What If Your Favorite Song Didn’t Exist?

 

No, I’m not talking about the plot of that English movie about the Beatles, or the lack thereof. What if you found yourself singing a song from your youth, but no one else remembered it? One day you google to see if your recollection of the lyrics was correct. And the google has nothing.  In fact, the panopticon of the internet has nothing on this song. But you’re convinced it existed.

It’s smart, honest, funny, and as this episode shows, will go above and beyond what any other podcast would do to answer a listener’s query. Minor language warning, but when one of the hosts drops the effenheimer, it’s hard not to agree.

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  1. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Ever hear of the Mandela Effect? 

    • #1
  2. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Django (View Comment):

    Ever hear of the Mandela Effect?

    And as some of us 80s kids recall (or don’t, depending how you look at it) the Berenst(a)ein Bears conspiracy.

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mvx7v8/the-berensteain-bears-conspiracy-theory-that-has-convinced-the-internet-there-are-parallel-universes

    • #2
  3. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    JennaStocker (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Ever hear of the Mandela Effect?

    And as some of us 80s kids recall (or don’t, depending how you look at it) the Berenst(a)ein Bears conspiracy.

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mvx7v8/the-berensteain-bears-conspiracy-theory-that-has-convinced-the-internet-there-are-parallel-universes

    Must be twenty years ago when I was driving to the airport at a very early hour to catch a 6:00AM flight. Turned on the radio on the AM band and heard for the first time Art Bell and Coast to Coast AM. Lots of people were calling in to tell about odd memories: How Nelson Mandela died in prison, how Ronald Reagan resigned in his second term because of Alzheimer’s, and other stuff I can’t remember. Still don’t know what to make of it. Are all those people mentally ill, or are there really alternative histories? 

    • #3
  4. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    No Mandela Effect here–the song exists, according to the podcast.  And, in fact, is available on Amazon Music as we speak.

    James: I enjoyed the podcast, and I think the moral of the story is that no one–including a computerized database–knows as much about music as we might think they’d know.  The song played enough in Arizona on a hit station for someone to remember it in detail, and may well have gotten some play elsewhere.  However, a litany of supposed experts couldn’t place it, nor could the database.  I’m left with the feeling that identifying it shouldn’t have been as hard as it was, but speaks to the existence of “holes” in human memory and technology.

    • #4
  5. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Once in a while it goes the other way. When “Good Morning, Vietnam” came out, I was slightly mystified by Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”, because although it had been on the rock charts, it was primarily a middle-of-the-road pop hit. But it was a hit, when I was about 16, and I’d never heard of it until I saw the film. 

    • #5
  6. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Once in a while it goes the other way. When “Good Morning, Vietnam” came out, I was slightly mystified by Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”, because although it had been on the rock charts, it was primarily a middle-of-the-road pop hit. But it was a hit, when I was about 16, and I’d never heard of it until I saw the film.

    My understanding is that the studio head didn’t like it but was contractually obligated to try to sell it, and that he made every non-effort possible in that regard. 

    • #6
  7. James Hageman Moderator
    James Hageman
    @JamesHageman

    @James Lileks, I use Overcast and not iTunes, so the link to the podcast doesn’t work. I’d like to hear it. Would you name it?

    • #7
  8. James Hageman Moderator
    James Hageman
    @JamesHageman

    James Hageman (View Comment):

    @James Lileks, I use Overcast and not iTunes, so the link to the podcast doesn’t work. I’d like to hear it. Would you name it?

    Never mind. I found it. It’s “Reply All.”

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    “… it sounds like a bad Nineties song …”

    That doesn’t narrow it down, because that would be … all of them.

    • #9
  10. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Percival (View Comment):

    “… it sounds like a bad Nineties song …”

    That doesn’t narrow it down, because that would be … all of them.

    I also was baffled by the comparisons to Barenaked Ladies since I managed to miss them completely.

