Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Break My Stride" by Matthew Wilder

Top 10 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  1609
Date:  09/17/1983
Debut:  94
Peak:  5
Weeks:  29
Genre:  Pop, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  New Yorker Wilder made a move to L.A. late in the 70s to pursue a solo career in music. He built up his resume singing commercial jingles and backing hot artists like Rickie Lee Jones. He got the attention of Arista and in 1980 they signed him. An initial single titled "Work So Hard" was released in 1982, but it failed to do anything. Feeling a lack of support from Arista, Wilder wrote a new song called "Break My Stride" in hopes of generating attention from the label. He recorded it on his own dime and sent it over to Clive Davis, who didn't think the song was a hit. With Clive and Arista ignoring him, Wilder then chose to move on and eventually signed with the Epic offshoot label Private I, who issued the single. It took a while for the tune to catch on, but it would eventually find its way into the Pop Top 10. It would also become a multi-format hit reaching #4 AC, #17 Dance, and #76 R&B. The song would be his only major hit and despite having two other lower charting follow-ups, the lack of a second significant single got Wilder tagged as a one-hit wonder. His solo career may have stalled, but Wilder would go on to be a highly successful songwriter/producer for many artists.

ReduxReview:  I think what attracted me to this song are the chords used, the progression of them them, and the melody. Those things all worked together to create a warming sound that hit my ears just right. It's bouncy, syncopated synths gave the song a driving rhythm and made the song stick out on radio. It's a great relic from the 80s that can brighten any day.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Wilder got his first chance at stardom when he (under his real given name of Weiner) and Peter Darmi formed the NYC folk duo Matthew & Peter. They got the attention of A&M who signed them to a deal. The pair would issue one album in 1972 called Under the Arch, a reference to their days of playing under the Washington Square arch in New York. The album failed to find an audience and that ended the duo's major label days.


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