Monday, April 13, 2009

The Annals of Music: Matthew Wilder

“My favorite song? That’s a hard question, but I would have to say “Break My Stride.”
-John Cusack

Matthew Wilder, most famous for his 1983 hit, “Break My Stride,” started what would become a synth-pop revolution in the 1980’s. Wilder (the grandson of Hollywood great Billy Wilder) started his music career as a guitarist in the mid-seventies for several disco acts, including the Bee-Gees. Inspired by the Bee-Gees 1976 B-Side, “Stranger in NYC,” Wilder was blown away by the pulsating synthesizer that Barry Gibb used to give the piece a frenetic feel that mirrors New York’s legendary nightlife. Wilder soon started composing pieces on his spare time with a Moog VCS-3. Soon disco faded and Wilder was bent on contributing to a dying dance culture in New York and started playing synth-driven pop ballads that no one in the city had heard before – or was willing to accept. New York was in music upheaval, The Ramones had shifted the music landscape from Rockaway Beach to the Lower Eastside. But disco-revelers soon founded a club in the Village, Waves (once a haughty seafood joint, the owners kept the sign). Wilder started out playing with an accompaniment of two synthesizers on Tuesday nights. Soon he had a following and his song, “Break My Stride,” was soon discovered by A&R recording exec Martin Katz. Katz loved “BMS,” and made it into a single. The song made it to number one on the Billboard charts and stayed for three weeks. Wilder’s passion soon brought on a wave of 80’s synth-powered pop that was labeled after the club, New Wave. Wilder is a legend and inspired the likes of Flock of Seagulls, A-Ha and numerous other acts. Wilder now writes and produces songs for current popstars. Listen to “BMS” and you just won’t get it out of your head!

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