‘Stranger Things’ Music Boss ‘Had an Inkling’ That Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ Would Make a Huge Comeback

·3 min read

Stranger Things has done it again: after the first half of the Netflix sci-fi smash’s fourth season helped Kate Bush’s 1985 single “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” soar to a new peak on the Billboard Hot 100 last month, Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” has made its debut on the chart after being featured in the season finale.

The 1986 thrash metal touchstone starts at No. 40 on this week’s chart, thanks to a dramatic sequence in which new Stranger Things fan favorite Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) plays the song on guitar to distract a flock of demonic bats. Following the July 1 premiere of the final two season 4 episodes, “Master of Puppets” surged on streaming services, with daily on-demand U.S. audio streams growing nearly 400% in the first few days of the month compared to its June streaming totals, according to Luminate.

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Not many shows could send an eight-minute, 36-year-old metal song into the top 40 of the Hot 100 in 2022 — but Nora Felder, longtime Stranger Things music supervisor, tells Billboard that she foresaw the newfound interest in “Master of Puppets” following what the show did for Kate Bush listenership last month.

“After the lightning bolt effect that happened with ‘Running Up That Hill,’ I did have an inkling this could resonate in a big way,” Felder says of “Puppets.” “I knew Stranger Things fans would adore this new exciting character, Eddie Munson, and by default embrace his song.”

Indeed, “Master of Puppets” serves as an unofficial anthem for the metal-loving Eddie within the show, in the same way that Bush’s song defined the character of Max (Sadie Sink) in season 4. The dramatic use of “Running Up That Hill” in episode four of the new season helped the song, which had previously peaked at No. 30 on the Hot 100 during its original run, climb as high as No. 4 on the chart in June — a peak that it returns to this week, following the debut of the new season’s final episodes — and morph into an improbable Song of the Summer contender.

Felder believes that the rise of “Running Up That Hill” represents “a testament that amazing songwriters like Kate Bush” can transcend generations and musical trends. “I always felt ‘Running Up That Hill’ felt timeless, and could have been released today,” she says. “So I strongly anticipated that it would chart again. However, with this massively overwhelming response that is still continuing as we speak, I remain completely gobsmacked that it has reached these unprecedented heights. This is truly an exciting moment in music history proving what I’ve always believed, that timeless music and songs can and should live on forever.”

That sentiment extends to Metallica, which scores its 17th career Hot 100 entry and first since 2008, when “The Day That Never Comes” reached No. 31. “It’s an incredible honor to be such a big part of Eddie’s journey,” the band posted to Instagram following the premiere of the season finale, “and to once again be keeping company with all of the other amazing artists featured in the show.”

Felder is “elated” that Stranger Things has introduced, or reintroduced, classic ‘80s songs into their rotations, and given both Bush and Metallica their first Hot 100 hits in over a decade. Just don’t thank her for playing a part in any perceived rock revival, though.

“In relation to ‘Master of Puppets,’  I hear/see people saying things like, ‘Rock is back!’” she says. “But I like to think of it more as, ‘Rock never left.’”

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