Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)
Writer(s): Kate Bush (see lyrics here)
First Charted: August 5, 1985
Peak: 3 US, 28 CB, GR 36, 33 RR, 9 AC, 5 A40, 24 AA, 34 AR, 2 MR, 13 UK, 2 CN, 19 AU, 3 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, 1.45 UK, 2.03 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 210.5 video, 882.38 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
“Running Up That Hill” was released as the lead single for Kate Bush’s fifth album, Hounds of Love. In her native UK, the song reached #3 on the charts, her fifth single to make the top 10. She’d had much less success in the United States where her only chart hit on the Billboard Hot 100 had been 1978’s “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” reaching #85. However, “Hill” gave Bush her solitary top 40 hit in the U.S., going to #30.
The song wasn’t done, though. 37 years later, it was prominently featured in the Netflix TV series Stranger Things as the favorite song of the character Max. This renewed interest in the song and it reached new chart peaks around the globe, hitting #1 in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other countries. In the United States the song climbed all the way to #4 and topped Billboard’s streaming and digital sales charts.
The song was originally called “A Deal with God,” but representatives at EMI Records hesitated to release a song with the word “God” in it. Bush changed the title, but subtitled the song “A Deal with God” on the Hounds of Love album. Executives were also more interested in releasing “Cloudbursting” as the first single but Bush pushed for “Hill” because it was the first song she wrote for the album and she thought it better represented the album. WK
Thematically, the “brutally truthful, painfully sensual song” AMG isn’t about religion, but the differences between men and women. Bush said, “If we could actually swap each others’ roles, if we could actually be in each other’s place for a while, I think we’d both be very surprised! And I think it would lead to a greater understanding.” WK She conceived the idea that “if they could make a deal with God to change places…they’d understand what it’s like to be the other person.” SF The “concept is a flip on the Faustian bargain where one makes a deal with the devil.” SF
First posted 6/15/2022; last updated 2/3/2023.
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