Twelve years ago, a catchy New Wave anthem appeared on the internet with no information about who wrote or recorded it. Amateur detectives have spent thousands of hours since trying to figure out where it came from — with little luck.

There is an active subreddit searching for this song, but I'm asking on stackexchange to make sure the chances of this song being found are maximized. This song aired in Germany on ARD in 1984, though it was on a kid's music program, so it could have been released earlier.

It's likely if you're here that you already know the basics of the song. For those of you who don't, it is a song that was recorded from a German radio station known as NDR1, from a show called " Musik Für Junge Leute" in 1984. Nothing much is known about the song's origins. The lyrics, country of origin, band, and title are speculated on, but largely remain a mystery. I highly recommend looking through the resources I share here to get up to speed. If you've not heard the song, here's your chance.

Here is a link to a vocally enhanced, higher quality of the song in question: https://m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Fapp.box.com%2Fs%2Fa7bs54g3d0ufmk8ps4m4anfhwqmpka9y

For those of you who prefer YouTube, here is a remaster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nUWawrH5C0

And the full song, without remastering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPGf4liO-KQ

What is the name of the song, and who recorded it?


1 Answer 1


The name of the song is "Subways of Your Mind." The singer's name is Turner, who appeared on many other tracks although I don't recall his first name or if that's his real name -- that's all I or my colleagues ever called him, and he was a colleague, not particularly a friend. I don't know if I played any instruments on this song, but it was made for a distribution service to gauge audience response and determine if a release was viable. The recording studio participating that I had to do with was in Hamburg, Germany. We would go in for an 8 hour shift, play three takes of each chart in quick succession and crank out about 3 or 4 songs an hour on a per session basis.

Disconet is probably the biggest service like this that record collectors know about but they distributed on vinyl before CD's, to DJs. The service this was created for (which may actually have been Muzak but I was never told) sent them to automated stations, hotels, resorts, malls, and so on by subscription. Most of the various services publicly auditioned almost exclusively disco or dance music, but they did have categories that were outside of it that this would fit into, such as new wave or post punk, and you could choose which programs you wanted by genre.

If you were an hotel or resort owner or with a radio station that was semi-automated, and you subscribed to the service, the service would provide you with the equipment on a rental basis to play the large bi-directional carts that typically had 10 or 12 hours of program material on it, almost all unreleased, with the tape running at 7.5 in/sec. Inside the cart was built like 4-tracks or radio carts (they look like giant 8-tracks but they were not looped -- the reel inside was a 10" reel, and the capstan was in the player like a radio cart). The service would send you a few large carts per month to play as background music. In exchange you would fill out a form describing any audience response for any particular song and on return of that form, you would get the next month of carts. In 1984 it would have been around $1000/yr to subscribe and you had to prove your legitimacy -- e.g. provide your tax ID, the papers establishing your business legally, and so on. The tracklist was in the paperwork, and not on the cart itself -- the cart had the month, year and genre on it. The carts themselves often got recycled once returned to cut down production costs. You did have the option of buying the cart if you got a good response out of it (e.g. your sales went up when you played it). The biggest carts at the time I was doing it were programmed with Hi NRG stuff, but New Wave did well.

Typically, if a song did get individual responses, that's when it would get a band/project/artist name for release. This one just has the title and timestamp in the paperwork (e.g. "1:25:27 Subways of Your Mind") and no other information. I did sessions for songs like these as my main living during the 80's, and I did quite a few sessions with Turner himself (I recognise his voice). At the time, New Order's album Power Corruption & Lies was the big thing, and this track was a copycat, which was frequent among the songs written for the service. When making the tracks, the soundworld matching an established hit was more important than the song, and you can still see that in today's top 40 music.

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