Kate Bush Returns to Alternative Airplay Chart After Record 28-Year Break
"Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)" sends the artist back onto the chart for the first time since 1994.
By returning to Billboard‘s Alternative Airplay chart with her revitalized 1985 hit “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” Kate Bush sets a new record for the longest stretch for an artist in lead roles between appearances in the tally’s 33-year history.
“Hill,” which debuts at No. 26 on the list dated June 18, marks Bush’s first Alternative Airplay appearance in over 28 years, dating to the Jan. 29, 1994, survey, when “Rubberband Girl” spent its 11th and final week on the chart after peaking at No. 7 a month before.
That span between entries is by far the longest in the chart’s history in a lead role. Among all acts, it’s the second longest, behind the nearly 29 years between Debbie Harry‘s “Kiss It Better,” which wrapped its run in January 1990, and her featured turn on Just Loud‘s “Soul Train,” which debuted in December 2018.
As for artists, like Bush, in a lead role, the distinction until this week went to Chris Cornell, who went 16 years between the final week of “Can’t Change Me” (December 1999) and “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” (October 2015). However, Cornell made the list multiple times in between as a member of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave.
Similarly, just under 14 years passed between the final appearance of Eddie Vedder‘s “Hard Sun” (March 2008) and “Brother the Cloud” earlier this year, although Vedder’s solo dry spell accompanied multiple Alternative Airplay appearances with Pearl Jam.
Then there’s Sublime, for whom 13 years went by between “Doin’ Time” (December 1997) and the band’s May 2011 return with “Panic.” By then, the group was billed as Sublime With Rome, with Rome Ramirez taking over vocal and guitar duties following the death of frontman Bradley Nowell in May 1996.
Back to Bush: “Hill” is her sixth Alternative Airplay appearance dating to the chart’s September 1988 inception (after “Hill” was originally released in 1985, and nearly a decade after Bush first hit Billboard‘s charts in 1979). She boasts one No. 1, the three-week ruler “Love and Anger” in late 1989, among four top 10s.
Concurrently, “Hill” starts at No. 21 on the all-rock-format, audience-based Rock & Alternative Airplay chart with 1.8 million audience impressions, up 294%, according to Luminate. It’s Bush’s first song to chart on the survey, which began in 2009.
The song is also bubbling under the Pop Airplay, Adult Pop Airplay, Adult Contemporary and Adult Alternative Airplay rankings, where Bush has yet to appear.
As previously reported, “Hill” leaps to No. 1 on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs and Hot Alternative Songs charts and rises to No. 4 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, sparked by its sync in the newly released fourth season of Netflix’s Stranger Things.