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Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) by Kate Bush

Album: Hounds Of LoveReleased: 1985Charted:
30
3
  • This song is about making a deal with God to swap lives with another person. Bush explained in a 1985 interview: "It's about a relationship between a man and a woman. They love each other very much, and the power of the relationship is something that gets in the way. It creates insecurities. It's saying if the man could be the woman and the woman the man, if they could make a deal with God, to change places, that they'd understand what it's like to be the other person and perhaps it would clear up misunderstandings. You know, all the little problems; there would be no problem."
  • Bush wrote this with the title "Deal With God." Her label made her change it because they didn't think radio stations would play a song with "God" in the title. Bush still regrets letting them rename her song, but her previous album didn't do very well and she wanted to make sure this got airplay.
  • Bush's record company wanted to release "Cloudbusting" as the first single, but Kate convinced them to release this instead. Since they had already renamed her song, it was considered a compromise.
  • This was Bush's biggest hit in the US. She is very popular in the UK, but remains mostly unknown in America.
  • A version by British band Placebo was recorded for their 2007 Covers album. It entered the UK singles chart in January 2010 as a result of its use in the theatrical trailer for the feature film Daybreakers.
  • A new version of the song, subtitled '2012 Remix', reached the top 10 of the UK singles chart in August 2012. The track was transposed down a semitone to fit Bush's current lower vocal range and was premiered during the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony. Bush did not appear in person, but the recording was featured in a crucial section after the entry of athletes.
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Comments: 28

Great song, but am I the only person who thinks Kate has a strange way of pronouncing 'places' in ...' Swap our places'?Jantje - Eindhoven
Sex has always been a big item for Kate Bush, but in this it is just one of several layers of things that cannot be expressed but only experienced. An this is just possible by swapping places.Armin - Germany
The instrument playing the hook is the Fairlight synthesizer. Kate was an early enthusiast of the instrument (she learned of it through Peter Gabriel, another early adopter).Philip - Akron, Oh
This song is about a lover that is holding a deep secret hurt from the other lover," How deep the bullet lies ", hating him/her for it at times, wanting desperately for the uninjured party to trade the pain to ( Swap our places) so she/he could be free of it while the other lover experiences it," Hurt the ones we love"
and he/she could "be running up that hill running up that building with no problem"
Susan - Copperas Cove, Tx
really love this song, and a great cover by Placebo as well.Emma - Adelaide, Australia
It still baffles me that Kate never broke in America. I know she had fear of flying and did a little promo tour in the East Coast in '85 just press, no live appearences.Jim - Long Beach, Ca
According to wikipedia (the sources are sited), Kate has said in an interview "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! [Laughs] 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." Now we all know.David - Grants Pass, Or
When she wrote this song Kate lived in Crockham Hill in Kent (England). My best mate at University, Mark and his parents lived next door to her ("Next door" was about 100 yards away - they were both VERY nice houses). Mark was an obsessive long distance runner. Crockham Hill (as the name hints) is on a hill and there is quite a slope between the houses. Kate must have regularly seen Mark running by when she looked out of the window and I have always assumed this inspired the song, assuming that his life was care free whilst hers was all stress.Peter - Leicester, United Kingdom
Fantastic song. Kate Bush is amazing.

Experiencing the male orgasm...
Phoebe - Belchertown, Ma
The first verse of the Placebo cover of this song was played during the last few minutes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation second episode for season eight, A La Cart. It fit perfectly for the scene, which depicted one of the main character's thoughts about leaving the team, which included her boyfriend.Alexx - Las Vegas, Nv
Running Up That Hill received some minor FM radio airplay (in the upper Midwest where I grew up, anyway) when it first came out in '85. I'd never heard anything like it by a female artist up to that point, and I dare say Kate Bush's brilliance is still unmatched. I guess I never pondered the lyrics as the music and her delivery was intense and captivating enough for me. An innovative visual artist, her early concerts supposedly influenced stage shows of other female artists such as Madonna. This song is off "Hounds of Love", which is a must-have, along with her prior release "The Dreaming." Simply put, Kate Bush is pure musical genius.Alen - Coeur D'alene, Id
This was the first song by Kate I had ever heard. It was 1985. I was hooked. Kate is not popular in America, so I was surprised to discover this 'new' musician/vocalist. What I love about this song is, not only the lyrics and Kate, but of the sustained single note that fades in the song, plays through the songs entirety, and fades out at the end of the song. For some reason, that is so fascinating to me.Brad - Topeka, Ks
I agree with shana. This is a song about love and the difficulties inherent "...Running up that hill..."