    • #10
  11. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Once in a while it goes the other way. When “Good Morning, Vietnam” came out, I was slightly mystified by Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”, because although it had been on the rock charts, it was primarily a middle-of-the-road pop hit. But it was a hit, when I was about 16, and I’d never heard of it until I saw the film.

    Eh, Satchmo fans knew it. I would be one of them. 

    • #11
  12. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    James Lileks: One day you google to see if your recollection of the lyrics was correct. And the google has nothing.

    I’ve had this experience trying to find movies.  I plug in plot keywrods, then search through all the results until I strike gold.  Two movies I found this way were Castle of Blood and Bird With the Crystal Plummage.  The first movie is your classic horror story where a person bets he can spend the night in a haunted house.  The second is a little more interesting.  It’s a murder mystery, where you witness an attempted murder along with the protagonist at the beginning of the movie.  The teaser is the protagonist knows there’s a clue in what he witnessed, and he keeps replaying the scene in his mind (and for the movie audience) as he pursues a serial killer.  Everything is made clear at the end, and you kick yourself for not spotting the clue.

    However, I’m stuck on two movies.  The first is a coming of age movie where a teenage boy is befriended by a beach bum (I thought played by Rip Torn).  The bum tells the kid he was an Olympic diver and competed in the Summer Olympics in Helsinki.  There’s a twist at the end of the movie that was pretty cool.  The second movie is actually a trilogy.  In each flick, teenagers cheat death somehow, but fate catches up to them and picks them off one by one.  In the first movie, the kids are kicked of a plane, but cheat death when the plane explodes on takeoff.  I thought the movies where called Destiny or something like like.

    Oh well, the search continues . . .

    • #12
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    … and then, since absolutes are always wrong*, I remember a song from 1991.


    *  See what I did there?

    • #13
  14. jeffversion1.0 Coolidge
    jeffversion1.0
    @jvanhorn

    Stad (View Comment):

    James Lileks: One day you google to see if your recollection of the lyrics was correct. And the google has nothing.

    I’ve had this experience trying to find movies. I plug in plot keywrods, then search through all the results until I strike gold. Two movies I found this way were Castle of Blood and Bird With the Crystal Plummage. The first movie is your classic horror story where a person bets he can spend the night in a haunted house. The second is a little more interesting. It’s a murder mystery, where you witness an attempted murder along with the protagonist at the beginning of the movie. The teaser is the protagonist knows there’s a clue in what he witnessed, and he keeps replaying the scene in his mind (and for the movie audience) as he pursues a serial killer. Everything is made clear at the end, and you kick yourself for not spotting the clue.

    However, I’m stuck on two movies. The first is a coming of age movie where a teenage boy is befriended by a beach bum (I thought played by Rip Torn). The bum tells the kid he was an Olympic diver and competed in the Summer Olympics in Helsinki. There’s a twist at the end of the movie that was pretty cool. The second movie is actually a trilogy. In each flick, teenagers cheat death somehow, but fate catches up to them and picks them off one by one. In the first movie, the kids are kicked of a plane, but cheat death when the plane explodes on takeoff. I thought the movies where called Destiny or something like like.

    Oh well, the search continues . . .

    The second thing your looking for is Final Destination.  There are 5 of them.  I love those movies!

    Final Destination on IMDB

    • #14
  15. jeffversion1.0 Coolidge
    jeffversion1.0
    @jvanhorn

    Django (View Comment):

    JennaStocker (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Ever hear of the Mandela Effect?

    And as some of us 80s kids recall (or don’t, depending how you look at it) the Berenst(a)ein Bears conspiracy.

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mvx7v8/the-berensteain-bears-conspiracy-theory-that-has-convinced-the-internet-there-are-parallel-universes

    Must be twenty years ago when I was driving to the airport at a very early hour to catch a 6:00AM flight. Turned on the radio on the AM band and heard for the first time Art Bell and Coast to Coast AM. Lots of people were calling in to tell about odd memories: How Nelson Mandela died in prison, how Ronald Reagan resigned in his second term because of Alzheimer’s, and other stuff I can’t remember. Still don’t know what to make of it. Are all those people mentally ill, or are there really alternative histories?

