Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)

#ThrowbackThursday – Back to 1985 with Kate Bush and her Nº1 album Hounds of Love which spent 52 weeks on the UK charts. It’s also Kate’s 57th birthday today (born July 30, 1958)! Running up That Hill was the first single to be released from the album and also Kate’s first 12” single. The song was the most successful of her 1980 releases. 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."


The track was originally titled A Deal with God but EMI executives weren’t comfortable with this fearing it would receive a negative reception due to using the word God. 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 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."


The music video featured Kate and dancer Michael Hervieu in a performance choreographed by Diane Grey. They were both wearing Japanese hakamas and Kate was trying to achieve a more classical feel to the video as she felt that music videos were 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."

In 1987, Kate won a Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist, and in 2002 an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Bush was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to music.

Watch the classic video above, or tap here to view in C5.

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