As promised, I said I’d update when I had the CD, and yes, it’s finally here! At 1:30PM on 14th November, the jolly postperson dropped a little red Jiffy bag through the Mercuryvapour Towers portcullis. It contained my most sought after disc, and I can finally close this 23 year quest once and for all.
So… er, that’s it for that. No idea what I’m going to blog about now. I will now return you back to months of complete silence. Probably.
As I’m sure that everyone I’ve spoken to over the last three months or so are aware, I know exactly what the ‘unknown song’ is I’m sure you can scroll down/up a couple of posts if you’re really completely unaware. Anyway, finding out what is it, and owning a physical copy are two different things, especially when it comes to library music. As luck would have it, a copy turned up on ebay, with those three magic words… ‘Buy it Now’, I SHOULD soon be the proud owner of the CD for a penny short of £7. It’s considerably cheaper than getting it shipped over from Croatia, or Italy, which is where, at the time of typing, the only two copies exist on Discogs.
Yes, I’m 100% sure that the CD will appear cheaper on ebay at some point. No need to point it out. I’m just happy that the only copy I’ve seen so far looks like this, and it belongs to me…
Yes, I’m fully aware that posting this is entirely tempting fate, and the postal service is going to swallow it up, never to be seen again. I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised in the least. The things that have gone wrong for me in the last few months since the dscovery of ‘The Unknown Song’, are, quite literally, staggering. It’s like that moment, on 5th September, of me discovering that song was some type of ‘pinnacle’ in my life, and since that moment, some cosmic being turned my dial all the day to 0. Of course, that’s bullshit, and everything has of course just been a massive coincidence, and all of this shit would have happened if I’d have held up my phone and Shazamed the unknown song one more time, but still.
Obviously, I don’t really talk about life stuff on here anymore, but if I did, there’d be several pages of stuff. Certainly enough to bore you all senseless with. Anyway. This took a much darker turn than that I was intending, so, the next post will be when the CD arrives!
For those of you who’ve been following this blog and/or my life in general, you know I’ve been after a certain piece of music for nigh on 25 years. It was used in a local radio phone-in show called “Tom’s Talk-in”, hosted by Tom Davies. After adverts and various other breaks in the show, he would use several pieces of music, edited down to become short instrumentals, aka music ‘beds’.
About 20 clips were used at the time, including a remix of Gabrielle’s “Dreams” which you could only find on the CD single, and “Downtown” by One 2 Many. Over the course of the show, I pretty much found out what all of the songs he used were, but one particular clip remained elusive.
Going through some old tapes many years ago, I found a clip of it. I asked if anyone knew it. A 16 second clip is all I had to go by.
Many people have said they’d heard it, but all drew a blank. I even asked on Usenet back in the day, and while there were plenty of suggestions, not one proved helpful.
I rang the show and asked Tom himself. I think he cut me off. For some reason, he didn’t like people asking about his music beds, as if they were a big secret. I even asked my mate Chris to ring in and ask, to see if he could catch Tom in a better mood. Nope. His response essentially was “No you can’t buy it. It was written for the show, and it doesn’t have a name”. I began to think it really was written for the show. Maybe Richard Kell, his sound engineer, had knocked it up in his spare time?
Eventually, Tom’s Talk-in disappeared off the airwaves, and I thought the song was gone forever. At some point, I happened to catch a few seconds of the kids’ telly programme ‘Grange Hill’, and I could have sworn I heard it on a radio during a scene, with female vocals.
That, to me, meant it had to be a proper, commercially released song. Surely someone would be able to identify it? Turns out my assumption was entirely wrong, but more on that later.
It also proved that Tom may have lied about it being especially written for the show. Just hearing this meant that I’d have this obsession for nigh-on 25 years.
Many posts on here about it proved to be no help. Now, the days before Shazam was a phone app, it used to be a premium rate line. You call the number, hole the phone up to the music, and it sent you a text. Well, this was my first, of many also positives from there. Unfortunately, it’s not perfect, and would often throw up a random song that might have a similar beat. Usually, these have a small amount of identifications, (shazams) normally in single or double figures, but I’d humour it by checking. “It’s Good but it’s not the one”, as Roy Walker would say.
Every so often, I’d ask on Twitter (I refuse to call it X) or Facebook, and the same story as before. Someone will have heard it, but no idea what it was. Back to square one. Every time I played it, I’d give it a few cycles through Shazam.
I even uploaded it a couple of times to the website “WatZatSong”. A community ran website, where you upload a song, and other members help you identify it. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. With every day that passed, I’d believe more and more that it really was just written for the show, and maybe my identification on Grange Hill was incorrect.