    Memory is imperfect.  Things get confused and conflated.  It happens.

    So I’d file it under “people can be amazingly stubborn and annoying to the point that some will refuse to admit they’re wrong about even the most mundane, easily-verifiable, non-controversial things they have in their flawed memories”.

    • #15
  16. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    jeffversion1.0 (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    James Lileks: One day you google to see if your recollection of the lyrics was correct. And the google has nothing.

    I’ve had this experience trying to find movies. I plug in plot keywrods, then search through all the results until I strike gold. Two movies I found this way were Castle of Blood and Bird With the Crystal Plummage. The first movie is your classic horror story where a person bets he can spend the night in a haunted house. The second is a little more interesting. It’s a murder mystery, where you witness an attempted murder along with the protagonist at the beginning of the movie. The teaser is the protagonist knows there’s a clue in what he witnessed, and he keeps replaying the scene in his mind (and for the movie audience) as he pursues a serial killer. Everything is made clear at the end, and you kick yourself for not spotting the clue.

    However, I’m stuck on two movies. The first is a coming of age movie where a teenage boy is befriended by a beach bum (I thought played by Rip Torn). The bum tells the kid he was an Olympic diver and competed in the Summer Olympics in Helsinki. There’s a twist at the end of the movie that was pretty cool. The second movie is actually a trilogy. In each flick, teenagers cheat death somehow, but fate catches up to them and picks them off one by one. In the first movie, the kids are kicked of a plane, but cheat death when the plane explodes on takeoff. I thought the movies where called Destiny or something like like.

    Oh well, the search continues . . .

    The second thing your looking for is Final Destination. There are 5 of them. I love those movies!

    Final Destination on IMDB

    That’s it!!!  Thank you!!!

    • #16
  17. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    The Internet, followed by the arrival of online music sharing sites like Napster and then iTunes and its clones, has been great for Boomers and even Gen Xers who remember hearing a song from their yutes, but not one that would have made it into the tight 300 song rotations of your average Mel Karmazin oldies radio station of the 1980s or 90s (the SiriusXM merger in the late oughts was really depressing, because by then Mel was running Sirius and his ethos took over, while I had XM and the playlists 15 years ago were way, way looser, to the point I rediscovered dozens of songs I remembered from childhood, but couldn’t ID by name).

    The big thing nowadays if you can’t remember the song is trying to remember as many things as possible about the lyrics, the year you heard the song, etc., in order to plug the clues into Google in hopes the magic site on YouTube or some file sharing service where the song has inevitably been posted can be found.

    • #17
  18. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Influencer
    @DrewInWisconsin

    I’ve had one of these. There was a couplet floating around my head, and they were the only two lines from the song I could remember. I suspected I actually had a copy of whatever album it came from, but as I’ve got a huge music collection, I didn’t know where to start, except that I figured it came from somewhere between 1985 and 1995.

    Putting the couplet into Google returned only one result, and it was just a forum posting from someone else asking “What is this song?!”

    Well, I’m happy to say that I discovered it this morning. An unremarkable, forgotten bit of CCM from 1986.

     

    • #18
  19. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Heck, there was a day when something stuck in your head and your only hope was that you happened to have your transistor on when it came around again.

    Or if you got a 45 and played it until the record was transparent.

    I just put a box in the attic labeled “old reel to reel tapes.” Most of them 3-inch reels of songs, radio shows, and the Steve Allen show. Maybe someday they will be archaeology. I couldn’t bear to throw them away.

    • #19
  20. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    “My mother was an Ibanez; my father was a fender” 

    • #20
  21. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    There was a pizza commercial I saw once and never again. The huge extended family gathered in the countryside for the feast, Grandfather cooked the sauce all day, everyone pitched in. The feast table positively glowed as the narrator described what was in store – and then the tone changed abruptly. The sauce was an ugly mess with pink greasy froth floating on it, the kids were throwing spaghetti, people were sneaking their plates to the ground and the dogs wouldn’t eat it. They ordered pizza.

