Thirty-seven years ago, the British singer-songwriter Kate Bush released the song “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” as part of her album “Hounds of Love.” The single went to No. 3 in Britain and No. 30 in the United States, and took its place as a signature piece of Bush’s catalog — an intense ballad with a driving beat, a playful synthesizer melody and Bush’s dramatic vocals.
Then came “Stranger Things.”
After “Running Up That Hill” was featured prominently in the latest season of “Stranger Things,” the 1980s-period horror-drama on Netflix, the song began to climb the charts again, posting huge numbers on streaming services and catching fire on TikTok. It has now reached No. 2 in Britain — held off only by Harry Styles’s “As It Was” — and this week climbed four spots to reach No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, the standard U.S. pop singles chart, Bush’s highest position ever. It was Spotify’s most streamed track throughout the world last week, with 57.2 million clicks (about a million more than “As It Was”), and is showing no signs of slowing down.
While “Running Up that Hill” has been big on streaming services, radio stations have been slow to play it, giving Styles an advantage when it comes to the Billboard chart. “As It Was” holds at No. 1 on the Hot 100 — which is computed from a song’s success in streaming, sales and airplay — for a sixth week.
“Running Up That Hill” is the latest example of a decades-old song finding surprising success. In 2020, Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” became a streaming hit after an Idaho potato worker made a TikTok video of himself listening to it while drinking Cran-Raspberry juice. And this year, Nirvana’s 31-year-old “Something in the Way” made its first appearance on the Hot 100 after the song was used in “The Batman.”
In a note on her website, Bush, who rarely gives interviews, wrote, “How utterly brilliant!” in response to the song’s chart success. “So many young people who love the show, discovering the song for the first time.” She added:
The response to “Running Up That Hill” is something that has had its own energy and volition. A direct relationship between the shows and their audience and one that has stood completely outside of the music business. We’ve all been astounded to watch the track explode!
On this week’s album chart, the Puerto Rican reggaeton star Bad Bunny jumps one spot to claim his second week at No. 1 with “Un Verano Sin Ti,” beating out Post Malone’s new “Twelve Carat Toothache,” which opens at No. 2 with the equivalent of 121,000 sales, including 128 million streams. Styles’s “Harry’s House,” the top seller for the last two weeks, fell to No. 3. Future’s “I Never Liked You” is No. 4, and Kendrick Lamar’s “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” is in fifth place.