Help identify this 30+ year old obscure song
August 27, 2014 7:34 PM   Subscribe

I've only heard the song twice in my life. The second time I managed to slam a cassette tape into a tape recorder, capturing the 2nd half of the song. That was thirty years ago. Haven't figured it out since.

Shazaming this won't work, nor will the Googling of any lyrics. I've been trying awhile. I tried to find it when Napster was brand new. I tracked down one of the old radio DJs that worked at the station this was recorded at. He didn't recognize it.

I digitized the original cassette recording and uploaded it to YouTube:

Reddit took an initial stab at it, and came up empty handed. Perhaps you'll fare better?

- This recording was made in 1984, but isn't necessarily the year of the song's release.
- I lived in Canada, specifically Parksville, BC, on Vancouver Island.
- International hits got a lot of playtime on Canadian radio, it could be a local (Vancouver) unknown band, or they could easily be from somewhere else.
- The radio station that played this was CKLG (LG73)
posted by Hanzo to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
Cross-posted incomplete lyrics from the youtube link, since the recording's pretty fuzzy:

(Incomplete) Lyrics

to watch the chicks go by
Everybody's hustlin'
to get a piece of pie

Turn up the music
Turn down the light
Turn up the music
Turn on the night

ah ah ahh
eh eh ehh
oh oh ohh

ah ah ahh
eh eh ehh
oh oh ohh

I love the night life
that's how I spend my time
I found a lil' sugar
We have a real good time

I like to reggae
I like to rock 'n roll
I even like to disco
Can't stop me when I say

posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:47 PM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's not Lonnie Brook's Turn On The Night.
posted by crazy with stars at 8:18 PM on August 27, 2014

Wow, this is darn catchy!

Sometime searching can help, but I don't think any of the site's songs titled "Turn up the music" or "Turn on the night" match up. Could make sense to go one-by-one, however.

Soundhound doesn't turn up anything either. It's clear this is a studio recording, but I'd be stunned if an international hit made it to Vancouver Island but not to either Shazam or Soundhound's database today. Probably a local song. Can the DJ you spoke to connect to other DJs at the station at the time?
posted by lewedswiver at 11:34 PM on August 27, 2014

Don't know it either, but maybe try a DJ forum like this one on DJ History.
posted by Leontine at 8:08 AM on August 28, 2014

I put at least an hour into this question last night, thinking it couldn't be this hard to decipher, but I had no luck. I am thinking It has to be a local band.
posted by 4ster at 1:57 PM on August 29, 2014

I love a good mystery, so I trolled Discogs for songs called "Turn Up the Music" from that era, and found a likely candidate: "Turn Up the Music" by Syreeta, from the Loving Couples Original Soundtrack. The style, female vocals, timeframe, and obscurity seem to match.

I looked all over for a copy so I could verify, but no luck, not even from torrent sites. It looks like the song didn't appear on any of her albums, just that one obscure soundtrack.
posted by neckro23 at 3:44 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Looks like netflix has the DVD if you want to see if the song appears in it.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:47 PM on August 29, 2014

I found a torrent of the Loving Couples OST on a private tracker but nobody is sharing it at the moment. I think it's a really good guess — other Syreeta tracks from the era have that reggae-ish style — but the vocals don't sound right to me. I'll pop back in if I can actually get hold of the track.
posted by Mothlight at 9:09 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another person here that did some extensive searching and can tell you what songs it is not. I actually found a Vancouver band from the early '80s that has a song called Turn Up the Music but it was a totally different song. (what are the odds)

Here's to hoping someone else can find it. Syreeta came up for me too, but I also couldn't find a song to stream or download anywhere (torrents, P2P or google), so I'd look into that some more if I were you, even if to eliminate it.

Here's to hoping someone else can track it down for you.
posted by atinna at 9:45 PM on August 30, 2014

Sadly it's not the Syreeta song. I've acquired a copy of it and put it up here:

atinna, what was the Vancouver band?
posted by crazy with stars at 6:51 AM on August 31, 2014

I linked to this question on a music forum and received this response:

"Holy crap, I was living in Victoria at that time, and also remember this song. No idea what it is though, but hopefully somebody does, 'cuz now I'm equally mystified... "
posted by crazy with stars at 9:17 PM on September 2, 2014

Best answer: I just tweeted at the folks who run Beat Electric, an excellent obscure disco blog, and they were able to identify it. It's Turn Up the Music by Johnnie Lovesin.
posted by capricorn at 1:41 PM on September 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

Assuming the OP is right to think that he recorded this song in 1984, Beat Electric is probably right to think it's the instrumental dub version, which was released in that year. See here. It's not on discogs, but available pretty cheap elsewhere.

Note that Lovesin was possibility on Reddit last month when this question was posted there, though they were unable to provide audio of the actual song.

I've put out feelers for a digital version. Hopefully that'll pay off soon.
posted by crazy with stars at 5:59 PM on September 14, 2014

Mod note: Final update from the OP:
Thanks to the work of everyone in this thread, I was able to make a positive identification of the song, order the vinyl, and have it professionally converted to digital.

That result can now be found here:
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:56 PM on September 13, 2015 [12 favorites]

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