    It was hilarious, a true gem. I’ve never seen it since, never been able to find it on youtube, never even any mention of it to be found on the net. I may have dreamed it.

    • #21
  22. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Stad (View Comment):

    jeffversion1.0 (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    James Lileks: One day you google to see if your recollection of the lyrics was correct. And the google has nothing.

    I’ve had this experience trying to find movies. I plug in plot keywrods, then search through all the results until I strike gold. Two movies I found this way were Castle of Blood and Bird With the Crystal Plummage. The first movie is your classic horror story where a person bets he can spend the night in a haunted house. The second is a little more interesting. It’s a murder mystery, where you witness an attempted murder along with the protagonist at the beginning of the movie. The teaser is the protagonist knows there’s a clue in what he witnessed, and he keeps replaying the scene in his mind (and for the movie audience) as he pursues a serial killer. Everything is made clear at the end, and you kick yourself for not spotting the clue.

    However, I’m stuck on two movies. The first is a coming of age movie where a teenage boy is befriended by a beach bum (I thought played by Rip Torn). The bum tells the kid he was an Olympic diver and competed in the Summer Olympics in Helsinki. There’s a twist at the end of the movie that was pretty cool. The second movie is actually a trilogy. In each flick, teenagers cheat death somehow, but fate catches up to them and picks them off one by one. In the first movie, the kids are kicked of a plane, but cheat death when the plane explodes on takeoff. I thought the movies where called Destiny or something like like.

    Oh well, the search continues . . .

    The second thing your looking for is Final Destination. There are 5 of them. I love those movies!

    Final Destination on IMDB

    That’s it!!! Thank you!!!

    Yes, those are excellent. Everyone has their favorite scene – I like the one (in II, I think) where the doper gets sliced by the fence and the airbag …

    But the best one is Final Destination III (the one with the roller coaster.) Try very hard to get the DVD, not the Blu-Ray. It has interactive decision points where you pick heads or tails and the action changes.

    But I think there are 6, actually. There’s the first Final Destination, then sequels II thru V, then finally The Final Destination.

    Edit: I take it back, there are only 5. There is no Final Destination IV. According to IMDB, The Final Destination is the 4th installment, and was succeeded by Final Destination V.

    • #22
  23. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    What people – especially younger people – seem to forget, is that nothing is in a computer that some PERSON didn’t PUT there.  One way or another.

    • #23
  24. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Heck, there was a day when something stuck in your head and your only hope was that you happened to have your transistor on when it came around again.

    Or if you got a 45 and played it until the record was transparent.

    I just put a box in the attic labeled “old reel to reel tapes.” Most of them 3-inch reels of songs, radio shows, and the Steve Allen show. Maybe someday they will be archaeology. I couldn’t bear to throw them away.

    If you put them in the attic, they might be dust before long.

    • #24
  25. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    jeffversion1.0 (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    JennaStocker (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Ever hear of the Mandela Effect?

    And as some of us 80s kids recall (or don’t, depending how you look at it) the Berenst(a)ein Bears conspiracy.

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mvx7v8/the-berensteain-bears-conspiracy-theory-that-has-convinced-the-internet-there-are-parallel-universes

    Must be twenty years ago when I was driving to the airport at a very early hour to catch a 6:00AM flight. Turned on the radio on the AM band and heard for the first time Art Bell and Coast to Coast AM. Lots of people were calling in to tell about odd memories: How Nelson Mandela died in prison, how Ronald Reagan resigned in his second term because of Alzheimer’s, and other stuff I can’t remember. Still don’t know what to make of it. Are all those people mentally ill, or are there really alternative histories?

    Memory is imperfect. Things get confused and conflated. It happens.

    So I’d file it under “people can be amazingly stubborn and annoying to the point that some will refuse to admit they’re wrong about even the most mundane, easily-verifiable, non-controversial things they have in their flawed memories”.

