Running Up That Hill

"Running Up That Hill" is a song by the English singer-songwriter Kate Bush. It was the first single from her 1985 album Hounds of Love, released in the United Kingdom on 5 August 1985. It was her first 12-inch single. It was the most successful of Bush's 1980s releases, entering the UK chart at number 9 and eventually peaking at number 3, her second-highest single peak. The single also had an impact in the United States, providing Bush with her first chart hit there since 1978, where it reached the top 30 and featured prominently in the Dance Charts. Bush also performed the song live for the first time with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd at the Secret Policeman's Third Ball in 1987. The song's title for Hounds of Love and all subsequent releases was "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)".

"Running Up That Hill"
Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill.png
Single by Kate Bush
from the album Hounds of Love
B-side"Under the Ivy"
Released5 August 1985
Songwriter(s)Kate Bush
Producer(s)Kate Bush
Kate Bush singles chronology
"Night of the Swallow"
"Running Up That Hill"

"Wild Man"

"Running Up That Hill"

"And Dream of Sheep (Live)"
Music video
"Running Up That Hill" on YouTube
Audio sample
Running Up That Hill

The B-side of the 7-inch single contains Bush's song "Under the Ivy". The 12-inch single contains an extended remix and an instrumental version of "Running Up That Hill", as well as "Under the Ivy". A limited 7-inch single gatefold sleeve edition was also released.

The song has been critically acclaimed. In a retrospective review of the single, AllMusic journalist Amy Hanson wrote: "Always adept at emotion and beautifully able to manipulate even the most bitter of hearts, rarely has Bush penned such a brutally truthful, painfully sensual song."[2]

The song was featured as the main theme tune for the 1986 BBC 1 children's drama serial Running Scared.[3]


Representatives at EMI were hesitant to release the song with its original title of "A Deal with God" owing to possible negative reception because of its use of the word "God".[4] Bush relented and changed the title. However, the album version of the song is listed as "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)". The executives of EMI initially wanted to release another song, "Cloudbusting", as the lead single from the album. Bush successfully persuaded them to release "Running Up That Hill" first, claiming that it was the first song written for the album, and felt that it better represented the broader feel for Hounds of Love.

The song itself has often been misinterpreted. Bush herself has said,

I was trying to say that, really, a man and a woman can't understand each other because we are a man and a woman. 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! [Laughs] And I think it would lead to a greater understanding. And really the only way I could think it could be done was either... you know, I thought a deal with the devil, you know. 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. You see, for me it is still called "Deal With God", that was its title. But we were told that if we kept this title that it would not be played in any of the religious countries, Italy wouldn't play it, France wouldn't play it, and Australia wouldn't play it! Ireland wouldn't play it, and that generally we might get it blacked purely because it had God in the title.[4][unreliable source?][5]

Music videoEdit

The music video featured Bush performing an interpretive dance with dancer Michael Hervieu. The video was directed by David Garfath while the dance routines were choreographed by Diane Grey.[6][unreliable source?] Bush and Hervieu are shown wearing grey Japanese hakamas.[7][unreliable source?] Bush wanted the dancing in "Running Up That Hill" to be more of a classical performance. She stated that dance in music videos was "being used quite trivially, it was being exploited: haphazard images, busy, lots of dances, without really the serious expression, and wonderful expression, that dance can give. So we felt how interesting it would be to make a very simple routine between two people, almost classic, and very simply filmed. So that's what we tried, really, to do a serious piece of dance."[8][unreliable source?]

The choreography draws upon contemporary dance with a repeated gesture suggestive of drawing a bow and arrow (the gesture was made literal on the cover for the single in which Bush poses with a real bow and arrow), intercut with surreal sequences of Bush and Hervieu searching through crowds of masked strangers. At the climax of the song, Bush's partner withdraws from her and the two are then swept away from each other and down a long hall in opposite directions by an endless stream of anonymous figures wearing masks made from pictures of Bush and Hervieu's faces. MTV chose not to show this video (at the time of its original release) and instead used a playback "live" performance of the song recorded at a promotional appearance on the BBC TV show Wogan. According to Paddy Bush, "MTV weren't particularly interested in broadcasting videos that didn't have synchronized lip movements in them. They liked the idea of people singing songs."[8][unreliable source?]

