Running Up That Hill

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"Running Up That Hill"
Standard cover art
Single by Kate Bush
from the album Hounds of Love
B-side "Under the Ivy"
Released 5 August 1985
Format 7" single / 12" single
Recorded 1984
Genre Art rock, new wave
Length 5:06
Label EMI- KB1
Writer(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"

Music sample

"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" single. It was the most successful of Bush's 1980s releases, entering the UK chart at No. 9 and eventually peaking at No. 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 within the Dance Charts. Bush also performed the song with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd at the Secret Policeman's Third Ball. The song's title for Hounds of Love and all subsequent releases was "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)."

The B-side of the 7" 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".

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."[1]

The song was used as the main theme tune for the 1986 BBC 1 gritty children's drama serial Running Scared.[2]

Song information[edit]

Originally titled "A Deal with God", representatives at EMI were hesitant to release the song as titled due to possible negative reception due its use of the word "God".[3] 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, citing that it was the first song to be 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]

Music video[edit]

The music video featured Bush and dancer Michael Hervieu in a performance choreographed by Diane Grey. The pair are wearing grey Japanese hakamas.[5] 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."[6]

The choreography draws upon contemporary dance with a repeated gesture suggestive of drawing a bow and arrow (the gesture was made literal on the image 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 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."[6]

2012 remix[edit]

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 on the 1985 12" 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 crucial 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.[7][8] The performance was not shown in the United States NBC coverage due to time constraints and tape delay issues.[9]

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.[10]

Track listing[edit]

7" single (UK)

All songs written and composed by Kate Bush. 

No. Title Length
1. "Running Up That Hill"   4:58
2. "Under the Ivy"   2:07
12" Maxi single (UK)

All songs written and composed by Kate Bush. 

No. Title Length
1. "Running Up That Hill (Extended Version)"   5:43
2. "Under the Ivy"   2:07
3. "Running Up That Hill (Instrumental)"   4:54


Chart (1985) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart[11] 21
Belgium Singles Chart[12] 6
Australia ARIA Singles Chart 6
Dutch Single Top 100 6
French SNEP Singles Chart 24
German Media Control Singles Chart 3
Irish Singles Chart 4
Italian Singles Chart[13] 31
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 26
Swiss Music Charts[14] 10
UK Singles Chart 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[15] 30
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 13
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales 21
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 34
Chart (2012) [2012 Remix] Peak
Irish Singles Chart[16] 22
UK Singles Chart[10] 6

Within Temptation cover[edit]

"Running Up That Hill"
Single by Within Temptation
Released 6 May 2003
Format CD single
Recorded 2003
Genre Symphonic metal,[17] hard rock
Length 3:58
Label Gun
Producer(s) Stephen van Haestregt, Robert Westerholt, Martijn Spierenburg
Within Temptation singles chronology
"Mother Earth"
"Running Up That Hill"
"Stand My Ground"

"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.[18] It peaked at number 7 a week later.


Lead singer Sharon den Adel stated about covering Running Up That Hill: "Well, we tried another song of Kate Bush because we had two songs that we were just playing around with because people were comparing me always with her as a similar kind of voice, and we were just fooling around in the studio and “Running Up That Hill” came by. And it was like, “We really sound like this,” you know, and it turned out so well that we made a single out of it because we were between albums."[19]

Music video[edit]

Within Temptation produced a music video for the song Running Up That Hill

The video shows a medieval church. Sharon den Adel is shown wearing a white dress with angel wings praying in front of an altar. The scene changes and a man and a woman are shown getting out of a car. The man is captivated by a statue of an angel with a white band on her eyes, which matches the one Sharon is wearing. The video then showed Sharon in a red dress with a white band over her eyes on a stage with the band. The man and the women enter the church, and a poster for Within Temptation's Mother Earth tour is shown. The band starts playing inside, while outside, another version of Sharon seems to appear from the statue of the angel, wearing a white dress. This Sharon enters the concert hall and glides down the center until she reaches the stage. Then she and the other Sharon seem to merge and she is outlined in an orange-red glow, as she floats up into the air. The fans and eventually the band stares up at her. The Sharon in the white dress then splits with her singer counterpart and the concert bursts into life once more, as a Sharon in the white dress is seen praying again. The two Sharons seem to be singing a duet after this. Singer Sharon is seen stooping down to pick up a glowing white feather outside a door and her eyes fall on the statue of the angel.