    Someone asked me once how to spell what I took to be “Berenstein” not because I remembered the books, but because that’s how current-day Me would figure it was spelled, based on likely Germanic custom or whatever.  That I got it “wrong” doesn’t prove anything more than I don’t have a “photographic” memory of the book covers.

    That said, I do know that Mandela didn’t die in prison – some people I know claim to have seen his funeral on TV in the 80s, I expect it was really some other famous person – nor did Reagan resign during his second term.  I’m not sure if those people just have a problem with wishful thinking (in the case of Reagan, at least) or if they’re drug-addled or something else.

    • #25
  26. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    If the attic is too hot, that’s bad for long term preservation. Old tape is worth keeping but it’s prone to (at least) three maladies: stretching, if it’s polyester or mylar. Acetate is more brittle but doesn’t stretch as much. Stretching can be avoided–usually–if you’re careful, minimizing fast forward and rewinding.

    The tape backing can get gummy.

    The iron oxide particles can fall off. 

    On the other hand, there are tapes stored under objectively bad conditions that have survived by luck. 

    • #26
  27. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    And if they had been less clear about their pronunciation, I might have said Bernstein, like the composer.

    • #27
  28. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    jeffversion1.0 (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    James Lileks: One day you google to see if your recollection of the lyrics was correct. And the google has nothing.

    I’ve had this experience trying to find movies. I plug in plot keywrods, then search through all the results until I strike gold. Two movies I found this way were Castle of Blood and Bird With the Crystal Plummage. The first movie is your classic horror story where a person bets he can spend the night in a haunted house. The second is a little more interesting. It’s a murder mystery, where you witness an attempted murder along with the protagonist at the beginning of the movie. The teaser is the protagonist knows there’s a clue in what he witnessed, and he keeps replaying the scene in his mind (and for the movie audience) as he pursues a serial killer. Everything is made clear at the end, and you kick yourself for not spotting the clue.

    However, I’m stuck on two movies. The first is a coming of age movie where a teenage boy is befriended by a beach bum (I thought played by Rip Torn). The bum tells the kid he was an Olympic diver and competed in the Summer Olympics in Helsinki. There’s a twist at the end of the movie that was pretty cool. The second movie is actually a trilogy. In each flick, teenagers cheat death somehow, but fate catches up to them and picks them off one by one. In the first movie, the kids are kicked of a plane, but cheat death when the plane explodes on takeoff. I thought the movies where called Destiny or something like like.

    Oh well, the search continues . . .

    The second thing your looking for is Final Destination. There are 5 of them. I love those movies!

    Final Destination on IMDB

    That’s it!!! Thank you!!!

    Yes, those are excellent. Everyone has their favorite scene – I like the one (in II, I think) where the doper gets sliced by the fence and the airbag …

    But the best one is Final Destination III (the one with the roller coaster.) Try very hard to get the DVD, not the Blu-Ray. It has interactive decision points where you pick heads or tails and the action changes.

    But I think there are 6, actually. There’s the first Final Destination, then sequels II thru V, then finally The Final Destination.

    Edit: I take it back, there are only 5. There is no Final Destination IV. According to IMDB, The Final Destination is the 4th installment, and was succeeded by Final Destination V.

    Amazon has the five-DVD set.  Will start on it this weekend . . .

    • #28
  29. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Stad (View Comment):

    Amazon has the five-DVD set. Will start on it this weekend . . .

    Ha!  Great minds . . .

    Looks like the Blu-Ray lacks the fifth movie and the 5-pack is a “regular” DVD.

     

    • #29
  30. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    So the answer the question in the OP:  If my favorite song did not exist, I would write it and make a bunch of money.  I’d make a bunch more from the accompanying sitcom, which would be a huge hit.

    In this hypothetical, my favorite song starts: “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip . . .” 

    It turns out to have a meter that is interchangeable with Amazing Grace.

    • #30