While the deep denizens of the Internet have been shockingly good about documenting pop culture topics like movies and music with great thoroughness, there’s still all sorts of things that they miss. One of the fascinating things to me about our current information age is the way that absolutely everything that’s happening now will leave a digital footprint, but there were be more than a few phantoms from the days before the nineteen-nineties. As far as I can tell, there’s no entry at the impressively exhaustive allmusic website for the band The Spliffs, and there’s certainly no Wikipedia page for them either, although they do get a mention in the history of the Eleven music label in Australia since the boss and founder is an alumnus of the band. Collector sites are about the only place the band and it’s music turns up, and there’s not much information there save the availability (or lack thereof) of the band’s rare releases.
Then again, the only reason I know about the band, and their sterling pop song “You Know What They’ll Say,” is because of one of those intrepid web writers determined to share the forgotten gems of their collection with the world. This is one of those songs I secured after spending several days scrolling through all of the offerings of the now-defunct Little Hits website. Once I totally bought into the notion of iTunes and the opportunity it presented to have my own custom-built radio station filtering through my tinny little computer speakers, I hunted high and low for the sorts of lovely obscurities that I used to occasionally fish out of the 90FM C Stacks (the section of the music library reserved for the most obscure stuff) during my especially lucky on-air shifts. Once I’d piled all my accumulated CDs onto the hard drive, Little Hits proved to be a perfect supplementary source.
And “You Know What They’ll Say” is one of those songs that exemplifies the music found on that blog. It shimmers with casual pop brilliance, hanging a wistful chorus on a killer hook and keeping it all under three minutes in length. It’s easy to conceive of it as a big college radio hit in the mid-eighties, if just the right handful of programmers or trade publication writers had just noticed and championed it. Regardless, I’m glad it’s got a special spot in my own little collection. It occasional shuffles up, just like when my favorite DJs from back in the day would have their own luck in the C Stacks and play some great song I hadn’t heard in years.
(Disclaimer: If allmusic and Wikipedia don’t take note of The Spliffs, it’s a safe bet that Amazon and the iTunes store don’t either. Maybe if I’d dug deeper into some online music slinger Down Under I would have tracked down a way to acquire the song through legal means designed to provide some amount of compensation to the original performer. I didn’t, though, and I post this here with the assumption that there’s no actual way to buy it. I’ll gladly remove it, however, should I be contacted by someone with due authority to make such a request.)