Remembering the time Kate Bush performed Running Up That Hill with Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and made magic

David Gilmour and Kate Bush
(Image credit: Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

Thanks to Netflix's immensely popular sci-fi/horror series Stranger Things, Kate Bush's fantastical 1985 ballad Running Up That Hill is going through a renaissance as of late, with the song infiltrating all corners of the web, be it via humorous reactionary videos on TikTok or gate-keeping quips on Twitter, as well as topping charts.

What better opportunity, then, to shine a light on one of the most extraordinary and perhaps overlooked collaborations our world has seen: Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and Kate Bush performing a duet of Running Up That Hill together in 1987, at the Secret Policeman’s Ball inside the London Palladium.

There's a significant backstory between the pair, too, which makes the moment even more magical. While Bush was still at school as a teen, her family produced a demo tape with over 50 of her compositions. The demo tape was sent out to a load of record labels and swiftly turned down - until the Pink Floyd guitarist got involved.

When the tape was passed on to Gilmour by Ricky Hopper, a mutual friend of the guitarist and Bush family, he was immediately smitten with her otherworldly and unique voice - so much so that he made it his priority to get her signed. From then on, a life-long friendship, and fruitful career, was formed.

“I was intrigued by this strange voice,” Gilmour said in a BBC interview. “I went to her house, met her parents down in Kent. And she played me, gosh, it must have been 40 or 50 songs on tape. And I thought: ‘I should try and do something.'

“I think we had the [EMI] record-company people down at Abbey Road in No. 3,” Gilmour adds. “And I said to them, ‘Do you want to hear something I’ve got?’ They said sure, so we found another room and I played them The Man with a Child in his Eyes. And they said, ‘Yep, thank you — we’ll have it.’ [Laughs.]"

On top of scoring her a recording contract with EMI, who she released five full-length records with, Gilmour managed to persuade Bush – who was notoriously uninterested in live performances – to take to the stage with him in both 1987 and 2002. The latter saw Bush join Gilmour again for another rendition, this time to sing Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb at the Royal Festival Hall.

As for their main collaborations, Gilmour produced two songs on Bush's debut album, The Kick Inside. He also performs backing vocals on Pull Out the Pin and plays guitar on Love and Anger and Rocket’s Tail.

Check out the 1987 performance of Running Up That Hill below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.