Tom’s Talk-in returned to the airwaves a couple more times. Unfortunately, while he did revive a few music beds from back in the day, this one was lost to time. Tom Davies, the presenter, was found in possession of indecent images, and died just a few days before his sentencing
And that, the only glimmer of hope, disappeared. Tom was dead, and so was my chance of ever finding this track.
Every so often, I’d revisit it. Run a shazam, search blankly for the result, only to find out it was incorrect. I was used to this by now.
A day or two ago, I got a notification on “WatZatSong”. Somebody had started following my post. They didn’t help identify it, but seeing as I was on the page, I played the track, and ran Shazam on it one more time.
Up came another track. This one only had 15 shazams. This is never a good sign, as mentioned previously. It was nearing bedtime, so once again, I’d humour it, especially as it appeared on a Bruton library CD. These are notoriously difficult to find clips online. Eventually, I tracked it down on the Universal Music website.
I clicked play. My heart didn’t so much skip a beat, as pop out of my chest and go sliding along the keyboard. THERE IT WAS. It even had the female vocals on it. Oh my god. I’ve never felt an adrenalin rush like it. I reached for my phone and texted Chris.
I just had to tell someone, and he’d been with me since the very start.
You’ll be unsurprised to hear that he didn’t know what the hell I was on about, until I’d calmed down and explained everything in a bit more detail.
So, dear reader, you’ve made it through several paragraphs of crap that means nothing to anyone but me. I’m guessing you’re dying to hear it in its entirety? Well, here you go.
It’s entitled “Where Has It Gone 2” by Phil Nicholas.
This link works at the time of typing, but it’s bound to disappear in a year or two… So no doubt you’ll be asking yourself, “Where Has It Gone?”….
Ahem. Sorry about that.
And that’s it. I’ve taken a few things from this. Firstly, I led everyone on a bit of a wild goose chase, thinking it was commercially released. It wasn’t. Library CDs are only ever released to production companies, often in bulk.
Of course, it made perfect sense that a low-budget children’s TV programme such as Grange Hill would use library music for their “radio music” as it’s considerably cheaper than real, commercially released songs.
As for Tom’s Talk-in, it seems very out of place for a piece of library music to be used. Maybe Richard or Tom heard it, liked it and used it? I will never know.
Here ends a portion of my life that has gone on for longer than most of the people I work with have been alive. Despite what happened in his later years, I’ll always remember Tom as the grumpy, sarcastic phone in host with a great taste in music.
This was the last “unknown” song. I will never spend almost 30 years looking for a piece of music again.
EDIT: Many thanks to Glen for posting a link to the correct version on Roblox. I don’t even know what a Roblox is!
EDIT 2: Glen also provided a link to the artist’s Linkedin page that happens to have an email on there. I’ve dropped him an email , and hopefully he’ll get back to me, mainly just to say thanks.
I wasn’t planning to write a blog post tonight, however, I’ve just learned that the local commercial radio station for Teesside, is about to close its doors for the final time. As of Monday, TFM and Metro Radio will merge. And, despite not listening to it for many years, I will certainly miss its presence.
Thanks to a shock announcement this morning, (or probably yesterday morning by the time I finish blabbering on about my memories of the place)it was announced that their offices will close.
As much as I say I don’t listen to it NOW, and my memories are all happy ones. I can even remember as far back as when it was Radio Tees. Barely. There are some tapes kicking around the house that remind me of this fact.
It’s quite coincidental that earlier today, I was, once again, converting some old tapes from the 90s. Listening to them made me go back to the good times. It was when local radio WAS local. Phone-ins existed. Music didn’t just some off a big server. There had to be someone there to swap the CDs, play the jingle tapes, satisfy the advertisers. It was a world where you got to know the DJs. They, in rare occasions, would even do stuff for you.
Flashback to 1998. “Angel” by The Quest Project had been scheduled for release. On September 7th 1998, I was inside the local record shop (don’t get me started on the demise of THOSE!) for 9AM the day it opened, and canned the shelves. No sign. Odd. I even asked the guy at the counter. He checked their new releases list, nothing there either. It had sank without a trace. Even the radio stations had stopped playing it.
After “Tom’s Talk-in” fell off the airwaves, it was up to the guy who answered the phones, Richard Kell, to man the desks for a while, I contacted him through email and asked if he knew what had happened with it. He didn’t, but he’d check with the station to see if they had a spare copy, and gave me a direct number to call him. I did, and unfortunately, he wasn’t able to track down one. He did, however, play the song for me on the radio. I was the happiest person alive for four whole minutes!
Richard left, Tom Davies returned, Tom left again, and I never really listened to the station again. Onn the odd occasion that I’d spin the dial and it’d land on 96.6, it just wasn’t TFM anymore. Technology was obviously moving faster than my listening style was accustomed to. It seemed that every show was either broadcast nationally, or prerecorded. It was now easier to copy and paste a show together, than it was to have a guy sat there with a box of CDs, a few jingles and a smile on his face. Its target audience age kept getting younger and younger, and this type of rubbish programming is acceptable to them. Allegedly.
