Full Circle:

Music apps and social media spur students to discover hits from decades past. 

By Mary-Margaret Dwyer ’20

Last fall, Nathan Apocada’s truck broke down on his way to work. So instead, he rode his longboard down the Idaho freeway and posted a 15-second video to TikTok of himself cruising, sipping Ocean Spray cranberry juice — and listening to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” 

Apocada quickly rose to fame, bringing Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit along for the ride. 

The video immediately went viral — with TikTok and other social media users passing it on — to the tune of 2.9 million views in just three days. By the following week, the video reached nearly 8.5 million views. That’s as if every person who lives in New York City watched it in one week.

Thanks to methods of listening to music that weren’t around when “Dreams” was last on top, Fleetwood Mac’s No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts returned to No. 21 — 43 years later.

“I had seen TikToks and tweets about the band, but I didn’t know that it was an older band,” says Kara Burke ’21. “I honestly assumed they were a new alt rock band or something.” 

“Dreams” is among several songs that recently got a second wave of popularity through streaming and social media. A listener can use a music app to create a playlist and send it to friends in seconds — and videos like Apocada’s can go viral in minutes. 

Ken Noto ’80 was at Geneseo in the boombox and turntable days. He remembers listening to Fleetwood Mac on vinyl. “We heard ‘Dreams’ before it was a hit,” he says. “I went to Buzzo’s to buy it soon after it came out. I knew it would be as big a hit as the 1975 album.” Noto remembers hearing the song and album all across campus, in all the residence halls and off-campus bars. If he visits Kelly’s or the Idle Hour now, he can tap along to it with the crowd, as it is played nearly every hour. 

“The internet does great things, bringing back gems,” says Jack Swanson ’21, who was also introduced to “Dreams” through the viral video. Songs used in parody music videos for the videogame Minecraft also introduced him to the 2010 hit “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” by Usher. 

Another rediscovery is the 1980s hit “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder. The song became popular on TikTok as people texted the song lyrics to their friends and posted their reactions.

“I’ve really enjoyed being exposed to old music on TikTok,” says Burke. “I’ve found older songs I’ve liked and then have been able to explore other music by those artists.”

Explore More Comeback Songs: A playlist of the most popular songs last fall on TikTok

Want to explore some of these comeback songs yourself? Find a blast from the past? Here’s a playlist of popular songs on TikTok:

  • “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
  • “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder
  • “It’s Tricky” by Run-DMC
  • “Pump Up the Jam” by Technotronic
  • “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington Jr.
  • “Heart of Glass” by Blondie
  • “Cars That Go Boom” by L’Trimm
  • “Potential Breakup Song” by Aly & AJ
  • “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae
  •  “Where Is the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas