How TikTok has turned classic Fleetwood Mac and ABBA tunes into contemporary hits

If you’ve turned on FM radio recently or listened to the latest Spotify or Apple Music charts, you might have noticed a few familiar tunes on high rotation.

Boney M’s 1978 hit ‘Rasputin’ and Fleetwood Mac’s classic ‘Dreams’ from 1977, which both reached number one in Australia when they were originally released, have now found a new fan base, thanks in large part to their use in TikTok videos.

“[TikTok] is having a huge impact on the music industry,” Nova 96.9 radio presenter Tim Blackwell told Today Extra. Watch above!

On TikTok, users (or ‘TikTokers’) regularly use popular songs to bring their videos to life, whether as a backing track to a funky new dance routine, the soundtrack to a bite-sized cooking video, or to accompany a funny meme.

“They’re tried and tested hits, and, when you think about this, now in the midst of a global pandemic, when we can’t go and see live music, record companies would be rubbing their hands together because these songs are coming back and to a new audience as well,” Blackwell said.

In October last year, a TikTok video of a bloke sipping cranberry juice while riding a skateboard listening to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ catapulted the classic track into a whole new dimension and to a whole new generation. 

READ MORE: Taylor Swift joins TikTok and the Swifties go mad

The video notched up 72 million views, Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks relishing the renewed interest in the song and happily jumping on the #cranberrydreams bandwagon.

“Imagine being Mick Fleetwood in Hawaii sipping a pina colada and watching his bank account go up. It’s a pretty good day at work I reckon!” Blackwell said.

It wasn’t long before Jolyon Petch was also riding (or skating) on ‘Dreams” newfound Tiktok fame. In April the New Zealand-born DJ released his own fresh take on the song, which spent seven weeks atop the ARIA Club charts.

“He actually got in touch with us at Nova & he wanted everyone to know this is a cover version, not a remix. He’s remade all the elements himself including the incredible vocal. It’s the song — or the gift — that keeps on giving!” Blackwell said.

ABBA in 1976.

ABBA, who are enjoying another moment in the sun after announcing new music and their ‘Voyage’ virtual reunion tour last week, have also found new fans thanks to TikTok.

Their songs are favourites among users of the platform, including Melbourne DJ Sgt Slick, who last year released a remix of the 1978 hit ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’.

Like Petch with his cover of ‘Dreams’, Slick was quick to notice videos featuring ABBA’s familiar tunes ranked highly among TikTok’s most popular trending videos.

According to Blackwell, though, the trick to achieving genuine new chart success with old classics — regardless of their popularity on TikTok — all comes down to maintaining a song’s familiar sound while adding a brand new vocal track and modern dance beat.

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“[Artists like Petch and Slick] don’t own the songwriting royalties like Fleetwood Mac and ABBA do, but they do own the master recording of their tracks. So, if these songs get picked up on radio — which we’re guilty of [at Nova] — then they’re certainly picking up a pretty penny because of it,” Blackwell said. 

Even Russia’s so-called “greatest love machine” Rasputin has been resurrected because of TikTok! Boney M’s 1978 disco dancefloor staple — named in honour of Tsar Nicholas II’s trusted mystic and holy man — is now back in the charts thanks to a 2021 update from North London DJ and producer Majestic.

“People jumped on Tik Tok to do their best [muscle] flex to the ‘big and strong’ lyric and now the song is number one again and we love it!” Blackwell said.

“I wonder how smart some of these older bands will get and start infiltrating Tik Tok from the back door just to get their hit back into the chart? It’s certainly easier than making a feature film like Queen and Elton John did!” 

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