Ever had a song stuck on repeat in your head, but you couldn’t for the life of you remember the name of the tune or who performed it?
Well imagine having that nagging sensation for 20 years.
That’s the situation that’s stumped a large portion of music fans and internet sleuths over an anonymous tune that’s either a complete hoax or the most obscure 80s new wave hit in the world.
The artist, origin, and even the name of the song has yet to be certified, despite the collective knowledge of several message boards over the years. Even the collective might of the reddit community is stumped over the mystery tune, as music blogger Alan Cross points out.
So first things first, if you can identify the 80 seconds of music, then you’ve either got a musical depth of knowledge of the New Wave era that outstrips anyone on the internet (get that pub trivia team together stat!) or you’re probably the person with the sly grin on their face that is still deriving satisfaction from duping the world for more than two decades.
While there’s like (hundreds of) thousands of recordings from the glory days of vinyl’s, and later CDs, popularity that never made the leap to the digital age, it seems few have captured the attention quite like ‘Stay (the Second Time Around).’
While the use of Shazam-style apps has killed the ‘tip of the tongue’ music problem in recent years, it’s proven fruitless against the mystery song.
The long trail of online investigation goes as far back as 2004, on a New Wave message board where the case was never solved. Later, it was believed that the audio snippet of ‘Stay (The Second Time Around’, was originally recorded from a German radio station in 1984 or 1986, according to this message thread from 2007, in which ‘expert forum members’ have ruled out a long list of New Wave bands.
More recently, the puzzle was poised to the fertile reddit community, who have yet to crack it – many posting some interesting, but nonetheless recycled, theories over the tune.
One such lead that proved a dead end (or someone who simply wanted to put it the mystery to bed) posted the song to YouTube by an artist called Stean Lemroy, only for it to be quickly unravelled as a fake artist and band name, using artwork photoshopped from an obscure Spanish release.
Some YouTube users and commenters have gone as deep as analysing the singer’s delivery to determine the country of origin, to toying with the speed of the track, and others suggesting that it may not be a real artist but a piece of incidental ‘library music’, the kind used for film and television or commercials.
The most interesting theory (and the most popular amongst redditors) is that it is in fact the work of a more recent band that have carefully crafted a tune to sound like a long lost 80s hit in a bid to promote their music… except that the band in question has never come forward as claiming credit, let alone anyone else attempting to.
Our favourite solution? That’d be reddit user ‘boxingdude‘ who recommends: “Fastest way to identify it: get some pop star to record a New hit that sounds similar, release it as a single, then wait for the lawsuit.”
Seems like a good idea to us.