The Original vs. The Cover – “Running Up that Hill”

For this month’s The Original Vs. Cover, we are going to talk about a song that became famous again because of a TV show 37 years after it’s release. The song is “Running Up That Hill” which was released way back in 1985 by Kate Bush. It did really well going to #30 on the Hot 100 Charts. Thanks to the show ‘Stranger Things’, that same song became a hit again in 2022 going all the way to #23 so it did a little better the second. Here’s the thing, I don’t remember this song back in 1985. Nope, first time I remember really hearing this song was back in 2016 when Norway’s Jorn Lande recorded the song for his covers album, 2016’s ‘Heavy Rock Radio’ which he released as a single. Now, it didn’t chart anywhere in the U.S., but that is the song I remember.

The song was written by Kate Bush is about the lack of understanding between men and women. They can’t really communicate with each other. At least not very well. It was like running up a hill that would never end. She imagined that if they made a deal with God, they could exchange places with each other and gain a better understanding of how the other half thinks.. The song was originally called “Deal With God” but record executives felt that some more religious companies might not like it much.


Kate’s version is pure 80’s with the luscious keyboards, the electronic drums and everything about it screams 80’s to me. I would consider Kate’s version to be more art pop than new wave. It feels epic in styling, there is an urgency to it, a seriousness, a real dramatic tone to the song. The song feels like it is getting bigger and bigger as the music seems to get more intense as the drums beat a little harder, the vocals get a little more intense and then it slows down again. The keyboards have a cello sounding effect at times giving it a whole orchestration feel to it. Kate’s vocals are a little monotonous at times, and drone on although they are impactful at times also as I do feel the emotion she is feeling. There are lots of layers and added effects with her vocals as well making her her own background vocalist as well.

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