Despite this, the frequency is still automatically programmed in pretty much every radio we own. It’s TFM. It’s local, even if I keep expecting to hear traffic reports from Barney the sodding Dinosaur.
So, back to the memories. The roadshows were a great hit with me. These are the days before internets, so being able to see what the presenters looked like was a rare occurrence. Just like every walk of like, some look like you expect them to, some don’t. the first one I went to was a TFM-organised one, and the headline act was… erm, PJ and Duncan, now formally known as Ant and Dec. There was me, and my mate Ste. I was 14, he was a couple of years younger. We hung around long enough to see them play “let’s Get Ready to Rhumble”, and then disappeared onto the beach to bury each other in the sand, and play Ridge Racer in the arcades.
I remember one particular roadshow. It was literally, the worst planned roadshow of all time. They’d planned to have it at the Hartlepool College of FE. Wow, this’ll be great, you’d think. A college? Loads of listeners there! Whoever booked it, can’t have explained which car park they had in mind… it was the staff car park. Honestly, there were four people there, and two of them were me and Chris. In fact we just happened to be talking about it the other day. One of the DJs at that roadshow would go on to have one of the best “breakdowns” in radio history. I’m not talking about technical breakdowns, I’m talking mental He shall remain nameless, for the fear of this incident appearing in search results for him.
Anyway, it’s a normal afternoon show. I’m in my usual position, huddled over my Amiga, with TFM providing musical accompaniment. A remake of Leo Sayer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” starts playing. I don’t think much of it. Probably listenable. Not much else. It fades out and starts playing again. A bit odd. The song comes to an end again, and the DJ pipes up… “I’m not really supposed to do this, but they won’t allow this song on the air, and I think it’s going to be massive, so here it is again”. The song plays for a third time. By this time, things were starting to escalate. The song fades out, and there’s chaos. Banging on the studio windows can be heard. He continues to talk. “Sometimes you have to stand up to what you beilieve in radio, and this is going to be a massive hit for Leo Sayer… *bang bang bang bang*… I’m just gonn….”
There is silence, followed by static, as presumably they’d cut the power to the station / transmitter. This continued for about 15 minutes before things started to come back online. Robert Miles’ “Children” played through a rather low quality loop, presumably to keep the link to the transmitter open while everything starts back up. The “Programme Controller” for the station announces his apology that a presenter “overstepped the mark”, and oddly, the incident was never mentioned again, I believe the DJ in question actually went on to remix a Leo Sayer song, featuring on the CD single of the track.
Well, I’ve overstepped my personal 1,000 word limit quite nicely, and seeing as this update doesn’t have any photos, I’d be surprised if anyone has made it I LOVE MY MAN TITS this far down, so I can probably get away with inserting a humorous message somewhere in this sentence. I shall continue, as it’s a subject dear to my heart. Let’s continue at around the 1998 mark.
There was an announcement by the station that they were selling off all of their old records. A radio station? Records? Element? I was indeed in it. One slight problem. I was on the dole, or in college, earning a pittance for doing placements. Back then, money was something other people had. Still, Chris and I (ooh, the grammar nazis would be proud), headed over to Thornaby, more exactly, to Yale Crescent, the home of TFM. There were boxes and boxes of records. Singles, album’s 12″s, the lot. I spent a good few hours there, and knowing I only had literally pounds to my name, game away with a handful of singles, all labeled up with the old Radio Tees logos, cardboard sleeves, and handwritten notes of chart histories of the records, and if they were featured on any shows. I picked up Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”, with all of the stickers, and notes that it was Alistair Pirrie’s pick of the week when it was released.
My favourite purchase of the day would have to be the 7″ version of “Stainsby Girls” by Chris Rea. this was the original version, as opposed to the remixed version that seems to be the one on all of the Greatest Hits CDs. Unfortunately I managed to break it a few years back, so I don’t have it anymore, but I still remember the record, where I first got it, and more importantly, hearing it being sang live when I went to see Chris Rea play last year.
I may bore you with more TFM memories over the coming days, as I know you’re dying to hear them (this is more of a niche entry than my usual shite!)but I’ll finish by giving an update on theleast few posts. Daddykins is once again being a pain in the arse. Back to normal, then. Senta (aka, Dog 1, aka Wobblydog) continues to improve. She is almost, but not quite, okay. Today has been the first time in a week she’s eaten from her bowl. I’ll keep updates on separate posts from now on, but thought I’d tag that onto the end for those who made it this far.
UPDATE 4/2/17: Graham Robb wrote a blog, but this has since been moved or deleted, and sadly Alistar Pirrie recently died. We also lost Senta in September 2014. Also fixed approximately 146 typos.