On this day in music history: August 19, 1983 - “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder is released. Written by Matthew Wilder and Greg Prestopino, it is the second solo single and biggest hit for the singer, songwriter, musician and producer from New York City. Born Matthew Weiner in Manhattan, Wilder begins his music career in the early 70’s, forming a folk-rock duo with Peter Darmi called Matthew & Peter. They are among the first artists signed to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Records in 1972. The album “Under The Arch” and single “Smiles”, both flop with them breaking up soon after. In 1978, Wilder moves to L.A., landing work singing commercial jingles and as a backing vocalist for Rickie Lee Jones and Bette Midler. By the 80’s, he’s ready to try recording again, signing with Arista Records. His single “Work So Hard” stalls at #32 on the AC chart on October 16, 1982. Continuing to write, Matthew pens “Break My Stride” with fellow Bette Midler backing vocalist Greg Prestopino. Outwardly, it appears to be about a failed relationship with a woman, the true inspiration comes from Clive Davis. Frustrated at his songs being rejected, it is a defiant rebuke of Davis. The track is cut at Quiet Riot producer Spencer Proffer’s Pasha Studios in Hollywood, with the musician paying for the session himself. “Stride” features Wilder (lead and backing vocals, synthesizer), Peter Bunetta (DMX drum programming, percussion), Bill Elliott (synthesizer), Dennis Herring (guitar) and Prestopino and Joe Turano (backing vocals). Submitting a tape to Arista’s A&R department, it’s returned with a note from Davis stating, “Interesting song, but not a hit”. Tiring of getting the run around, the singer asks for his release from Arista. Shopping the song around, he finds interest at CBS Records. Wilder is signed to Private I Records, a subsidiary of Epic run by notorious indie record promoter Joe Isgro (The Network). Once released, “Break My Stride” is not an instant hit, taking nearly a month to crack the chart. Entering the Hot 100 at #94 on September 17, 1983, it begins a long slow ascent. After fifteen weeks, it hits the top 10 on December 24, 1983. At a time when MTV dominates the landscape, “Stride” achieves success without a video, with Private I refusing Wilder the budget to make one. It peaks at #5 on the Hot 100 on January 21, 1984, #4 on the AC chart, #17 on the Club Play chart and #76 on the R&B singles chart, also hitting #4 on the UK singles chart. Wilder only hits the top 40 one more time with the follow up “The Kid’s American” (#32 Pop) in the Spring of 1984. Regarded as an 80’s classic, “Break My Stride” has endured in popularity over the years, most notably having its chorus interpolated into Puff Daddy’s chart topping single “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” in 1997. Matthew Wilder has continued working as a highly successful record producer, producing hits for No Doubt, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson and Miley Cyrus.
On this day in music history: April 14, 1980 - “British Steel”, the sixth album by Judas Priest is released. Produced by Tom Allom, it is recorded at Startling Studios in Ascot, UK from January - February 1980. After an extended world tour to promote their previous studio release “Killing Machine/Hell Bent For Leather” and the subsequent live album “Unleashed In The East”, Judas Priest return to the studio at the beginning of 1980 to work on their next full length LP. The band record the album on the English country estate (Tittenhurst Park) formerly owned by John Lennon (now owned by Ringo Starr). It is their first album to feature all original material written by the band, and the first to include new drummer Dave Holland (replacing Les Binks). The album is the British heavy metal bands breakthrough release in the US, and includes the classics “Breaking The Law” and “Living After Midnight”. The album is remastered and reissued in 2010 as a CD/DVD 30th anniversary edition with the CD including two live bonus tracks. The DVD features live performances, and a documentary on the making of the album. It is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by UK label Simply Vinyl in 2001, with a later reissue from Sony Legacy in 2008. And in 2010. UK reissue label Back On Black releases various pressings of “Steel” on red, clear, blue and standard black vinyl, also as a limited edition picture disc. “British Steel” peaks at number four on the UK album chart, number thirty four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.