Hard to believe but it's been a little over a year since the passing of 70s aidoru Hideki Saijo（西城秀樹）. He died on May 16 2018 and a day later, I wrote an elegiac article surrounding his "Koi suru Kisetsu"（恋する季節）in a tribute.
First off, I have to give my deepest apologies to commenter Owl Chick since there was a request for the song "Yuuyakegumo" (Clouds in the Afterglow) on the "Koi suru Kisetsu" article but regrettably I had forgotten to write about it over the past year. Belated as it is, I am now providing it here.
A track from his June 1975 album "Exciting Hideki Vol. 5 ~ Koi no Bousou/Kono Ai no Tokimeki"（エキサイティング秀樹 Vol.5 - 恋の暴走/この愛のときめき...Amour Running Wild/This Love's Excitement）, "Yuuyakegumo" (Clouds in the Afterglow) does leave an immediate impression from its intro which takes Bach's famous "Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565". I couldn't find Takeshi Ochiai's（落合武司）lyrics anywhere but perhaps Tachio Akano's（あかのたちお）music was trying to hint at something sinister afoot. Still, although I'm not quite there with the choice of keyboard playing the intro, I can't doubt the spectacular horns and Saijo's soaring vocals. It's a classic Saijo song.
Another Saijo song that has all that epicness and fanfare horns is "Wakaki Shishi-tachi" (Young Lions) which was his 18th single from September 1976. The reason that I've put this particular song up is that this week's "Uta Kon"（うたコン）started off with several minutes of tribute to the singer in commemoration of the 1st anniversary of his passing, and his old friend/rival, Goro Noguchi（野口五郎）appeared to sing this very song.
Written by Yu Aku（阿久悠）and composed by Takashi Miki（三木たかし）, viewing Noguchi's performance tonight and listening to the original by Saijo, "Wakaki Shishi-tachi" seems to have been created in the form of an anthem for the young, walking straight and tall into the future. Although other songs have been sung in tribute of Saijo, I couldn't have asked for a better one to start off tonight's show.
The intro here, too, is interesting since it is reminiscent of the orchestra version of "Jesus Christ Superstar" by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It certainly is a proud song and it was performed by Saijo on his third appearance at the Kohaku Utagassen in 1976. I can only wonder how he made his entrance onto the NHK stage when the horns shot out the opening fanfare...hands on his sides, beaming smile and a cape flying out from behind him?
Although I couldn't find any video of his performance of "Wakaki Shishi-tachi", big-voiced Shigeru Matsuzaki（松崎しげる）provided a cover of the song in the album "Kimi no Kuchibiru ni Iroasenu Kotoba wo ~ Aku Yu Sakushishuu 1978"（君の唇に色あせぬ言葉を〜阿久悠作詞集 1978...Fading Words for Your Lips~The Works of Yu Aku）. As for the single, it peaked at No. 4 on the Oricon weeklies and became the 61st-ranked single for 1976. It also was the title track for a 1976 album.
Yup, "Young Man" will probably be the first song that Saijo will be associated with, but when giving a retrospective on the singer, wouldn't this be the one that ought to see the man off into eternity?