In Rare Interview, Kate Bush Raves About ‘Stranger Things,’ Reveals Meaning of ‘Running Up That Hill’

·3-min read

After “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” received its long-awaited flowers — earning Kate Bush her first No. 1 single in the U.K. since 1978 and her first top 10 in the U.S.– the famously private singer has given her first recorded interview in six years. The song’s resurgence, of course, came from its prominent role in Netflix’s popular series “Stranger Things.”

Speaking to Emma Barnett of Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4, Bush discussed the success of her 37-year-old classic.

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“[‘Stranger Things’] is such a great series, I thought that the track would get some attention. But I just never imagined that it would be anything like this,” Bush says at the start of the conversation. “It’s so exciting. But it’s quite shocking really, isn’t it? I mean, the whole world’s gone mad.”

Following the premiere of the sci-fi show’s fourth season, “Running Up That Hill” became the top-selling and most-streamed title in the U.S. Bush released a rare statement on her website shortly after, gushing over her love for the show, which is set in the late ’80s. Reflecting on the era, Bush tells Barnett those years were a “great time” with some “great music,” but adds “It’s an incredibly exciting time we’re in now,” in reference to the evolution of technology and the new generation’s discovery of the track.

In an inadvertently comic moment in the interview, Barnett points to the star’s imprint on TikTok. “Do you know about WitchTok, a subset of TikTok?,” she asks Bush. “It’s inspired by ‘Babooshka‘ and your look in that video. There’s a whole load of people very dedicated to you in that space. Do you know about that?”

Through a fit of laughter, Bush responds, “No I don’t. It sounds ridiculous.”

With the revival of the 1985 classic, Bush has become increasingly popular with younger listeners. That “probably [has older listeners] feeling quite protective at the moment,” poses Barnett, “especially when some of their children are saying, ‘Have you heard of Kate Bush?’ They’re saying ‘Er yes, very much so.”

“I really like people to hear a song and take from it what they want,” Bush replies. “But originally [‘Running Up That Hill’] was written as the idea of a man and a woman swapping with each other. Just to feel what it was like, from the other side,” she says. Bush also disclosed the fact that her label thought the song’s original title (“A Deal With God”) was worrisome, therefore they changed it to “Running Up That Hill.”

Bush says she rarely listens to her older music and hadn’t heard the song in “a really long time,” but credits the Duffer Brothers for taking the song and doing something new with it.

“I think they’ve put it in a really special place. I mean, the Duffer Brothers created the series and, actually, we watched it from the first season onwards, so I was already familiar with the series. And I thought what a lovely way for the song to be used in such a positive way — you know, as a kind of Talisman, almost, for Max. And yeah, I think it’s very touching, actually.”

Bush compared the show to the Harry Potter movies, “Where in those early films they were just little kids, and then as the film has progressed, it becomes heavier and darker. And those little kids turn into really talented, young, adult actors. And you have a different connection with something that’s moved through years really of watching them grow.”

In her own true fashion, Bush gave little detail as to what her life currently is like, but did add that “Gardening is my thing now.”

You can hear the full Woman’s Hour episode and more on Radio 4 weekdays at 10 a.m. local time and on BBC Sounds — unfortunately, only in the U.K.

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