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Music

Kate Bush granted ‘Stranger Things’ permission to use her song because she’s a fan

Legendary singer-songwriter Kate Bush reportedly granted permission for Stranger Things to use her 1985 hit ‘Running Up That Hill’ because she’s a big fan of the series.

Streams of the 1980s hit have increased by more than 150 per cent after the song appeared on the latest season of the popular Netflix show. In the first episode, Bush’s iconic single features in a key moment involving Max Mayfield (portrayed by Sadie Sink).

‘Running Up That Hill’ was originally released in 1985 on Bush’s seminal album, Hounds of Love. At the time, the song reached number three on the charts and became the singer’s second most successful single behind her 1978 number one breakout single, ‘Wuthering Heights’.

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In the past couple of weeks, ‘Running Up That Hill’ has now overtaken ‘Wuthering Heights’ on Spotify as Bush’s most-streamed song and the most streamed song on the entire platform. The streaming giants described it as “the biggest gainer on the Global Spotify chart”.

Stranger Things’ music supervisor Nora Felder has now explained to Variety how they were able to get Bush’s permission to use the track on the show.

“Each of the prospective song placements in the initial scripts was tagged with the placeholder, ‘TBD Max song’,” Felder said. “From there, I made an effort to internally align myself with what the Duffers felt were the most important elements needed and my own intuitive grasp of Max’s complex feelings.”

Felder continued explaining that when she chose ‘Running Up That Hill’, the song “immediately struck me with its deep chords of the possible connection to Max’s emotional struggles and took on more significance as Bush’s song marinated in my conscious awareness.”

“I sat with my clearance coordinator and laid out all the scripted scenes for song uses that we knew of at that point,” she added. “Knowing the challenges, we proceeded to create elaborate scene descriptions that provided as much context as possible so that Kate and her camp would have a full understanding of the uses. When we finished, we were on edge, but excited and hopeful.”

Next, the music supervisor had to track down the publisher, bringing her to Wende Crowley, Sony Music Publishing’s SVP of creative marketing, film and TV.

“Nora Felder came to us pre-pandemic to discuss the idea of using it as Max’s ‘song’ for this season,” Crowley said. “She wanted to make sure it was within the realm of possibility before she got the [executive producers] The Duffer Brothers on board with the idea since the song was going to be “such a focal point to Max’s storyline.”

Crowley continued: “Kate Bush is selective when it comes to licensing her music, and because of that, we made sure to get script pages and footage for her to review so she could see exactly how the song would be used.”

Being a fan of the show, Bush permitted them after examining the script and understanding the intended impact of the song in the episode.