Stranger Things: Why Does Max's Favorite Song Sound So Familiar?

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4, Part 1. If you’re still mid-binge, you might want to put off reading this article.

Some Stranger Things fans will, of course, know Max’s favorite song, the one that seems to play on a loop in her headphones as of Season 4’s premiere (and, later on, proves to be beyond pivotal). It was, after all, a Top 30 smash back in 1985. Other viewers, however, will likely be hard-pressed to name that tune.

It’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” the lead single from English singer/songwriter/goddess Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love album. Though it cut far deeper than other hits of the day — Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” anyone? — it received considerable airplay on pop radio. MTV put the video in rotation, too, but initially rejected the original clip, featuring Bush performing an interpretive dance, in favor of her lip-synching on a BBC talk show.

“Running Up That Hill” got a second wind in 2012, when Bush rerecorded her vocals down a semitone and laid them over the the backing track to 1985’s extended version of the song. This remix of the golden oldie was used during 2012’s Summer Olympics closing ceremony but — d’oh — not shown in the U.S.

Bush’s classic has also been covered several times, most notably by the alt-rock band Placebo, whose 2003 rendition was used in the Season 4 premiere of The O.C., and badass Meg Myers, whose version topped the Billboard Rock Airplay and Alternative Songs charts in 2020.

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