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03 June 2022

Stranger Things Music Supervisor On Getting Kate Bush’s Approval

Stranger Things clearance - Kate Bush
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Stranger Things music supervisor, Nora Felder, has spoken to Variety about the show’s use of the Kate Bush classic, Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God), and getting clearance from the artist.

Felder explained that the show’s executive producers tasked her with finding a song that resonated with the intense emotional upheaval that the character Max was experiencing. Felder decided on Running Up That Hill, “It immediately struck me with its deep chords of the possible connection to Max’s emotional struggles and took on more significance as Bush’s song marinated in my conscious awareness.”

The choice worked perfectly, the next challenge was to get clearance for the song. Felder remembers, “I sat with my clearance coordinator, and laid out all the scripted scenes for song uses that we knew of at that point. Knowing the challenges, we proceeded to create elaborate scene descriptions that provided as much context as possible so that Kate and her camp would have a full understanding of the uses. … When we finished, we were on edge, but excited and hopeful.”

Wende Crowley – Sony Music’s SVP of creative marketing, film and TV received the request, “Nora Felder came to us pre-pandemic to discuss the idea of using it as Max’s ‘song’ for this season. She wanted to make sure it was within the realm of possibility before she got the Duffer Brothers on board with the idea, since the song was going to be “such a focal point to Max’s storyline,” says Crowley. “Kate Bush is selective when it comes to licensing her music and because of that, we made sure to get script pages and footage for her to review so she could see exactly how the song would be used.”

According to the feature, Kate Bush was already a big fan of the show, understood the impact the song could have and granted permission.

Felder underlined the importance of Running Up That Hill to the character of Max, “Kate Bush’s lyrics can mean very different things to different people. In the face of Max’s painful isolation and alienation from others, a ‘deal with god’ could heart-wrenchingly reflect Max’s implicit belief that only a miracle of unlikely understanding and show of support could help her climb the hills of life before her. In Max’s situation, the need for a ‘deal with god’ can perhaps be metaphorically understood as a desperate cry for love — to manifest the extraordinary understanding and support Max needed while feeling so painfully alone.”

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