Kate Bush’s track ‘Running Up That Hill’ has reached the summit of the UK charts – a remarkable 37 years since it was released – thanks to Stranger Things and a recent rule change.
The 1985 track’s prominence in the hit sci-fi Netflix series has given it a storming success in recent weeks, introducing the New Wave track to a legion of new fans both in the UK and around the world. In doing so, Kate has simultaneously broken three records – for each of which you’d expect a long time until their surpassed again.
First, she boasts the longest ever gap between UK Number 1 singles, with her track the 44 years between today and 1978’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ beating Tom Jones’s 42-year gap between ‘Green Green Grass of Home’ and charity single ‘(Barry) Islands in the Stream’, released in 2009.
‘Running Up That Hill’ now also claims the record for having the longest recorded time taken to reach Number 1 spot; the 37 years it took to achieve this overtaking the 36 years it took Wham! to reach Number 1 with ‘Last Christmas’.
What’s more, Kate is now the oldest female artist to score a Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart. At 63 years and 11 months, she replaces Cher, who was 52 when ‘Believe’ topped the Official Singles Chart in 1998. This places her fifth on the all-time list of oldest artists to score a UK Number 1 single.
It’s equally impressive, too, considering she was able to knock off Harry Styles’ ‘As It Was’, which seemed like it could do no wrong after a 10-week run atop the UK charts.
It is currently the most-streamed song in the world, with more than 57 million global plays last week, whilst videos featuring the #RunningUpThatHill on TikTok have been viewed more than 530 million times.
Despite its success when Stranger Things first aired – charting at number eight when the show premiered – it had been held back due to a quirk in the way the charts are calculated, whereby older songs had to achieve 200 streams to register a “sale” compared to 100 for recent releases.
The logic for this was that the Top 40 should consist of new music as opposed to people’s favourite classics. However, after EMI successfully request a sales ratios “reset” following the song’s success from the show, the chart-topping road was paved for Kate to run all the way to the top.
Kate Bush, who has rarely given interviews until the recent success brought her back into the limelight, said today: “The Duffer Brothers [the producers behind the Netflix show] have created four extraordinary series of Stranger Things in which the child actors have grown into young adults.
“In this latest series, the characters are facing many of the same challenges that exist in reality right now. I believe the Duffer Brothers have touched people’s hearts in a special way at a time that’s incredibly difficult for everyone, especially younger people.
“By featuring Running Up That Hill in such a positive light – as a talisman for Max (one of the main female characters) – the song has been brought into the emotional arena of her story. Fear, conflict and the power of love are all around her and her friends. I salute the Duffer Brothers for their courage – taking this new series into a much more adult and darker place. I want to thank them so much for bringing the song into so many people’s lives.
“I’m overwhelmed by the scale of affection and support the song is receiving, and it’s all happening really fast, as if it’s being driven along by a kind of elemental force. I have to admit I feel really moved by it all. Thank you so very much for making the song a No.1 in such an unexpected way.”
Given the rule change that aided Kate’s achievement, many are now speculating that it will open the door for other old-time classics to rise the ranks in the charts. We’ll have to see about that later down the line. For now, this is Kate Bush’s moment entirely.