I’ve mentioned how growing up in a rural area limited my options when it came to being exposed to new music, or anything outside the mainstream, and how my local university radio station played a big role in expanding my cultural horizons. Sometimes, however, that pendulum swung both ways, leading to years, if not decades, of frustration.
Specifically, I’m referring to the many different label samplers, one-off promo singles, and various other bits of musical ephemera that swept through the offices of the station on a weekly basis. On top of the usual heavy hitters, labels of all sizes did their best to get their various artists on the air, and this often took the form of CD samplers that bundled together the best tracks from each album on their current roster.
What I didn’t realize then was that some of these artists simply didn’t exist beyond a single appearance on these monthly compilations. For every band like Prozzak that managed to release an actual single and find some traction with an audience, there dozens of others that vanished under the sea of promos that followed, never to resurface again.
This has lead to me trying in vain to track down certain songs for decades, music that I once played on my show but have never, ever been able to find any released format—or even on the high seas of the MP3 era. Bands like C.B.A.K. (specifically, the song “Push”), or Psychotic Retract, whose tunes I can recall perfectly in my head, and could probably even arrange on guitar or piano, but that seemingly don’t even exist outside of a cursory mention on the vast resource that is Discogs.
These songs are doomed to rattle around in my brain forever, and I am likewise fated never to know the release of hearing them again under any circumstances. That won’t stop me from searching, but it does speak to the power of audio brain worms that get their hooks in at a young age and simply never let go.
What about you? Which songs did you hear once upon a long ago that you’ve never had any luck adding to your collection or playlist?