Kate Bush, 63, may have not released an album in more than a decade, but she’s back in the Top 10 — with a 37-year-old track. That’s because her song “Running Up That Hill” — often subtitled “(A Deal With God)” prominently turns up in Season 4 of Stranger Things, one of the most-watched shows in Netflix history.
For some context (light spoilers ahead), while the character Max Mayfield — played by Sadie Sink — mourns her half-brother Billy’s demise, she salves her grief by listening to the 1985 hit on repeat. And such is its spiritual power that it eventually saves her from the clutches of the ghoulish Vecna.
In the nick of time, Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLoughlin), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) and Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) play the song and deliver her from certain death. The Hounds of Love song’s heartfelt incorporation into the scene — and season — was enough to warrant a rare response from Bush herself.
So, where’s Kate Bush been all this time — and what’s she up to these days? Here’s a quick rundown of a few recent career updates.
When Did Kate Bush Last Release Music?
Bush’s most recent album came out eleven years ago; in 2011, Fifty Words for Snow was released to near-universal critical acclaim. The Guardian said it’s “packed with the kind of ideas you can’t imagine anyone else in rock having,” while Consequence gave it an A- in a glowing review.
That year, Bush expressed frustration with the length between album releases. “I wish there weren’t such big gaps between them,” she told the BBC. Still, Bush denied she was a perfectionist: “I thinkBush Has Largely Stepped Away From Live Performances it’s important that things are flawed,” she said.
She Turned Down the 2012 Olympic Closing Show in London
That happened a year later, in 2012; according to reports, Bush had agreed to perform, but due to her reluctance to appear in public, a pre-recorded remix of “Running Up That Hill” was used instead. Still, it wasn’t that unheard of: David Bowie and the Sex Pistols also declined to participate.
Bush Has Largely Stepped Away From Live Performances
However, in 2014, Bush performed her first shows in 35 years. The “Before the Dawn” residency, which entailed 22 nights at the Hammerstein Apollo in London, received rave reviews; a live recording followed in 2016. The nearly two-hour set included hits like “Hounds of Love,” “Joanni” and of course, “Running Up That Hill.”
She Published A Book Of Lyrics in 2018
The year 2018 brought How to Be Invisible, a career-spanning and carefully curated book of Bush’s lyrics that featured an introduction from Cloud Atlas author and longtime Bush fan David Mitchell. “For millions around the world Kate is way more than another singer-songwriter: she is a creator of musical companions that travel with you through life,” Mitchell said in a press release at the time. “One paradox about her is that while her lyrics are avowedly idiosyncratic, those same lyrics evoke emotions and sensations that feel universal.”
That year, Bush also released her remastered catalog in the form of boxed sets, with 2019’s The Other Side as something of a sampler platter.
In 2021, She Fought For Music Creators
In 2021, Bush was among the signatories — including Paul McCartney and Annie Lennox — of an open letter aiming to reword the 1988 Copyright Act. “For too long, streaming platforms, record labels and other internet giants have exploited performers and creators without rewarding them fairly,” the letter, which was signed by 156 artists, noted. “We must put the value of music back where it belongs — in the hands of music makers.”
Stranger Things Brought Her Back
Bush may have led a quiet semi-retirement over the past several years, but her vaulting back into the conversation speaks to her profound resonance with younger generations — and Bush is equally thrilled to be here, as her statement noted. “You might’ve heard that the first part of the fantastic, gripping new series of Stranger Things has recently been released on Netflix,” she wrote on her site. “It features the song, ‘Running Up That Hill’ which is being given a whole new lease of life by the young fans who love the show — I love it too!”
“Because of this, ‘Running Up That Hill’ is charting around the world and has entered the US and UK charts at No. 8,” she continued, adding that the overall development was “really exciting!”