Track listing[edit]

2003 release CD:

  1. "Running Up That Hill"
  2. "Running Up That Hill (Live at the Edison Awards 2003, Amsterdam)"
  3. "Mother Earth (Recording Radio 2, Metropole Orchestra)" (Bonus track on the DVD single)


  1. "Running Up That Hill"
  2. "Running Up That Hill (Live at the Edison Awards 2003, Amsterdam)"
  3. "Making Of The Video: Running Up That Hill"
  4. "Backstage: The European Tour 2003"
  5. "Photo Gallery"

2004 release[20][21] CD:

  1. "Running Up That Hill"
  2. "Running Up That Hill (Live at the Edison Awards 2003, Amsterdam)"
  3. "Deceiver Of Fools (Live At Lowlands 2002)"
  4. "Caged (Live At Lowlands 2002) (Bonus track)"
  5. "Never Ending Story (Live At Lowlands 2002) (Bonus track)"


  1. "Running Up That Hill"
  2. "Running Up That Hill (Live at the Edison Awards 2003, Amsterdam)"
  3. "Ice Queen (Live at Lowlands)"
  4. "Making Of The Video: Running Up That Hill"
  5. "Backstage: The European Tour 2003"
  6. "Photo Gallery"


Chart (2003) Peak
Belgium (Flanders) Singles Chart[22] 48
Dutch Singles Chart[22] 7
Dutch Top 40[23] 13
Chart (2004) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart[22] 37
German Singles Chart[23] 13
Swiss Singles Chart[22] 83

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Position
Dutch Singles Chart[24] 98

Other cover versions[edit]

Placebo version[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'.[25] 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, The O.C. and NCIS: Los Angeles. It was also used in the promotional video for the Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker rematch at Wrestlemania XXVI, and is featured in the trailer for the movie Daybreakers.[26] It can be also heard in the movies From Paris with Love and The Heavy. It has also been used in British TV series Waterloo Road. A recording of Placebo's version which features Bush's vocals was used in promos for the History Channel's 2011 special, Gettysburg.[27] Placebo also performed the song live in London for iTunes Festival in September 2014.[28]

Released covers[edit]

US Dark Wave act Faith and the Muse covered the song on their 2001 compilation album Vera Causa, and frequently perform it live. In 2006, US solo artist Isadar released a cover on his compilation sampler album, Scratching The Surface.[29] He also self-produced a music video for the track.[30] Oregon-based Chromatics covered the song on their 2007 album Night Drive, and Australian Idol winner Natalie Gauci performed it on the Top 2 Showdown night. Gauci later recorded a cover that appeared on her Winner's Journey album, released soon after her win on Australian Idol. French singer Nolwenn Leroy covered the song on her 2007 live album Histoires Naturelles Tour. In 2009, Fugees-collaborator John Forté released a version of the song which featured the original keyboard melody and chorus with rap verses.[31][32] In 2009, Finnish a cappella group Club for Five included the song on their album You're The Voice. British electronic musician LorD and Master released his version of "Running Up That Hill" as a mashup with Pet Shop Boys' cult track, "Paninaro" for his 2011 covers album, Discover.[33] The season 3 two-part finale of Warehouse 13 features a cover of this song by Track and Field.[34]


A dance remix by Levy 9 was released in the 1990s, Trance and house music acts, such as Elastic Band and Armin van Buuren have performed versions of the song. Australian electronic music trio Infusion remixed the song in 2003, and it was unofficially released on White label vinyl as "Kate Bush vs. Infusion – Running Up That Hill".[35] Dutch rap act Flinke Namen, sampled the chorus for their song "Wolken (Clouds)". This piano and string laced version reached no. 1 on the Dutch (nl:FunX) charts, with a remix version being available for download on the internet.[36] The Very Best remixed the song on their 2011 mixtape "Super Mom".[37]

Other notable covers[edit]

