturday, have become the first British band to reach 1,000 weeks for an album on the Albums Chart. Their greatest hits album (at No. 18 this week) trails similar best hits packages from Bob Marley (1,032 weeks) and Abba (1,048 weeks). The latter returns to the Top 10 this week thanks to the band’s Abba Voyage live show which kicked off in a bespoke arena in east London last weekend.
Also sneaking into the Top 20 singles in time for the platinum jubilee is a commemorative track with a difference: punk band The Kunts, with their song Prince Andrew Is a Sweaty Nonce. It is the Essex band’s third Top 20 hit, having reached number 5 twice, in 2020 and 2021, with songs criticizing Boris Johnson in equally robust terms.