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.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Goro Noguchi -- Aoi Ringo (青いリンゴ)

Goro Noguchi (野口五郎)was one-third of the media-inspired or talent agency-inspired trio known as the Shin-Gosanke(新御三家), or The New Big Three which also included male aidoru Hiromi Go(郷ひろみ) and Hideki Saijo(西城秀樹). Noguchi was born as Yasushi Sato(佐藤靖) in 1956 in Gifu Prefecture. Singing since he was three years old, his first taste of the spotlight was on a Fuji-TV talent show called "Chibikko Nodo Jiman" in which a 10-year-old Sato won the contest. Apparently, his childhood rival at the time was none other than Yoshimi Tendo(天童よしみ), the accomplished enka singer.

And in fact, he debuted with the target of becoming an enka singer himself in 1971 when his very first record, "Hakata Miren"博多みれん....Hakata Regrets)was released in May. When it turned out to be a flop, his musical direction was quickly changed toward the world of aidoru. And so a mere three months later, he made a second debut of sorts with "Aoi Ringo"(Green Apples), a song of rather sad love. This time, he had a much better response with the song peaking at No. 14 on the Oricon weeklies and selling close to 200,000 records.

His stage name of Goro Noguchi has an interesting origin. One of his parents, an assistant director with Polydor Records, supposedly was the one who coined it. The Hida Mountains, a range that goes through Toyama, Nagano and Noguchi's own Gifu Prefectures, provided the source for his new name. There were a couple of potential choices from a couple of peaks in those mountains, Mt. Noguchi-Goro and Mt. Kurobe-Goro. The tipping point was the higher altitude, and the former peak was the winner at 2,924 m over Kurobe-Goro's 2,840 m. Ironically enough, there have been people who thought that the opposite was true, and that a mountain was named after the singer. In any case, it's one of the more interesting origin stories I've heard for a Japanese singer.

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