"Running Up That Hill" has also been incorporated into other songs by artists in live performance. American singer-songwriter Tori Amos has sung verses of the song during her live tours, often working certain lines of the song into other songs – most notably on her 2005 solo tour in which she performed a mash up of "Running Up That Hill" with her own hit, "God." The postmodern cabaret duo Kiki and Herb, who performed the song throughout their career, used the song as the closing number in their 2004 farewell performance at Carnegie Hall. Other artists who've covered the song include Estonian pop singer Kerli, Danish bands Spleen United and The William Blakes,[38] singer Jimmy Jørgensen, Irish group Ham Sandwich (the recording of which was given away free with the Irish Daily Mail), singer Patrick Wolf, pop act MPHO,[39] Little Boots and Melnyk with Sara Berg.[40] Indie folk rock duo Wye Oak performed a version of the song in June 2014 for The A.V. Club '​s A.V. Undercover series.[41]

In 2009 American symphonic metal band Aesma Daeva released an album Here Lies One Whose Name Was Written in Water, which contains cover of the "Running Up That Hill" as a bonus track.[42]

On 15 October 2011 art rock musician Theo Bleckmann released an album of covers of Bush classics titled Hello Earth! – The Music of Kate Bush which includes his oft-performed in concert interpretation of "Running Up That Hill."[43] In July 2014, Tori Amos covered the song on her Unrepentant Geraldines Tour.[44]


  1. ^ Running up That Hill – Kate Bush : Listen, Appearances, Song Review : AllMusic
  2. ^ TV Cream Running Scared
  3. ^ Radio 1 Classic Albums interview with Richard Skinner aired 26 January 1992
  4. ^ Radio 1 Classic Albums interview with Richard Skinner aired January 26, 1992
  5. ^ Choreographer and Costume interview
  6. ^ a b Dance comments
  7. ^ Wilkinson, Matt; Pollard, Chris. "Games finale stars the Spice Girls...on top of black cabs – The Sun –Sport–Olympics". The Sun (London). 
  8. ^ 2012 Remix of Running Up That Hill Featured in Olympics closing ceremony |
  9. ^ Carter, Chelsea (13 August 2012). "Viewers outraged after NBC cuts away from Olympics closing ceremony". (Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.). Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  10. ^ a b "Olympic gigs prompt chart success". BBC News. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "Official Austrian Charts Website". Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Song Artist 330 Kate Bush". Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Hit Parade italia". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Official Swiss Charts Website". Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "IRMA Singles chart". IRMA. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  17. ^ "Running Up That Hill by Within Temptation : Reviews and Ratings". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  18. ^ Steffen Hung (2003-05-17). "Dutch charts portal". Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  19. ^ "Interviews: Within Temptation – Sharon den Adel". Live-Metal.Net. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ "Memory | Memorial | Memories.Com at". Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  22. ^ a b c d Within Temptation – "Running Up That Hill"
  23. ^ a b Within Temptation – "Running Up That Hill"
  24. ^ "Within Temptation: Year-end Dutch Charts". Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  25. ^ Q Magazine Issue 241, August 2006
  26. ^ Daybreakers trailer, Daybreakers trailer.
  27. ^ Gettysburg Promo
  28. ^
  29. ^ Scratching The Surface, Vol. 2: Electro Voice Sampler – Isadar : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic
  30. ^
  31. ^ – by John Forté
  32. ^ live version of John Fortés "Running Up That Hill"
  33. ^ LorD and Master's Discover album.
  34. ^ iTunes – Music – Running Up That Hill – Single by Track and Field
  35. ^ Kate Bush Vs Infusion – Running Up That Hill at Discogs
  36. ^ Flinke Namen – Wolken (FunX remix, gratis download) – YouTube
  37. ^ The Very Best’s Super Mom Mixtape « The FADER
  38. ^ Spleen United & The William Blakes – Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush) @ DR Backstage 2009.03.12
  39. ^ "Running Up That Hill" cover MPHO "Brixton Pop Maverick" Live
  40. ^
  41. ^ "Wye Oak covers Kate Bush". Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  42. ^ Discogs: Aesma Daeva – Here Lies One Whose Name Was Written In Water
  43. ^ Theo Beckmann album Hello Earth! – The Music of Kate Bush
  44. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (21 August 2014). "The 10 Best Cover Songs from Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines Tour". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 

External links[edit]