Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Running Up That Hill

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B-side  "Under the Ivy"
Format  7" single / 12" single
Genre  Art pop
Released  5 August 1985
Recorded  1984
Length  5:06

"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 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 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."

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


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". 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.

Music video

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. Bush and Hervieu are shown wearing grey Japanese hakamas. 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."

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 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."

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 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. The performance was not shown in the United States NBC coverage due to time constraints and tape delay issues.

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.

Track listing

7" single (UK)

All tracks written by Kate Bush.

12" Maxi single (UK)

All tracks written by Kate Bush.

Within Temptation cover

"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. 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."

Track listing

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 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"

Placebo version

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'. 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. 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. 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. Placebo also performed the song live in London for iTunes Festival in September 2014 The song was also performed at Pinkpop in Landgraaf, The Netherlands in June 2015.

Jørn Lande Version

Norwegian metal singer Jørn Lande released a hard rock version of "Running Up That Hill" on his 2016 cover 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."

Chromatics Version

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.


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". 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. The Very Best remixed the song on their 2011 mixtape "Super Mom".


Running Up That Hill Wikipedia