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There's a song that's famous for being a song that nobody can quite place


Ever heard a snippet from a song and just can't recall who sang it or where you heard it before?



MARTÍNEZ: Frustrating, right? Yes. There you go. There you go. Steve does.

INSKEEP: It happens.

MARTÍNEZ: Now, there's actually a song that's famous for being a song that nobody can quite place.


UNIDENTIFIED MUSICAL ARTIST: (Singing) You're counting all the sheep in the skies, caught up in your world of lies. Everyone knows that you've got ulterior motives - tell me the truth. Every move shows...

INSKEEP: (Singing) Everyone move shows that - so yeah...

MARTÍNEZ: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: ...It's kind of catchy, whatever the heck it is. Seventeen seconds, a fragment of a song, terrible audio quality, and even though it says, everyone knows that, in the lyrics, nobody actually knows what it is. In 2021, a person known only as Carl92 uploaded it to a crowdsourcing site and it became an internet phenomenon. Everyone knows that.

INSKEEP: Yeah, and then a subreddit formed around identifying the artist. Ideas were discussed, and conspiracy theories were hatched. I mean, could it all just be a clever PR stunt?

INSKEEP: Well, nobody has identified the artist, and it is now gained new life on TikTok.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: So I've seen a lot of people talk about "Everyone Knows That (Ulterior Motives)." And...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: I just think it's one of those songs that was a demo or is a really small local band that recorded it, and

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: This singer I found on TikTok is claiming that the song is by him, but he hasn't uploaded any proof.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: A super strong theory, and one that I believe to be true, is that the singer is Kazumasa Oda, a very popular singer from the '80s and '90s...

INSKEEP: OK, so if you know who performed "Everyone Knows That"...

MARTÍNEZ: Or if maybe it was you listening, we would love to know.

INSKEEP: (Laughter) I give the rest of you the answer here.

MARTÍNEZ: I think it was Steve "The Crooner" Inskeep.

INSKEEP: Everyone knows that.


UNIDENTIFIED MUSICAL ARTIST: (Singing) ...Ulterior motives - tell me the truth. Every move shows that... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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