What Kate Bush says about Running Up That Hill to Emma Barnett on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour

Kate Bush has been talking to Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, and thanks her new fans for taking her song Running Up That Hill to number 1, 37 years after it was first released.

In the world exclusive interview aired on the station today, the singer also revealed why the song originally had a different title.

Reacting to the surprising chart position, after it was featured in the popular Netflix series, Stranger Things, Kate said: “Well it’s just extraordinary. I mean, you know, it’s such a great series, I thought that the track would get some attention. But I just never imagined that it would be anything like this. It’s so exciting. But it’s quite shocking really, isn’t it? I mean, the whole world’s gone mad.”

Emma pointed out that she believes 37 years is the longest time a song has taken to get to number one and that it’s also Kate’s first ever top 10 hit in the US.

“Yeah. What’s really wonderful I think is this is a whole new audience who, in a lot of cases, they’ve never heard of me and I love that,” she responded. “The thought of all these really young people hearing the song for the first time and discovering it is, well, I think it’s very special.”

It was when Emma asked what the song is actually about, if she were to explain it to a new audience, that Kate spoke about its original title.

“I really like people to hear a song and take from it what they want,” she said. “But originally it was written as the idea of a man and a woman swapping with each other. Just to feel what it was like, from the other side. I think for me, this is still called A Deal With God.”

Emma asked: “It wasn’t originally called Running Up That Hill, was it?”

Kate answered: “No, it was called A Deal With God. I think they were just worried, the record company, that it wouldn’t get played on the radio. That people would feel it was a sensitive title.”

She also revealed that she hadn’t listened to the song in ‘a really long time’, and doesn’t listen to her old music, “I never listen to my old stuff. But then you know, when things like this come along, I’m normally involved in something like you know, maybe doing an edit or revisiting the track for some kind of other reason, I’m working on it. So yeah, I hadn’t heard it for a really long time.”

Before the song was used in the TV show, Kate watched Stranger Things from series one onwards so she was familiar with it and says she thought it’s a lovely way for the song to be used in such a positive way.

One of the things she likes about the show is that in a similar way to Harry Potter, where in the early films they were just little kids, and then as the film progressed, it becomes heavier and darker, and they turn into talented, young, adult actors. She says it gives a different connection with something that’s moved through years watching them grow.

Asking about Kate allowing her song to be used in the show, Emma wondered why she was drawn to Stranger Things and if there’s a nostalgia there as well for the 80s?

“Yeah, I think it was a great time,” she responded, “I mean, there was some great music in the 80s, but I think it’s an incredibly exciting time we’re in now I mean, okay, so it’s an awful time on a lot of levels for people. Very difficult. But it’s also a time when incredible things are happening.

“Technology is progressing at this incredible rate. That’s pretty overwhelming, really. But, you know, there’s so many advances in medicine and there are positive things, you just have to look a bit harder to find them at the moment, I think,” she added.

Woman’s Hour is on Radio 4 weekdays at 10am and on BBC Sounds.