This may be the only time veteran avant-pop artist Kate Bush gets to lead Dirt Bag, and given Jezebel’s historical love affair with her, it seems foolish not to take it. The Bushaissance that’s currently underway in pop music? That’s long been this site’s reality. That’s not a brag; it’s a welcome to the club.
Thanks to its inclusion in the recently released fourth season of Stranger Things, Bush’s 1985 single “Running Up That Hill” has taken off unexpectedly, beyond what anyone could have predicted. Not even TikTok, the standard in the viral-song-to-bonafide-hit pipeline, has spawned a situation quite like this. “Hill” previously peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 around the time of its release—now some 37 years later, it’s launched Bush into the U.S. Top 10 for the first time. The song reenters the latest chart at No. 8. According to Billboard, the song debuted at No. 6 on the streaming chart, at No. 1 on sales, and airplay, though nominal, is way up.
Aside from “Hill,” which had some mainstream penetration, Bush was largely deemed an alternative artist in the U.S. during her active years that spanned the late ‘70s to the early ‘90s. In her homeland of the U.K., the singer-songwriter-producer’s profile was decidedly higher (her debut 1978 single, “Wuthering Heights,” hit No. 1 there). Like her friend Prince and heir apparent Björk, Bush’s gift didn’t lie merely in making pop weird, but making weird pop extremely popular. She was able to make a nearly alien sensibility make sense to a wide swath of listeners outside of the U.S. Her work with sampling, which took over her music in a big way during the recording and post-production of her 1982 masterpiece The Dreaming, was ahead of its time. Well, look at what happened: People finally caught up. And it only took about 40 years. Look no further for proof on what can happen when music is truly timeless.
As mentioned in brief yesterday, Bush released a statement on her website regarding the resurgent popularity of her song (it’s back at No. 8 in the U.K. this week as well). “It’s all really exciting! Thanks very much to everyone who has supported the song,” wrote Bush. No, thank you, Mom!
Here is a bonus picture of Kate Bush standing in front of a Ferrari:
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