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

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Yes.

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYONE KNOWS THAT")

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYONE KNOWS THAT")

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

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.