A Cleveland Music Mystery: Who Sang This '80s Song?

Taped off 105.7 FM in 1982, the internet can't seem to identify the artist

"Got no oil in my burning lamp / fire's out, logs are damp / What's this man to do while you're away."

That's how the song begins, but not much else is known: There's a lead singer, back-up singers, a three-piece blues band and a harmonica player. And that's about it.

It was recorded on November 1, 1982 off of Cleveland's 105.7 FM, which at the time was playing adult contemporary under the Majic Radio moniker from its offices on West 9th St.

But what band is it? That's a question that has stumped listeners who've discovered  the mystery blues song after it was posted on YouTube by the user who taped the song off the radio, who had the same question. (And others on Reddit, where it was recently posted as well.)

It's led to a small hunt by those intrigued, including Scene. Paired with the track's minor blues genius, its buttery vocals and its searching guitar licks, its unknown origins have befuddled all.

"One day before going to work, I set my VCR to record eight hours from 105.7 FM Cleveland, Ohio in 1982 fall," the YouTube account noted in a comment. "That was the only song I didn't know."

“Why does it have to be this good?" one commenter said. "I've actually been humming this in my head for the past month. Please someone find this guy.”


Scene reached out to a handful of blues musicians and DJs of the time to see if the song set off any hidden memories. All calls and emails, including to WRUW and to the Cleveland Blues Society, resulted in more head-scratching. Searching twice on Shazam, and two other music discovery apps, came up empty too. "No luck!" Cleveland blues singer Austin Walkin' Cane said via email. "Everyone I asked had never heard of it."

Listeners hinted at the song being tied to Eric Clapton or Michael Stanley, both with blues rock plaudits to their name in that era. (Yet, as others pointed out, the song would've been recognizable if it were sung by either.) Others suggested the New Jersey soft rock group Looking Glass, whose lead singer's soulful croon bears remarkable resemblance to the voice in the mystery track.

But Scene hit a wall there, too. "No, not us," lead singer Elliot Lurie wrote Scene in an email.

Scene reached to the accounts of the posts, both which provided very little information to go off of. But the original poster seemed rueful that he had ample opportunity to suss out the mystery long ago.

“I delivered to the radio station office many times on West 9th," they wrote. "And never once did I ask them about this song."

For now, the mystery blues song remains just that: another Cleveland mystery.

Know more? Get in touch!

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Mark Oprea

Mark Oprea is a staff writer at Scene. For the past seven years, he's covered Cleveland as a freelance journalist, and has contributed to TIME, NPR, the Pacific Standard and the Cleveland Magazine. He's the winner of two Press Club awards.
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