music: Everyone Knows That, Radio Arabesque, other lostwave

Two commenters on this blog (here and here) randomly asked me about the song “Ulterior motives (everyone knows that)”. I though they were spammers, but it turns out there was a genuine Internet hunt for the song, forming its own subreddit /r/everyoneknowsthat/. After the second comment I tried to figure out what’s up and by then Internet sleuths had tracked down the song.

Its story is great! The original poster who upload a 17-second musical snippet said they were practicing ripping audio from DVDs… turns out the song was from an adult movie. Rolling Stone has a great article about the search “Viral Mystery Song ‘Everyone Knows That’ Identified Thanks to Eighties Porno, then a sweet interview with the twins who made it: “After moving to L.A. in the 1980s, Christopher and Philip Booth broke into the movie business by scoring adult films — and one of their tracks went viral decades later.” I look forward to paying for the entire track, these guys deserve something for spawning this song hunt and the song is pretty good. Here’s the song in context starting around 24:38 (I believe the visuals are appropriately blurred out):

But what about my great white whale, my decades-long lostwave search, the one that got away?

Radio Arabesque, a classic mis-remembered

I’ve been looking for the song for decades, I first blogged about it in 2005. I heard it once on the radio I think in the early 1980s and somehow it stuck in my mind. It’s a dance-pop song wherein a woman or women sing “This is Radio Arabesque”; there’s an atmospheric bit where they sing “Ahh–ah-ahhh… don’t give in, start to dance, do your thing, Listen to Radio Arabesque” The obvious group is the European 1970s disco girl group Arabesque, but I’ve skimmed through their catalog and can’t find the song, not even on their album Radio Arabesque.

After searching every five years or so for literally decades I feared I was imagining the song, but then my last search for the song found “Radio Arabesque (Saudi-CLub Version)” by Ethno League on YouTube, which has the tune, that bit, and those lyrics starting around 90 seconds in! But it’s also got an overdone club sound with intrusive sound effects, random dialog clips from movies, overcooked percussion, and a more ersatz arabesque sound than I remember. Everything about it including its title screams that it’s remix of a tighter, simpler pop song:

The YouTube description says “Madcat Records (Germany) 1988 Produced and written by Frank Mayer-Thurn; Ethno League is German producer, Frank Mayer-Thurn (who passed in 2009)” So, who/what/where is the original? The 12-inch includes “Radio Arabesque Radio Version,” but that’s just a shorter version of the remix. So I’m still searching for the original recording. There is a woman speaking French in the kitchen sink of the remix, so maybe the original was a French song. The label of the remix also credits Raymond Bayer and C. Huether as songwriters, so maybe they wrote the original song before Frank Mayer-Thrun made the remix.

Unreliable memory

The reddit everyoneknowsthat sub for the “Ulterior Motives” hunt mentioned the Lostwave subreddit, so I asked there about Radio Arabesque. Quickly someone replied “I reached out to Raymund Bayer and I got the following response. He also responded to your YT comment here:

Hi there, this is the original. The hook vocals are no samples, they where sung by Camilla Meyer (Hüther) and also mainly written by her. Frank and me collected the samples and did the production. Also Horst Schnebel (e.g. Sydnney Youngblood) was involved in an early production stage.

Which puts the matter to bed, except my memory tells me I heard a much simpler version years before 1988 without all the dialog bits and with less heavy percussion. Maybe AI can take the remix and turn it into the simpler cleaner pop song that my brain tells me I heard. My remaining lead is Camilla Hüther, whose Discogs page doesn’t list this song, maybe she remembers recording a simpler version. But I don’t know how to reach her.

I can’t remember finding the song I couldn’t find

Writing this reminded me of another lost song. Several years ago my partner watched a fairly forgettable TV crime show called Life starring Damien Lewis. Both our ears pricked up when a song came on, but Shazam didn’t know what it was. Somehow I found people talking online about it, and charmingly the woman who recorded it for a generic movie music supply company it stepped forward, gave the story, and said she would provide an MP3. But I can’t remember where this took place in the amorphous digital sphere! It wasn’t Reddit, it was probably in comments on a YouTube clip of the scene or maybe iMDB discussion of the episode. I even have a “media recommendations” Google Docs where I enter movies, TV, books, and songs that friends recommend, and I didn’t add it to this. Arggghh!

But in the intervening years, companies have seen an opportunity to help track down songs. DuckDuckGo found WhatSong, “the worlds [sic] largest collection of movie & tv show soundtracks and playlists,” and Tunefind by Songtradr, “The Internet’s best source for TV, movie and video game soundtracks since 2005.” The former has the episodes but misses a lot of song data and doesn’t have play buttons for each song; Tunefind seems more complete for this TV show, and I quickly found a song title that sounded familiar in Season 1 Episode 4, press Play, and… Whoomp! there it is! The song is “Goin’ All Night” by Kirsten Proffit for 5 Alarm music. The song got a “release” of sorts on a compilation and you can listen to it on YouTube Music and YouTube (and I gladly bought the MP3 download on Amazon).

A random lost song about zeppelins

I also remember seeing a low-budget music video of an indie pop song with a girl singing about zeppelins. That seems hopeless.

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