Flashback: Kate Bush’s Seminal “Running Up That Hill”

Mike Wass | July 30, 2019 6:49 pm
Kate Bush's 'And Dream Of Sheep' Video
The UK pop star teases live LP, 'Before The Dawn,' with 'And Dream Of Sheep.'

Kate Bush has only released two studio albums (of new material) in the last 25 years, but she remains the muse of every interesting synth-pop diva in the music business. In honor of the great auteur’s 61st birthday, I thought I’d throw it back to her biggest US hit. Which isn’t “Wuthering Heights” as I initially assumed. Instead, that honor goes to 1985’s eerily beautiful “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God).” The track, which became a hit all over again in 2012 thanks to a remix, was the lead single from Hounds Of Love.

That album produced some of the best pop singles of the ’80s (“Cloudbusting” and the title track are stone cold classics), but there’s an edge to “Running Up That Hill” that really sets it apart. Which is not the norm for a love song. “I was trying to say that… a man and a woman can’t understand each other because we are a man and a woman,” Kate told BBC Radio 1. “And if we could actually swap each other’s roles, if we could actually be in each other’s place for a while, I think we’d both be very surprised!” That led to a most usual plea bargain.

“The only way I could think it could be done was… a deal with the devil,” she continued. “And I thought, ‘Well, no, why not a deal with God!’ You know, because in a way it’s so much more powerful the whole idea of asking God to make a deal with you.” The song’s spooky romanticism really comes through in the intricately-choreographed video, which finds Kate twirling around a dimly-lit sound stage with dancer Michael Hervieu. (Watch below). I guess it’s too much to ask for new music, but I will eternally hold out hope.

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