"Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)" was the first single from Kate Bush's 1985 album Hounds of Love. Written by Bush, it was released as a single in the UK on August 5, 1985, with the album appearing on shelves on September 16, 1985. It was her first 12" single, and her second single to feature gatefold packaging. It was the most successful of Bush's 1980s releases, eventually peaking at the number three position in the UK singles chart, her second-highest single release there. The single also had a great impact in the United States, providing Bush with her first hit to chart since 1978. It reached the top 30, and featured prominently within the Dance Charts.
Originally titled, "A Deal with God", representatives at EMI were hesitant to release the song, as they feared the title could have prevented radio play, especially in the United States. Because the singles from her previous release, The Dreaming, had done so poorly in the charts, Bush relented and changed the title. The executives of EMI initially wanted to release another song, Cloudbusting, as the lead single from the album. Bush successfully convinced 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. Kate 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 others place for a while, I think we'd both be very surprised! And I think it would be 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 wouldn't 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."
Musically, the background vocal chants ("e-yo") are almost identical to singing in classical Japanese musical theatre such as Noh, and the prominent drumming pattern appears to be influenced by Japanese taiko.
The song can be heard during the final credits of the 1988 film The Chocolate War.
The song was also used as the theme tune for the 1986 BBC childrens drama "Running Scared".
English band Coldplay claims the drum beat of this song inspired their single "Speed of Sound".
The song is referenced in the Hold Steady track, "Hornets! Hornets!"
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