Last night I had the strangest dream…
Break My Stride, a perky pop smash from 1983 is suddenly a big deal on TikTok, the social media app where users share short, quirky videos of themselves lip-syncing, cooking or just being silly.
No-one’s sure how the song, a one-hit-wonder from the era of Manic Miner and The A-Team, went viral. But it has.
Thousands of users have shared the song, and compilations of the clips are racking up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
Here’s how it works: You text someone the lyrics to Break My Stride, one line at a time, until they figure out what’s going on; then you film yourself dancing in front of the text chain.
It sounds ridiculous – it is ridiculous – but the results are often hilarious.
Teachers have been pranked by their pupils, and cheating boyfriends have met their comeuppance. One user sent the lyrics to a man who’d been lurking in her DMs. Other recipients simply recognise the song and join in the fun. Compilations of the clips have been watched more than 100,000 times on YouTube.
This has all come as a surprise to Matthew Wilder, who wrote and recorded the song 37 years ago.
“I’m astonished and I’m thrilled,” he tells the BBC. “It’s that simple.”
It was his brother who first alerted him to the trend, about two weeks ago. “He’s got these Google alerts that pop up, so he forwarded one to me,” says the musician.
“I looked at it and shrugged and didn’t really think much of it. But then the messages started flowing in more and more frequently and I began to realise a phenomenon was beginning to occur.”
The singer says Break My Stride has been played more than 62 million times on TikTok; and the influence is spreading. The track has recently popped up on Spotify’s Viral 50 and Apple Music’s Top 100 charts around the world, giving it a whole new lease of life.
“It’s very difficult for me to keep up,” says the 67-year-old, who’s been working with Sony Music’s legacy team to “help me navigate” the song’s sudden resurgence.
That led to him setting up his own TikTok account to interact with fans, and posting his own version of the meme (while wrapped in a duvet). Meanwhile, a YouTube video depicting the song’s lyrics as modern-day text messages has been hastily thrown together.