Nov 292011

Let’s review the ground rules here. The Mystery Date song is not necessarily something I believe to be good. So feel free to rip it or praise it. Rather the song is something of interest due to the artist, influences, time period… Your job is to decipher as much as you can about the artist without research. Who do you think it is? Or, Who do you think it sounds like? When do you think it was recorded? Etc…

If you know who it is, don’t spoil it for the rest. Anyone who knows it can play the “mockcarr option.” (And I’ve got a hunch at least one of you know this one.) This option is for those of you who just can’t hold your tongue and must let everyone know just how in-the-know you are by calling it. So if you know who it is and want everyone else to know that you know, email Mr. Moderator at mrmoderator [at] rocktownhall [dot] com. If correct we will post how brilliant you are in the Comments section.

The real test of strength though is to guess as close as possible without knowing. Ready, steady, go!


  46 Responses to “Mystery Date”

  1. This is HYSTERICAL! I sometimes post this video (with the original “dates”) on my wall and say how horribly sexist (against men) it is…What a creepy game for a kid!
    I don’t know who the band are but I’m guessing this is from about 1965 and the band did it because they needed the money.

    My favourite was always the “Dud”…:D

  2. Yes, the Mystery Date clip, which sammymaudlin put together, is one of my favorite recurring clips. Good opening impressions on our date!

  3. pudman13

    I know this one…very interesting choice for a couple of reasons. One is the choice of song (a rather obscure one by the band), and the other is that it’s pretty similar to the recent Mystery Date song by Hackamore Brick in terms of the obvious Velvet Underground influence. I’ll leave it at that, except to say that their album is a long-time favorite of mine, one that meant a lot to me when I bought it as a teenager. The way I discovered this band is pretty neat, indeed, but I can’t disclose it yet because it will give the approximate date of the recording.

  4. ladymisskirroyale

    It’s clearly a super group made up of members of ? and the Mysterions, Joe Jackson, and Young Marble Giants. And with a little Violent Femmes flourish. I’d place it mid-80’s.

  5. I’d say this song dates from around 1978, but it’s trying to capture the feel of a dozen years earlier.

  6. Does anyone remember seeing this commercial on TV?

  7. I wonder how well these games actually sold. Even in the 1960s, I can’t imagine too many moms being thrilled about their pre-teen daughters cooing over post-adolescent guys.

  8. Really! I guess parents wanted their daughters to recognise the “right” kind of guy from the very beginning…

  9. misterioso

    Well said. I feel like I should know this, but so far I am not coming up with it.

  10. I’m with tonyola. It sounds like new wave nostalgia for 60s bubblegum garage. I’ll say the location is Los Angeles, and using the Price Is Right strategy, I’ll say the year is 1979.

  11. BigSteve

    I’ve definitely heard this before but I can’t place it. I agree with tony about the date. I’m guessing NYC, because the vocals sound like David Johansen.

  12. Thanks, pudman13. I figured you’d know this one.

  13. I remember this song being used (assuming it’s the same one) in about 1968..Are we talking about the original song used in the commercial or am I missing something and being a ditz?

  14. pudman13

    The song we’re discussing is the one you can listen to at the very bottom of the original post.

  15. Hey Sally, it’s great to see you chipping in on the blog. I know you’re a loyal Facebook follower. The Mystery Date song itself is below the intro text, in a little Flash player. The player may not work on an iPad or iPhone, but it should work on most computers. You click Play and then share your impressions – coming close, if you can, but not actually guessing the artist. In a day or so I will then reveal the artist’s identity and probably share another song or two.

  16. 2000 Man

    Hey, I think that’s the song that inspired Billy Joel’s most famous line:

    Heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack!

  17. Sorry; blonde moment! It sounds like a DX-7 is in use, so it must me mid-80s therabouts..:)

  18. Thank you, Mr Moderator! I like to join in when I can and it helps to have you on FB!:):) YEs, the song worked…it would have been good without that tinny 80s sound….:D

  19. Ah! I know this one…the vocals and keyboard sound gave it away.

  20. alexmagic

    Apologies if this gets posted twice, and apologies for skipping the customary “describe the sound” and going right into guessing the band, but I think I know this one:

    Is it Lou Reed & The Attractions?