It's a cliche that "you only hurt the one you love" - she puts it more succinctly: "Is there so much hate for the ones we love". The bullet is metaphorical - a metaphor for hurting the ones we love.

"Running up that hill" is also metaphorical, it's a metaphor for the difficulties we encounter during our life with the one we love. If she swapped places with her lover, she could run up that hill with "no problems".
A - Fdsafds, Australia
Great song.
Actually, the Dutch band Within Temptation covered it a few years ago, but it wasn't a better version.
Beautiful synths and a very dreamy subject. I don't go in on details like orgasms or whateva :)
Unfortunatly Bush didn't have that much hits in Holland. As far as I know, and actually I don't know it exactly, 'Running up that hill' and 'wuthering heights'.
But I guess that's just the way it went :)
T. Michels - Venlo, Netherlands
This song to me represents the deep emotional connection one experiences when in a state of complete infatuation and love. I get the impression that the song is about the loss of a lover hence "if I only could make a deal with god...I?d be running up that hill" What Kate is trying to portray is that she feel as if she can no longer on with out the presents of her lover so if she could make a deal with god to get him/her to switch the place of her lover in heaven with her she would not think twice. That?s what I think anyway...Shana - London, England
That whole orgasm thing seems a bit ridiculous but I do think this is a really good and motivational song. Personally I prefer the cover by the Dutch gothic metal band Within Temptation. The lead singer Sharon den Adel definately does the song justice and brings it great energy and the music is even better than the original.Amanda - Las Vegas, Nv
My wife says it's about a deal with God where she changes bodies with a man so that she can experience the intense male orgasm.Tom - Hartford, Ct
In the UK, this was the most successful of Kate's 1980s releases, though her biggest hit was her 1978 UK No.1 "Wuthering Heights". After a slow chart climb - and also holding the No.4 position for five (chart) weeks in August - it finally peaked at No.3 in September 1985, and Kate performed it at least six times on Top of the Pops (surely a record for a UK single that failed to hit the top slot...) Her other big hits included "Cloudbusting", "The Man With The Child In His Eyes", "Babooshka", "This Woman's Work" and "Don't Give Up"Dave - Cardiff, Wales
The song of Coldplay called Speed of Sound's base line was intended to be the same base line of Running Up That Hill. Chris Martin admitted it in the summer of 2005.Carissa - Seattle, Wa
I like the song also, but not really sure what it's about. On the onehand she is talking about swapping places to see discover how deep the bullet lays, but later on she is talking about exchanging an experience.

Maybe it's like The Cars earlier works, abstract lyrics. I still adore it!
Steve - Chino Hills, Ca
The Placebo cover isn't a patch on the original. It just doesn't have the spirit that Kate gives it. It's such a motivational song!Robyn - Adelaide, Australia
The instrument used in the beginning of this track not sure if it's a pan pipe but it blows me away!Paul - London, England
I love this tune. I'm not a huge fan of many solo female artist, but this song is great. It reminds me of the height of the 80's and my youth, back when things were so care free and much more relaxed then today. Those days will never be forgotten, just not relived.Dee - Indianapolis, In
One of the things I love about this song is the music and ryhtm beneath it. Did Bush produce her own recorsd> I'm surprised the keyboard rift hasnt been sampled for a rap song yet its really good.Will - Sf, Ca
I absolutely adore Kate Bush!!Like Jaquie in New Zealand she has greatly influenced my life.It is difficult to believe that her music has not been embraced by more people in North America.Here in Canada she is a bit more known than in the U.S.A.Muchmusic(Canada's version of MTV)played many of her videos on a regular(but certainly not heavy)rotation.Lee - Ottawa, Canada
I love kate bush.
I was given the cassette of 'the whole story' when I was about 12. she is the only artist that has left a lasting impression on me.
She is odd, smart and brilliant.
Even now as I'm nearing 30 she is still as powerful and evocative as ever.
it sounds cliched and cheesey but she has really influenced my life and music.
I hope she is happy wherever she is.
Jaquie - Auckland, New Zealand
"Mostly unknown in America"? I had no idea. I mean, I live in America, and I guess I've never heard people talk about her, but my dad loves her so much. I guess I always assumed most people knew who she was.Tiana - A City, Oh
had a few hits downunder, Babooshka, Wuthering Heights, Running up that hill and the duet with Pete Gabriel ,Don't give up , great film clipPete - Nowra, Australia
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