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, August 19, 2012

Akihiko Matsumoto -- Rhythm & Police

Arguably the police/detective show has the most memorable theme songs. In America, there are the themes for "Dragnet", "Hawaii Five-O" and "Columbo"(although I know that the theme for that last one was actually the title track for the whole "NBC Sunday Night Mystery" anthology), for instance. The same goes for Japanese versions of the cop show. In recent years, one of the most well-known themes has been the one for the popular 1997 Fuji-TV drama, "Odoru Dai Sosasen"(踊る大捜査線)which can be directly translated as "The Dancing Big Investigation", but has actually been translated for practical purposes as "Bayside Shakedown". The show was the usual mix of silly comedy and hard drama about life within the oft-disrespected Bayside Precinct on the shores of Tokyo Bay. Unlike the majority of dramas, "Bayside Shakedown"went beyond its original mandate of 12 episodes, and spun out into a number of prime-time specials and three movies.

Akihiko Matsumoto's(松本晃彦) scores for the original show, the specials and the subsequent movies have acted as that extra 10th player for the baseball team. The theme song (and other soundtrack compositions) for "Bayside Shakedown" has become one of those tunes that everyone can recognize right from the first few notes, even if some of them hadn't even seen anything of the franchise. I first heard it being used in a comedy-variety show but soon made the connection with the original program.

The interesting thing is that "Rhythm and Police" was based on a much-larger-than-a-sample of a song created by Mexican composer/actor, Lorenzo Barcelata, decades ago, titled "El Cascabel". The song, in fact, was even included on the Golden Record placed into one of the Voyager space probes as a sample of "The Sounds of Earth". Those probes are now hurtling out of our solar system into the vast reaches of our galaxy (a bit too floridly described, I admit). Barcelata passed away in 1943, and some 50 years after his death, the copyrights on "El Cascabel"lapsed and Matsumoto was more than happy to use the song for his police theme.

Akihiko Matsumoto -- Rhythm and Police


  1. Love Matsumoto's "Odoru Dai Sosasen" theme. There's been a lot of great Keiji/Deka Show themes. My favorite theme has to be Inoue Takayuki Band's iconic theme for the 70s detective show "Taiyo Ni Hoerou". Utsunomiya Yasushige's cowboy western inspired theme for "Seibu Keisatsu" and Yamashita Takeo's jazzy/sexy theme for "Playgirl" are also among my sentimental favorites.

  2. Y'know, JTM, I've been thinking about doing that profile for "Taiyo ni Hoerou" since it was the cop show theme that I had heard when I was a kid. I've only seen a few episodes of the show itself; I heard the theme mostly on some of the parodies done on comedy shows such as the Drifters ol' program "Hachi-ji da yo! Zen'in Shuugo!" Another theme song I used to hear back in the 70s was the one for "G Men 75" with Tetsuro Tanba.

    BTW JTM, whereabouts are you based? I'm just curious about the geography of everyone who's been kind enough to write in. I've got people commenting from Brazil, Peru, Holland, Finland and even in my neck of the woods.


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