Kate Bush's 'Stranger Things' Popularity Proves 80s Music is Back and Bigger than Ever
British singer Kate Bush has a net worth of about $60 million, but she's hasn't been very well known in the United States. That is, until her song "Running Up That Hill" was featured in "Stranger Things" Season 4.
While a whole new generation of listeners is getting to know Kate Bush, she's influenced many a musician. Prince, Big Boi (Outkast), Lorde, Florence and the Machine, FKA Twigs, and even Tupac have declared themselves fans.
Her newfound popularity in the States proves that '80s music is seeing a big resurgence.
Kate Bush Was Discovered by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour
Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour was a family friend when he first heard Bush's demo tape. She was 16 at the time, but she already had several songs under her belt.
"I was intrigued by this strange voice,” Gilmour said. "I went to her house [and] met her parents. And she played me, gosh, it must have been 40 or 50 songs on tape. And I thought: 'I should try and do something.'"
Gilmour helped her get a recording contract with EMI fairly immediately. She recorded five full-length albums in the 1980s, most of which were successful. She and Gilmour have since collaborated on a number of songs together.
She Had Her First No. 1 When She Was Still in Her Teens
Bush wrote her first number 1 when she was just 18. "Wuthering Heights" was inspired by a story of the same written by Emily Brontë in 1847 and is sung from the ghostly character of Catherine Earnshaw, whose spirit pleads to be allowed into her former lover's home.
The song was an immediate smash in the U.K. It stayed on the singles chart for four weeks in 1978, and until "Stranger Things," it was Bush's most successful single.
With "Wuthering Heights," Bush became the first woman in the country's history to have a number 1 single with a self-written song.
She Remained a U.K. Chart Topper Throughout the 1980s
After her first album, "The Kick Inside," she released her sophomore effort, "Lionheart," and went on tour but found it exhausting and never returned to the road.
She went back into the studio, and recorded the albums, "Never for Ever," which featured the hit single, "Babooshka," and The Dreaming (1982), which she produced herself.
However, she didn't reach her first critical and commercial peak until 1985's "Hounds of Love," which originally featured "Running Up That Hill," the song now in "Stranger Things."
Bush Mostly Dropped Out of the Public Eye During the 1990s
At the end of the 1980s, Bush released the "The Sensual World" (1989) and "The Red Shoes" (1993), and collaborated with the likes of David Gilmour, Prince, Eric Clapton, and Trio Bulgarka, a Bulgarian vocal ensemble, on these releases.
She directed and starred in a short film "The Line, the Cross and the Curve," which featured her most recent songs. However, she was displeased with the final product and took a 12-year hiatus from music to focus on motherhood.
In 2014, She Played a Sold-Out, 22-Night Residency in London
Kate Bush would not return to the world stage until 2005 when she released "Aerial" (2005), a double record which earned her favorable reviews, followed by "Director's Cut," which featured songs reworked to accommodate her lowering vocal range.
After her last release, 2011's "50 Words for Snow," she finally returned to the stage with "Before the Dawn," a 22-date residency in London. People traveled from all over the world to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event.
After earning a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) honor in 2013, Bush has been largely quiet. Until "Stranger Things."
Surprise 'Stranger Things' Success
Kate Bush is notoriously reluctant to lend her music to ad campaigns, TV and movies. However, "Stranger Things" creators Matt and Ross Duffer, and the show's music supervisor, Nora Felder, felt her classic "Running Up That Hill" best illustrated the intense arc of character Max Mayfield's journey.
Felder had other songs waiting in the wings in the likelihood that Bush would say no, but it turns out she was a fan of the show. She was shown how the music would be used and gave her permission.
'Running Up That Hill' Reaches the U.S. Top 10, Nearly Four Decades After Its Release
Thirty-seven years after its initial release, the song is a hit in the U.K., the U.S., Germany, Australia, Norway, Canada and even Saudi Arabia. Young fans are even discovering more of Bush's music. "Wuthering Heights" and other songs of hers are also gaining steam on streaming sites like iTunes and Spotify.
Bush took to her website to say, "You might’ve heard that the first part of the fantastic, gripping new series of 'Stranger Things' has recently been released on Netflix. It features the song, ‘Running Up That Hill’ which is being given a whole new lease of life by the young fans who love the show—I love it too! Because of this, ‘Running Up That Hill’ is charting around the world. ... It’s all really exciting! Thanks very much to everyone who has supported the song. I wait with bated breath for the rest of the series in July."
'Running Up That Hill' Is a Timeless Classic
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