Update: mystery solved!
The mystery song is Ammunition by All Good Children, a band from Hamilton, Ontario.
Thanks to everyone who had fun helping us solve this mystery! Big thanks to Stephen Quinn and Lisa Christiansen from CBC Radio One’s On the Coast for understanding this nutty nostalgic quest and for putting it on the air in the first place. And brownie points to CBC for publishing this article.
“Since 1993, a mystery song has lived on a cassette tape made by Robyn and Erin Hanson. Haunting them. Teasting them. Judging them. Maddening them.”
The mystery was solved simultaneously on Twitter and in the CBC website comments, including one tweet from band The Killjoys, who knew the song immediately, and by people who knew members in the band. Thanks to everyone who helped us complete our 22 year old quest. My sister said it best: It’s the end of an era!
Can you help me identify this mystery song?
It’s been stumping music geeks since March of 1993. Even the most renowned music gurus are stumped by this. It’s no longer about the song or the band, but the fact that nobody can identify this song is what has me so intrigued. Certainly there must be somebody out there who recognizes it. Are you that person?
Note: The first few seconds of the recording sound static-y. Ignore this, it clears up. At first it almost sounds Roger Waters-ish, but then around the 35 second mark it transforms into an alternate universe early 90’s-era U2. It’s uncanny!
Update November 18:
- Stephen Quinn from CBC’s On The Coast heard about this story through Twitter and is going to air my musical mystery today at 3:35pm PST on CBC Radio One (88.1 FM in Vancouver – stream it online, here).
- You can follow along a few Reddit threads where people are trying to solve this mystery, here, here, and here.
- You can read my first failed attempt to solve this mystery back in 2002 on a U2 discussion forum. There are 11 amusing pages of discussion amongst U2 diehard fans to sift through, here.
- You can read another archived discussion circa 2002, here.
- I can only hope the original band members hear this song and come forward!
- It’s still not U2.
A quick recap of the background story:
- I recorded this onto a cassette in March of 93.
- I recorded it off of a Vancouver mainstream radio station: LG73, Z95.3, Rock 101, 92.9 (Bellingham) or 99.3 the Fox.
- I heard it twice on the radio but managed to record it the second time I heard it.
- The song was a studio recording, but the crappy quality’s from the stereo/cassette.
- The song was played during regular day or evening hours.
- This is not a bootleg.
- The song sounds like it was produced in a studio.
- This is not recorded on a foreign language or college radio station.
- This is not U2.
- I thought it was U2 when I recorded it.
- The lyrics don’t exist.
- Shazam won’t bring it up.
- Nardwuar The Human Serviette doesn’t recognize it.
- Buzz Bishop (a DJ on Z95.3 at the time) doesn’t recognize it, but confirmed with me that the sound effect at the end was from Z95.3.
- George Strombolopoulos doesn’t recognize it.
- Grant Lawrence, Alan Cross, or Kim Clark Champniss don’t recognize it.
- All of my music guru friends don’t recognize it.
- It all drives everyone CRAZY because it sounds so familiar but nobody knows.
- This song has been driving U2 fans around the world crazy because it sounds like Achtung Baby-era U2 but it’s not a U2 song. Every U2 song has been documented.
- I was a die hard U2 fan. This is not U2.
- If you can even make out the lyrics, the only Google searches bring up my failed attempts at trying to figure out this song (going back to the year 2000).
- We have concluded that this must be an indie Vancouver-based band that had a fleeting moment of success, perhaps a demo record that got airtime twice, and I just managed to record it.