Pop: Kate Bush and the calculated force of nature

Thanks to the Netflix series Stranger Things, Kate Bush is enjoying the most lucrative year of her strange career after 37 years with Running Up That Hill

In the garden of her property near East Portlemouth in the southern English county of Devon, which was built very close to a cliff, Kate Bush may be having the spray blown into her face these days and smiling deeply and for a long time to herself. Because Bush, the notoriously public-shy and shy artist, is celebrating an extremely unexpected triumph these days: “Running Up That Hill”, released by Kate Bush in 1985 as the first single of her probably best album “Hounds Of Love” and already a great success at the time set to become the summer hit of the year in 2022. The track is already number one in the UK single charts, as well as in many other countries such as Switzerland, Australia and Sweden. “Running Up That Hill” is currently in fourth place in Germany and the USA – but is currently making massive headway.

“I’m delighted and overwhelmed,” the 63-year-old wrote on her website, “how much support and affection my song is receiving. Everything happens so fast and seems like a force of nature to me.”

Kate Bush lives a secluded life with her husband and guitarist Danny McIntosh

Well, it’s not quite like that. Bush’s house – where she lives with husband and guitarist Danny McIntosh and their son Albert (“Bertie”) – may have to defy the forces of nature in the stormy autumn. Their later hit, however, is above all the result of an excellently functioning marketing strategy. In the episodes of the fourth season of the Netflix mystery/horror/coming-of-age series “Stranger Things”, which were extremely popular with young people between the ages of ten and their late 20s, and which were released at the end of May, “Running Up That Hill” plays a real prime role. The song, already powerful, soulful and rousingly combative, is the favorite song of the grieving character Max, who finds strength and comfort when she hears “Running Up That Hill” on her Walkman.

Clearly the youth of the world identify with this dramatic, slightly nightmarish epic and are clicking on it in huge numbers on their digital devices. Market leader Spotify alone reported 57 million streams last week, and the numbers continue to rise rapidly.

Pioneer of Björk, Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos and many others

It doesn’t matter that most kids may not have heard of Kate Bush, who paved the way for Björk, Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos and many others. Whether Kate Bush’s “holy art” will be trivialized by the teen series, as cultural pessimists claim, remains to be seen. The music of the eighties and the music that sounds like it has been celebrating a renaissance for some time. The songs by stars like The Weeknd (“Blinding Lights”) or Post Malone bring the decade to life, as does the super-successful series “Stranger Things”, which has been running since 2016 and takes place in the early to mid-eighties and is based on “ET”, “Stand By Me” or “Back to the Future”. Incidentally, Kate Bush, who is considered unconventional and headstrong, is also a “Stranger Things” fan. Otherwise she would hardly have released her song for use in the series.

Of course, the Englishwoman is currently earning a whole box full of golden noses. She wrote and wrote the lyrics to “Running Up That Hill” on her own, according to industry service Music Business Worldwide, she owns the song rights. The experts have also calculated what Kate Bush, who last released an album in 2011 and played 22 concerts in London’s “Hammersmith Odeon” in 2014 after decades of live abstinence (and then disappeared again), just about earns: around 300,000 euros per week. Note: You can very well get rich or even richer through streaming, you just have to be streamed very, very often.

The previous age record holder Cher has already congratulated

The records that Kate Bush has broken in recent days are spectacular. No artist has ever had as long a gap between two number one hits in the UK charts as Bush did between “Wuthering Heights” (her first, wonderfully quirky, world hit at 19) and “Running Up That Hill”. No song has ever taken longer from release to the top of the charts – 37 years – to rocket to No. 1, and no woman in UK Singles Chart history has been older than 63-year-old Kate Bush. Previous age record holder Cher (52 when she topped 1998’s Believe) was also quick to congratulate her.

Nirvana and Fleetwood Mac have also made digital comebacks

Also, “Running Up That Hill” is by no means the first older song to suddenly go through the roof through the internet or a film work. Recently, Nirvana’s “Something In The Way” exploded in streaming numbers after the final song from the “Nevermind” album was used in the movie “The Batman”. And in 2020, a TikTok video of the skateboarding and cranberry juice drinking Nathan Apocada not only catapulted the 43-year-old Fleetwood Mac classic “Dreams” to the front again – it even encouraged Mick Fleetwood to create his own TikTok clip.

And as far as the fourth “Stranger Things” season is concerned, the pasture of potential revival hits is far from grazed. “Pass The Dutchie” by Musical Youth, “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” by Dead Or Alive or last but not least The Cramps with their cult classic “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” should definitely be kept in mind.

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