Here’s why TikTokers are obsessed with a bizarre, 1970s disco song: ‘This brought back my childhood’

Why is a song about Rasputin going viral on TikTok?

There’s a new favorite audio on TikTok, and for some users, it might seem pretty bizarre. It’s a disco-fueled dance track called “Rasputin,” and it’s popped up in more than 3 million videos on the app.

TikTokers (and their pets!) have been dancing to the song for weeks now. As with any viral TikTok track, it’s already inspired a number of trends — including one where, in sync with the lyrics, users show off how “big and strong” they are.

But what is the “Rasputin” song? And where did it come from? Here’s everything you need to know about TikTok’s new favorite sound.

What is the ‘Rasputin’ song?

Despite its newfound fame, “Rasputin” is actually more than 40 years old. The track was originally released in 1978 by the German pop group Boney M.

The song provides the mostly fictionalized life story of Grigori Rasputin, the Russian “Mad Monk” who became a prominent figure in the country’s politics in the late 19th and early 20th century. He was famous for his influence over Nicholas II, the final Emperor of Russia — and, as the song suggests, for being a bit of a ladies’ man (although that part is a little harder to prove).

“Rasputin” was an international hit when it first came out, but the track gained new prominence in the late 2000s — thanks to the video game Just Dance. The game featured an elaborate, sometimes absurd dance routine set to the track.

For years, YouTubers went viral for posting their attempts at the routine, which is, admittedly, very wild.

Why is the ‘Rasputin’ song going viral on TikTok?

Now, “Rasputin” is getting a third life. The song has blown up on TikTok in recent weeks, dating all the way back to late December of 2020.

It’s unclear exactly where the trend came from, but one of its earliest viral videos — by a user named Lauren Poppin — showed two young women replicating a segment of the Just Dance routine.

This makes a lot of sense, considering that many hit songs don’t go viral on TikTok until they have a dance routine. “Rasputin,” meanwhile, arrived on the platform with its own built-in, well-known dance — one that gives many users a sense of nostalgia.

“This brings me back to my childhood!” one commenter wrote on Poppin’s video.

“Rasputin” has spun off beyond its Just Dance fame, though. In addition to dances, there’s also the “big and strong” trend — where users show themselves in baggy clothes before flash-cutting to their biceps as Boney M. sings, “He was big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow.”

The track even seems to have hit the point of uber-popularity where it’s being used in totally unrelated videos — following in the footsteps of songs like “Say So” or “Stunnin‘,” both of which grew well beyond the trend that first made them go viral.

In fact, one of the most popular TikToks to feature “Rasputin” is literally just a clip of two guys jumping over waves. It has nearly 80 million views.

Like with any TikTok trend, it’s hard to say how long the “Rasputin” song will last — but in the meantime, it’s a great chance to dance, flex your muscles or … um, film your friend hopping over a wave?

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