The television series “Stranger Things” is one of the most popular on the Netflix platform and on all television, thanks in large part to the nostalgia it generates for all things eighties. And in that sense it is an ideal laboratory to revive old pop hits, thanks to the hidden arts of its music coordinator, Nora Felder.
The best known case, of course, was the recovery of the song “Running up that hill”, by British singer Kate Bush. A success of 1985, which was again in the summer of 2022, thanks to becoming a key piece not only in the musical background of the fourth season, but also in its history.
On May 30, after the first episodes of the fourth season of the series were broadcast on Netflix, “Running up that hill” climbed to the top of listening positions on Spotify, the leader in music platforms. Downloads of the song “increased by 8,700% worldwide,” Spotify explained. And by rebound, other Kate Bush songs became popular again, with a “1,600%” increase in downloads.
It was all thanks to Nora Felder, the master of ceremonies of that phenomenon, something that requires more cunning than it seems. “Is incredible! We knew it would be special, because we already used ‘Should I stay or should I go’ by the Clash in the first season, and there was an uptick in downloads, “explained Felder. “But we didn’t imagine it would take on this dimension for Kate Bush,” she adds.
Felder saw his success with “Stranger Things” crowned with an Emmy Award. And many more people now listen to his lectures, he explains with a laugh.
But, he says, his job isn’t as simple as it might seem to any Spotify playlist maker. “People think that just putting in any good song is enough,” she says.
“Actually, we coordinate all the aspects around the music of a project, whether it is the creative part as well as the negotiation of the rights of a song, or choosing composers, musicians…”, explained the Californian, who has already coordinated the soundtrack of the series “Californication” or “Ray Donovan”.
Felder worked in New York, first as a programmer in a club, and then recruited by producer Phil Ramone (no connection to the Ramones) to record Paul Simon, Sinead O’Connor, Cyndi Lauper or Iggy Pop. In her fifties, Felder is installed in Los Angeles, the epicenter of the film industry.
How did you choose “Running up that hill”? She knew that Kate Bush was “very selective” in the use of her repertoire. “I took a long time to contact her representatives, explain to them what the song represented for the story, the characters,” Felder said. But what she didn’t know was that during the negotiations, Kate Bush was watching the series, and that she liked it. “When we received the approval from her it was a great relief, because this song meets all the demands of the series,” she reiterated.
“Running up that hill” was successful four decades ago, unlike “Master of Puppets”, a song by the heavy group Metallica, whose appearance in “Stranger Things” also had a multiplier effect.
“This song suits Eddie’s character very well, everyone likes him. Some reject metal like someone rejecting a book without opening it, but thanks to Eddie, viewers opened the book and loved that Metallica song,” says Felder.
In the Netflix series, Eddie Munson appears in the fourth season as a rebellious young metalhead, guitarist in a small group, appreciated by those who know him closely.
In gratitude for this renewed success of their song, Metallica sent Felder flowers and a collector’s edition of “Master of Puppets” (the title of the 1986 album) when the music coordinator was nominated for an Emmy. “Now they follow me on the networks, and when I realized it, I said to myself: ‘oh, but it’s Metallica!’ When it comes to music, I’m still a girl.”
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Resurrecting screen hits: Kate Bush and Metallica top the charts decades later
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