2012 remixEdit

"Running Up That Hill (2012 Remix)"
Single by Kate Bush
from the album A Symphony of British Music
Released12 August 2012
Songwriter(s)Kate Bush
Producer(s)Kate Bush
Kate Bush singles chronology
"Wild Man"
"Running Up That Hill (2012 Remix)"

On 12 August 2012, Bush released a new version of the song "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)". Subtitled '2012 Remix', it uses the backing track of the extended version of the 1985 12-inch single, over which new lead vocals were recorded. The track was transposed down a semitone to fit Bush's current lower vocal range. The new version was premiered during the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony. Bush did not appear herself, but the recording was featured in a section of the closing ceremony, after the entry of athletes and prior to the presentation of the medals for the Marathon. The track set the theme to a dance performance, where a 'hill' or pyramid was gradually assembled by the dancers from giant white blocks, representing each of the Olympic events.[9] The performance was not shown in the United States NBC coverage due to time constraints and tape delay issues.[10]

The track is included in the official soundtrack album of the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony A Symphony of British Music: Music for the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

On 19 August the remix entered the UK charts at number 6. It was Bush's return to the top ten after nearly seven years, following "King of the Mountain" in 2005.[11]

Track listingEdit

7" single (UK)

All tracks are written by Kate Bush.

1."Running Up That Hill"4:58
2."Under the Ivy"2:07
12" maxi single (UK)

All tracks are written by Kate Bush.

1."Running Up That Hill (Extended Version)"5:43
2."Under the Ivy"2:07
3."Running Up That Hill (Instrumental)"4:54

Critical receptionEdit

The song was ranked number 3 among the "Tracks of the Year" for 1985 by NME.[12]




Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[29]
Physical 1985 sales
Silver 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[30]
Digital sales since 2004
Gold 400,000 

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Cover versions and remixesEdit

Sweep & Linda Carriere (1993)Edit

Trance/dance mixes were released in 1993, 1999 and 2000. A version was included in a 1996 mix by Paul Oakenfold on The Tunnel Mixes (CD1, track 10).

Elastic Band Remix (1994)Edit

Trance and house music act Elastic Band's version reached number one on RPM's Canadian Dance Chart in September 1994.[31][dead link]

Within Temptation version (2003)Edit

"Running Up That Hill" was covered by Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation in 2003. The song debuted at number 9 in the Dutch charts on 17 May 2003.[32] It peaked at number 7 a week later.[33]

Placebo version (2003)Edit

Alternative rock band Placebo covered "Running Up That Hill", releasing it originally on the bonus disc of their 2003 album Sleeping with Ghosts, then featuring it on Covers and the US version of Meds in 2007. Placebo's take on the song is more downbeat than the original. It has been described by Q magazine as "sound[ing] more like a pact with the Devil" than the original "deal with God".[34] Their version of the song made an appearance on the debut episode of The Vampire Diaries, concluded an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation entitled "A la Cart", and was used on Bones, Stargate: Universe, Queer as Folk, The O.C., NCIS: Los Angeles and How to Get Away with Murder in the episode "We Know Everything". It can be also heard in the films From Paris with Love and The Heavy. The song was used as the closing credits in the BBC Three film adaptation of Sophie Lancaster's murder titled Murdered for Being Different.[35] The song was used in a hype package for the wrestling match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker which was the main event of WrestleMania XXVI in 2010, which would turn out to be Michaels' final wrestling match as an active performer.[36][37] The History Channel used the song in their promo of Gettysburg in 2011.[38] The song was used in the Lifetime film I Am Elizabeth Smart.[39] Placebo also performed the song live in London for iTunes Festival in September 2014.[40] The song was also performed at Pinkpop in Landgraaf, The Netherlands in June 2015.

