Beyond Kate Bush: An ’80s Resurgence is Happening in the Charts Thanks to Popular Media

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The long-awaited fourth season of Netflix’s Stranger Things brought more than just the next chapter in the Hawkins gang’s story. Thanks to its superbly retro soundtrack, pop singer Kate Bush re-entered the charts, earning her first Top 10 song with her 1985 single “Running Up That Hill,” 35 years after its release.

But Bush isn’t the only ’80s icon experiencing a re-birth this year. It seems that the influx of nostalgia-fueled media is making the charts look more like it’s 1985 than 2022. From Reagan-era pop to hazy reggae, these songs are cropping up around social media and garnering popularity afresh.

Although “Running Up That Hill” is undoubtedly the standout from the Stranger Things 4 soundtrack, another featured song is enjoying a major gain this week—Musical Youth’s “Pass the Dutchie.”

After being used as a sort of stoner theme song for main character Jonathan Byers and his new Californian “partner in crime,” Argyle, the song was quickly picked up around Tik Tok, backing up videos of daily routines, celebrity edits, and vibey aesthetic films.

Thanks to its success on the app, the song jumped a massive 1,437 percent in streams over the past chart week. Its current tally is at 1.998 million, according to Luminate. Other songs featured on the soundtrack that have found renewed success are Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me ‘Round (Like a Record),” Baltimora’s “Tarzan Boy” and Extreme’s “Play With Me.”

Elsewhere, the newly released Top Gun sequel has brought the 1986 film into a new age and brought its Kenny Loggins theme song along with it. The action classic, “Danger Zone,” features in both the original film and the rebooted Top Gun: Maverick‘s opening sequences. The song saw a 142 percent climb in streams, landing at nearly 4 million according to Luminate.

Tik Tok has also picked up the song, with men choosing it as the backing sound to videos of them shaving the “Goose-esque” mustache, sported by Miles Teller, in the new film.

Meanwhile, “Top Gun Anthem,” the original credits theme by Harold Faltemeyer and Steve Stevens, was up 169 percent, counting 692,000 streams. And despite not being used in the film at all, Berlin’s Hot 100-topping track “Take My Breath Away” love theme from the original film has also seen a 2 million rise in streams this past week.

Teller and his new Burt Reynolds look should be receiving a thank you from Loggins and Berlin for driving up sales any time now.

Not attached to either franchise, another ’80s perennial “Everybody Want to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears’ is also experiencing a new rise. The song reached the No. 12 spot on Billboard’s Rock Streaming Songs chart, seemingly out of the blue.

Its resurgence is once again due to Tik Tok and its penchant for reviving old songs. The U.K. new wave duo’s 1985 track received a 33 percent bump in streams, rising to nearly 5 million in this week alone.

If its newfound popularity doesn’t seem as meteoric as Bush’s and Loggins’, it’s because the song’s recent virality has been relatively gradual. The song has experienced average streams in the high 2 million and the low 3 million for most of 2022.

So why is it just now hitting the charts? It could be that the rise in an ’80s pastiche, via Stranger Things and Top Gun: Maverick, is reminding music listeners of the insatiably catchy, and pulsing hits of the era – of which Tears for Fear’s anthemic track is certainly leading the pack. The song is currently featured on both Spotify’s official ’80s Hits and ’80s Pop Rock playlists.

Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

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