Kate Bush: Under the Ivy
The internet has been awash with the news that Kate Bush has earned her first ever Top 10 US hit with Running Up That Hill, a mere 37 years after it was first released (in 1985 it reached No 30 in the US).
The song was featured as a key plot point in the new series of Netflix's supernatural drama Stranger Things and as a result it was discovered and celebrated by millions on the social media platform TikTok. In a statement on her website, Bush described how her song "is being given a whole new lease of life by the young fans who love the show - I love it too!"
This distinctively Gen-Z surge of appreciation is a reminder of the power and freshness latent in any truly 'classic' record. Songs like Running Up That Hill are arguably forever primed and ready to be re-ignited if given the heat of exposure.
The surge also adds another chapter in Kate Bush's complicated relationship with fame and privacy. Graeme Thomson explored this theme in his masterful biography of Kate Bush, Under the Ivy.
'There are inherent contradictions: she likes people yet craves solitude; she is proud of her work and wants people to hear it, yet hates selling it; her music is both candid confession and armour-plated shield... Her career has never been about fame or fortune. Everything has been concerned with keeping alive the initial, terribly fragile surge of wonder and possibility she first glimpsed as a young girl. Against fearsome odds, she has succeeded. "It comes from a quiet place," she said of her music. And the world is so loud. Perhaps that's all we really need to know.' - from Under the Ivy: The Life and Music of Kate Bush
For a discussion of the growing role of TikTok and viral surges in the music ecosystem check out a new episode of the excellent Switched On Pop podcast, which is entitled 'So your song went viral on TikTok. What's next?'