Chromatics version (2007)Edit

Electronic band Chromatics released a cover on their 2007 album Night Drive. This version was stripped back considerably and made heavy use of electronic drums, synthesizers and breathy vocals, effectively reimagining the song in the style of Italo disco.[41]

Jørn Lande version (2016)Edit

Norwegian metal singer Jørn Lande released a hard rock version of "Running Up That Hill" on his 2016 covers album Heavy Rock Radio, stating in an interview that he hoped to pay homage to the original artist, while creating a "strong alternative version to enjoy."[42]

The Very Best Remix (2011)Edit

The Very Best remixed the song on their 2011 mixtape Super Mom.[43]

Meg Myers version (2019)Edit

American alternative music artist Meg Myers released a cover of the song on March 6, 2019.[44] Her cover reached number one on both the Billboard Rock Airplay chart and the Alternative Songs chart in January 2020.[45][46] Myers performed her cover on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on January 20, 2020.[47]

David Baron and Donna Lewis version (2019)Edit

Woodstock composer and producer David Baron and Welsh singer-songwriter Donna Lewis released a vocal, string quartet and modular synthesiser version in August 2019. [48]

Georgia version (2020)Edit

English singer Georgia released a synth-pop cover version in December 2020. [49]


  1. ^ "Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (album review 7) | Sputnikmusic". Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Runnin up That Hill - Kate Bush". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  3. ^ "TV CREAM WILL RETURN". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b Radio 1 Classic Albums interview with Richard Skinner aired 26 January 1992
  5. ^ Whatley, Jack. "The Story Behind The Song: 'Running Up That Hill (Deal With God)' Kate Bush's bargain". Far Out.
  6. ^ "Cloudbusting / Music / Running Up That Hill". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  7. ^ Choreographer and Costume interview
  8. ^ a b Dance comments
  9. ^ "2012 Remix of Running Up That Hill Featured in Olympics closing ceremony -". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  10. ^ Carter, Chelsea (13 August 2012). "Viewers outraged after NBC cuts away from Olympics closing ceremony". Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  11. ^ a b "Olympic gigs prompt chart success". BBC News. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  12. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2018. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 50. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ "Official Austrian Charts Website". Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Song Artist 330 Kate Bush". Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  16. ^ "RPM 100 Singles, December 7 1985". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  17. ^ a b Billboard Magazine, Hits of the World, 1985. Billboard Magazine. 5 October 1985. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ "Notowanie nr 183" (in Polish). 5 October 1985. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  20. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  21. ^ "Official Swiss Charts Website". Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "RUNNING UP THAT HILL OfficialCharts". Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Kent Music Report No 599 – 30 December 1985 > National Top 100 Singles for 1985". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 30 September 2020 – via
  25. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts 1985". Offizielle Charts (in German). Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  26. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1985". Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  27. ^ "IRMA Singles chart". IRMA. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  28. ^ "Notowanie nr 1596" (in Polish). 31 August 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  29. ^ "British single certifications – Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  30. ^ "British single certifications – Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  31. ^ RPM: issue date September 19, 1994
  32. ^ Steffen Hung (17 May 2003). "Dutch charts portal". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  33. ^ "Within Temptation – "Running Up That Hill"". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  34. ^ Q Magazine Issue 241, August 2006
  35. ^ "Murdered for Being Different - BBC Three". BBC. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  36. ^ "WWE with a new offering in the illustrious history of Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens hype videos". Cageside Seats. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  37. ^ "HBK vs Undertaker WM26 Promo (Running up that Hill)". Retrieved 31 January 2020 – via
  38. ^ "Gettysburg Commercial 2011".
  39. ^ "I Am Elizabeth Smart - Lifetime Movies". Retrieved 20 February 2019 – via
  40. ^ "Placebo rock out iTunes festival -". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  41. ^ "Covers of Kate Bush 'Running Up That Hill'". Stereogum. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  42. ^ "JORN LANDE Covers DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN On 'Heavy Rock Radio' Album". 12 April 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  43. ^ "The Very Best's Super Mom Mixtape". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  44. ^ "Meg Myers Shares Powerful New Cover Of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill"". Meg Myers' official website. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  45. ^ Rutherford, Kevin (22 January 2020). "Meg Myers Earns First Career Billboard No. 1 With 'Runn Up That Hill' Remake". Billboard. Retrieved 24 January 2020. External link in |title= (help)
  46. ^ "Alternative Songs: February 1, 2020". Billboard. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  47. ^
  48. ^ "Donna Lewis Teams up with David Baron on Kate Bush cover 'Running Up That Hill'". XS Noise. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  49. ^ "Georgia shares joyous synth-pop cover of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill'". Retrieved 8 February 2021.

External linksEdit