The B-side of the 7" single contains Bush's song "Under the Ivy". The 12-inch single is an extended remix of "Running Up That Hill", and the B-side also has an instrumental version, as well as "Under the Ivy".
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! [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.
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. A less highbrow analysis reveals the drum pattern to bear a striking resemblance to Sylvia's 1973 hit song, "Pillow Talk". Both songs deal quite frankly with the subject of lovemaking. The rhythm would show up again in 1987 on Fleetwood Mac's "Big Love" single, which also explores sexual politics in its lyrics.
The dance draws upon contemporary dance with a repeated gesture suggestive of drawing a bow and arrow (the gesture was made literal on the image for the single in which Bush poses with a real bow and arrow). At the climax of the song, Bush's partner unexpectedly withdraws from her. In a surreal sequence, both are swept away down a long hall in opposite directions by an endless stream of anonymous figures wearing masks that are pictures of Bush and Hervieu's faces.
MTV however, chose not to show this video and instead used a live performance of the song recorded at a promotional appearance on the BBC TV show Wogan). This was possibly due to the fact that the original video contains no actual performance or lip-synching of the song, or more likely they simply felt the original video too highbrow or sexually charged for their audience.
"Running Up That Hill" has also been incorporated into other songs by artists in live performance. Pink Floyd, and American alternative rock singer-songwriter and pianist Tori Amos have sung verses of the song during her live tours, often working certain lines of the song into her cover of The Cure's "Lovesong" in her 1996 tour, and sometimes plays a part of the song before and another part after performing her own song "God" in her 2005 tour.
Oregon based Chromatics covered the song on their 2007 album 'Night Drive'.
"Running Up That Hill" was released as a single in October, 2006, and was included on the re-released version of Meds in 2007, along with the song, 'UNEEDMEMORETHANINEEDU'. It was then included on Covers, a rerelease of the Sleeping With Ghosts bonus disc.
Placebo's take on the song is more downbeat than the original, and focuses more on instrumentation. It has been described by Q Magazine as 'sound[ing] more like a pact with the Devil' than the original 'deal with God'.
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