About twenty years ago (might actually be longer) I heard a song.
One of my uncles had gotten me into Oldies music. You know, birth of rock n roll up through the British Invasion and such. Discovered a lot of great songs that I had never really paid any attention to before. Later on, as I got into the age of being legal, I used to go to a local car hop that not only had classic car shows in the parking lot (and the best milkshakes ever) but exclusively played the Oldies station. When CD burners first really became affordable I used to spend hours making the perfect mix CDs with Oldies on them. These songs still sit in my iTunes and on my iPod to this day. They don’t collect any digital dust and are played frequently.
The uncle, via one of his girlfriends, had received mixtapes of Oldies. A lot of it was the well known stuff but there were some obscure songs as well. One of those songs was Russian Roulette by The Monsters Four. Some years after acquiring this tape he lost it in a shuffle or some such thing and the song was gone from everything but memory.
I’d talk about the song to people I knew or came to know, those who professed to be all-knowing of Oldies music, even random strangers but none had ever heard it. I don’t/can’t sing but I’d sing the backing vocals to see if it could jog memories because it was so memorable. I visited music stores, both corporate and locally owned, and put out a standing order for a copy of the single/LP/tape that included this song.
All of this was to no avail.
Time went on and people would tell me I dreamed the song up. It didn’t exist or it was some local band who had disappeared into obscurity, not an actual band. But I knew different.
Then the internet blew up and became everything. I’d spend way too long searching all corners of the net looking for a copy of this song. Eventually copies of the 45rpm started popping up on LP-centric sites but not ones I’d trust to put credit card info in their hands. A copy would surface on eBay but be gone within minutes. It was nice to know I wasn’t the only one who was looking for this song and it was great to be able to have some proof that it existed, although listings on the net didn’t convince most people because… well, we’ve all had those people in our lives that don’t trust anything on the internet. You know how it is.
Each year I’d spend many nights searching and searching and searching. I found that Vee-Jay Records was the label that owned the song. I sent them an email offering to buy the rights/masters to it. (Of course, no response). Apple brought out the iTunes Music Store and I added that to my search database. Nothing. Each new music store that came about I searched with the same result.
Up until the beginning half of October 2013 I kept my search going until I decided it wasn’t going to happen. I had spent twenty years on this and had nothing but a very large search history to show for it. Even the people I knew throughout this process had fallen by the wayside; they’d moved on with their lives without me for one reason or another, and the point seemed moot. The song would have to live in my memory, and in the memories of those others who had stumbled upon it.
About three weeks ago I was over at my father-in-law’s place. Twice a month I go over; we chat for a few hours about anything and everything, eat some food, maybe watch a flick, and have a grand time. We were talking about music and I mentioned the song. I mentioned the twenty year search. I mentioned that old refrain of no one believing me. This wasn’t the first time I had mentioned it to him.
He hopped on his Mac mini, did a Google search, and clicked a link. There it was in all its glory, uploaded on YouTube, a place I had searched maybe a hundred thousand times over. It had been, approximately, uploaded just shy of two weeks after I had ended my search. I admit that I danced a jig and may have yelled “VINDICATION!” at the top of my lungs… more than once.
He clicked play and there it came, out of his speakers, the familiar “La la la la la la la” that I had sung so many times. I sang it once again.
Twenty years and I finally have verifiable audio proof that I didn’t dream this song up.
The only thing I can ask for is that Vee-Jay (or Concord Music Group as they now own the Vee-Jay catalog) will release this song on CD or in digital form along with the flip-side, Farmer John.