“Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush

The premise of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” is obviously a romance with its fair set of issues.  And perhaps biggest amongst them is misunderstanding between the participants as well as a general feeling of fear and insecurity.  This has prompted the singer, who plays the role of one of the lovers, to request a special “deal with God”. She wants Him to miraculously switch her body with that of her partner. In other words, she would become him, and he would become her. She is making this petition under the belief that if such were to transpire she would gain a better understanding of her lover and vice versa.

Meanwhile the titular “hill” seems to be symbolic of the problems which exist in their relationship. So what Kate is basically concluding is that if God granted her request to switch places with her partner, the ensuing insight into his personality and  thought processes would enable them to effectively overcome the issues which exist in their romance. And on a macrocosmic level this alludes to Bush’s belief that it is intrinsically impossible for a man and woman to understand each other.

Lyrics of "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)"

Facts about “Running Up That Hill”

This song was originally entitled “A Deal with God” yet first released on 5 August 1985 under the name “Running Up That Hill”. This was due to Bush’s management’s belief that certain market would be offended by such a song with “God” in its title. However, it was subsequently released on Kate Bush’s album Hounds of Love with the title “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)”.

NME placed “Running Up That Hill” at number three on its 1985 list of “Tracks of the Year”.

Kate Bush remixed this song in 2012. That version was used during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Bush’s remix also reached number 6 on the UK Single Chart.

Meanwhile the 1985 original peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart and number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is noted as being Kate Bush’s biggest hit across the pond.

This track has made its appearance in other forms of pop media, including being featured on the soundtrack of the 1988 movie The Chocolate War. It also served as the theme song to the 1986 BBC series Running Scared.

“Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” was both written and produced by Kate Bush.

The song reached No. 3 in the UK and No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Notable Cover Versions

The English band Placebo released a cover of “Running Up That Hill” in 2003. This cover went on to become the most famous and successful covers of this classic hit. Since its 2003 release, it has been used very extensively in

Other popular versions of this song include the following:

  • Within Temptation’s of 2003
  • Chromatics’ of 2007
  • Jørn Lande’s of 2016
  • Meg Myers’ of 2019

Big Boi talks about “Running Up That Hill”

Usage in “Stranger Things”

“Running Up That Hill” was copiously used in the fourth season of the hit American TV Series, “Stranger Things”. In the said series, it is revealed that this song is the favorite of Max Mayfield (who is one of the key characters in the series). The character is portrayed by American actress, Sadie Sink.

The song’s appearance on “Stranger Things” instantly catapulted it to No. 1 on iTunes. This feat gave the song its first ever number 1 spot on a major singles chart. It later went on to top the UK singles chart in June of 2022! What makes this achievement the more remarkable is that it happened 37 years after the song was originally released in 1985!

Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love” Album

Kate Bush, released the album, “Hounds of Love” on the 16th of September, 1985.

Three recording studios hosted the singer during recording of the album. They include Wickham Farm Home Studio in Welling, Abbey Road Studios in London and Windmill Lane Recording Studios in Dublin.

Kate, being a renowned record producer herself, took up the task of producing the album.

“Hounds of Love” produced one of Kate’s biggest hit singles, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)”.

Success

The album reached No. 1 in the UK and No. 30 on the Billboard 200, becoming the singer’s second album to achieve such a feat in the UK. It has been regarded as her best performing album. Aside from the UK, “Hounds of Love” reached the apex of the Album Top 100 chart in the Netherlands and ranked top-10 in the following countries:

  • Switzerland – 3
  • Sweden – 9
  • Germany – 2
  • France – 9
  • Finland – 4
  • Canada – 7
  • Australia – 6

By 1998, “Hounds of Love” had recorded global sales of over a million copies, earning numerous certifications from several countries including:

  • UK – 2x Platinum
  • Netherlands – Gold
  • Germany – Platinum
  • France – Gold
  • Canada – Platinum

The album has received a number of accolades, including taking the No. 4 spot on Pitchfork’s list, “The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s”. It was No. 10 on the list of the best albums of 1985, published by NME. Readers of UK’s Q magazine in 1998 voted it one of the best albums ever, placing it at No. 48. “Hounds of Love” also made the following lists by Q magazine:

  • No. 20 on “100 Greatest British Albums Ever”, published in 2000
  • No. 3 on “Greatest Album of All-Time by a Female Artist” published in 2002
  • On “40 Best Albums of the ’80s” published in 2006, it was placed at  No. 4

It was No. 10 on Slant Magazine’s 2012 list, “Best Albums of the 1980s”. In 2020, “Hounds of Love” was the 68th best album of all time according to Rolling Stone.

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