Historical Events  Music
Reply All

Anyone remember this song?

Here's the story of a mysterious record from the late 1990's which was certainly a hit with one person who could remember every detail of it, including the words and melody, yet could find no trace of it today.

If a group of people were to remember the song too, it would be classed as a regular Mandela Effect, but it seems only one man, who was called Tyler Gillett, had the memory.

The quest for how he tried to remove this "earworm" was reported in The Guardian and documented on the podcast Reply All from Gimlet. It's episode #159: The Case Of The Missing Hit, which can be heard on Spotify or all quality podcast sources.

It's unusual in that because he could remember the details so well, it was possible to put together a band to record it. Then things got really interesting, but beware if you prefer to find out by listening to the podcast, which is strongly recommended by the way ... spoilers follow!

Nice Twist

The twists and turns this story took is remarkable. The basic theme here is something we're all familiar with - a phrase, name or title or whatever of something that's just on the tip of your tongue. Often the memory snaps into place later on when you stop thinking about it, but in this case it became maddening to the point of obsession, and steps were taken way beyond the norm to resolve it.

The guys at Gimlet, who produce the Reply All podcast, take on tech support issues which are way out of the ordinary. The episode in question, #156, was the one where the person they were helping was sure the song existed. So, like a pair of digital Columbos, they began working on as many ideas to solve it as they could, and one was to actually put a bunch of musicians together and record the song as best they could, entirely from the memory of Tyler, the guy trying to find it. Which they did! He said the version they made was very close to the original, so the team took things to the next level now they had something physical to work with.

Bare Naked Ladies

One thing which kept coming up was how the song was similar in style to a Bare Naked Ladies track. So what better way to find if this was some kind of copycat at the time than call the lead singer? He didn't recognise it though. But it did lead to other ideas and theories, one being it might have had airplay at the time but not actually been released. This was in the '90's, so largely pre-internet. The only records of it then would be with radio station directors of the day, if this theory was correct. This drew a blank, but led to the idea of contacting record producers for the same period, with the same idea. It turns out Susan Rogers was involved in music production at the time, so they called her and she theorised it is likely an amalgamation of styles at the time.

In desperation, they searched Facebook. And found someone who recognised it - the guy who wrote it, Evan Olson!. It turns out after giving some demos out, a seriously influential record producer - Doug Morris - spotted Evan and whisked him away to his large corporate office to sign a record contract. The trouble was, that was the start of the trouble. The record was sent out to radio stations which, for whatever reasons, didn't give it the airplay expected. It then disappeared without trace.

Until now! The team at Gimlet worked their magic and ... the full YouTube video is here!

Great memory

It's clear what a fantasic job the impromptu band did of recreating this: