After four straight weeks of the Billboard charts being taken over by brand new releases by Future, Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar and Harry Styles, the next biggest chart-crasher might end up being a song from nearly four decades ago: Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” from her classic 1985 album Hounds of Love.
The beloved alt-pop single has received a major surge in interest due to its use in the extremely popular ’80s-set Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things, which debuted its fourth season over the weekend (May 27). The new season uses the song in multiple episodes, as a sort of recurring theme for the character of Max Mayfield, played by Sadie Sink.
Billboard reported yesterday that the song had experienced a particularly overwhelming spike in streams on Spotify, with the song rising by 9,900% in U.S. plays from Thursday to Monday (May 30). Indeed, despite pulling in daily streams in the 20,000s as recently as last Thursday, “Running Up That Hill” has since Sunday begun to net millions of U.S. streams on a daily basis, according to Luminate — while also selling thousands of copies daily — and currently sits at No. 1 on both Spotify’s US Daily chart and the iTunes realtime sales chart. It should all add up to the song debuting on a number of Billboard sales and streams charts next week (dated June 11) — and potentially re-entering the all-genre, multi-metric Billboard Hot 100, as well.
How high will it have to get to be the U.K. singer-songwriter’s biggest Hot 100 hit? Not as high as you might think. Despite being one of the most enduring cult-favorite artists of her era, and a multi-time nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — as well as a major pop star in her home country, where she topped the Official Charts with her debut single “Wuthering Heights” in 1978 and returned to the top 10 six times over the next three decades — her Hot 100 success has been relatively limited, with Bush reaching the chart a total of four times, and making the top 40 once.
That one top 40 hit was, of course, “Running Up That Hill,” which peaked at No. 30 on the Hot 100 in November 1985. The song also peaked at No. 13 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart, and No. 34 on Mainstream Rock Airplay. (Billboard did not introduce its Alternative Airplay chart until 1988, but the track likely would’ve fared even better there, with Bush scoring four top 10 hits on the chart in the late ’80s and early ’90s, including the No. 1 “Love and Anger.”)
Kate Bush’s Hot 100 History (song, peak position, peak date)
“The Man With the Child in His Eyes,” No. 85, 3/3/79
“Running Up That Hill,” No. 30, 11/30/85
“Don’t Give Up” (Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush), No. 72, 4/25/87
“Rubberband Girl,” No. 88, 12/25/93
Will “Hill” be able to rack up enough streams, airplay and sales to beat the song’s original No. 30 peak? An older song re-charting that high due to newfound relevance certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented in recent years: Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 Hot 100-topper “Dreams” re-peaked at No. 12 following its explosion on TikTok in 2020. It’s not guaranteed for any major viral hit, though: The closest analog to this phenomenon so far in 2022 is the resurgence in consumption for Nirvana’s 1991 deep cut “Something in the Way” following its double-usage in the blockbuster film The Batman, which launched it to No. 46 on the Hot 100 in March before falling off after just one week.
Still, Bush’s song is currently on pace to challenge and possibly surpass the sales and streams totals that “Something in the Way” posted at its peak — so if it keeps up the momentum, it should be able to at least give its original chart peak a run for its money. You can find out for sure on next week’s charts, which should be unveiled in full on Tuesday (June 7).