I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hideki Saijo -- Young Man (ヤングマン)

As a kid growing up in the 70s, I used to remember those K-Tel record commercials whose records would invariably contain one or two of the Village People's hits such as "In the Navy"and "Macho Man", not quite aware of their campiness at the time. Of course, "YMCA"was another favorite on vinyl.

Hideki Saijo (西城秀樹)was one of the more groovier male aidoru to enter the kayo kyoku field in the 70s. He was born Tatsuo Kimoto(木本龍雄) in Hiroshima in 1955 and debuted in 1972 at the age of 17. The following year, he was placed with two other singers, Hiromi Go(郷ひろみ) and Goro Noguchi(野口五郎) as the Shin-Gosanke(新御三家...The New Big Three) more as a campaign and sales tool than as an actual group. As such, he peeled off hit after hit. But then in 1979, after a trip to America, both he and his manager became aware of The Village People's "YMCA" which had been first released in December 1978 and within a couple of months, Saijo's version, "Young Man"was released the following February.

Within a couple of weeks, it debuted on the charts at No. 3 and for the following 5 weeks, it would stay at the No. 1 spot. It would also win him a couple of awards, become a perennial favorite at karaoke, and end up being Saijo's trademark tune . All this despite some early trepidation amongst other staff members who had feared that picking up this song would give Saijo a gay edge (I think his costume in the video pretty much threatened that more than the song itself). But unlike the camp of the Village People original, Saijo's version has been used more as a true rallying cry for men and women to step up and be counted.

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