  21. I’m not a keyboard expert but I’m not hearing a synth sound. It sounds more like an overdriven Farfisa or Vox. I might change my location from L.A. to NYC though.

    I like this song by the way.

  22. I think it is a real organ of some sort, not a synth.

  23. hrrundivbakshi

    When the Orickle zigs, you gotta zag. I say these dudes are from Australia or New Zealand. Mid-80s to early-90s.

  24. Bold strategy, but innnnnnncorrect.

  25. Happiness Stan

    I’m fairly sure John Peel used to play this around the end of the 70s. I really feel that I ought to know it, but can’t quite get there. I’m getting a British Pub Rock vibe, possibly misplaced.

  26. Happiness Stan

    Hi Sally, I made the same error on the first two I came across when I landed here, and wondered if it was some arcane Hall ritual to listen to that commercial over and over again, pleasant though it is.

    I think that Mr Mod should devise a great big pointy arrow thingy with “PRESS THIS BUTTON NOT THAT ONE” on it.

  27. LOL!! My dear Stan, you live up to your name! good to know I am not alone…:) (and I love that picture; you should be one of the Mystery Dates!) I kept trying to hear the ’80s vibe and I couldn’t! But eventually we got there…:) Cheers!

  28. My 1st thought was of an old Bomp! Records collection I have. That would put it late 70’s – early 80’s L.A. This particular song isn’t on there and I don’t think it is Paul Collins’ Beat or The Nerves so how about The Barracudas?

  29. That’s a good take on this song. I couldn’t tell you if you were right, but I can tell you that you are wrong.

  30. Indeed, but interestingly so!

  31. BigSteve

    I think what Sally was hearing as a DX-7 is not the overdriven organ, but the bell-like tones you can hear in the first few bars. I think they get swallowed up in the mix for the rest of the song. I think it’s a celesta of a glockenspiel or something like that, meant to invoke Phil Spector or other early 60s productions (Springsteen used this sound a LOT).

    The voice is still driving me crazy. I’m going to be mad when I hear the answer, because it’s on the tip of my ear. The song is very short.

  32. I think that’s what Sally was hearing, too.

    I’ll post the reveal tomorrow. Don’t get so mad you hurt yourself when you learn who it is, OK?

  33. trigmogigmo

    Interesting that people can tell it’s a later recording trying to sound like an earlier one. It sounds to me like a 1970 +/-2, garage sound. The vocalist bears a striking resemblance to Lou Reed, but that would be VU era.

    It brought to mind someone’s recent comment about Eno liking, what was it, 50’s or doo-wop? This wouldn’t be Lou’s tribute to some earlier favorite cheese of his, would it?

  34. It’s not Lou, although this band was influenced by that VU sound, ’60s garage music, and many of the other sounds folks have mentioned. It’s amazing, to me, how under-appreciated/unknown this band is considering all the obscuro crap, in my opinion, that gets lauded by the likes of us.

  35. I’d guess somewhere between 1979 and 1982, American and probably an independent release.

  36. You’re just a little off on the release date, but I won’t tell you which side of your range. It is an American release, and it was an indie.

    There’s a really good clue – or tie-in, actually – that I’ll release in the morning.

  37. Mom, Dad, we’re getting married…:D

  38. I guess all the references to the 60s put the DX-7 bug in my ear…:)

  39. Donny Osmond?:)

  40. mockcarr

    It’s not quite crazy enough, but I was thinking Richard Hell pre-TV and Voidoids

  41. I definitely got a Richard Hell vibe from the vocals too but I agree that it’s not unhinged enough. I really feel like I should get this based on the voice.

  42. The big reveal should launch at 10:30. Keep your impressions coming!

  43. Last minute Hail Mary pass: Is it Robert Gordon before he became a solo act? I know he was in a band that I’ve heard of but never actually heard (I’ll wiki it) and this retro style could be a precursor to his full on Rockabilly revival mode. The only flaw in this theory is that it doesn’t really sound like him.

  44. No, but we held our collective breath as that Hail Mary reached the goal line.

  45. pudman13

    Do you mean Tuff Darts? He was on at least one of their songs no one of those early Max’s compilations, and, trust me, neither that or their later work without him sounds anything like this.

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