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.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jackey Yoshikawa and His Blue Comets -- Blue Chateau

The original Blue Comets started out as a rock band back in the late 50s playing US military bases. However, several years later, with the addition of Jackey Yoshikawa as the drummer/leader, and changes in musical tastes, it became Jackey Yoshikawa and his Blue Comets, a Group Sounds band.

"Blue Chateau", the band's greatest hit, has a Canadian connection in that it was composed by the late Tadao Inoue(井上忠夫), one of the vocalists and sax/flute player, at the Lake Louise Hotel in Banff, Alberta during a stay there. It had originally been made for actress/singer Nana Kinomi (木の実ナナ)but feeling that the song was meant to be sung by a male vocalist, it became a piece for The Blue Comets to tackle. Good for them since it became a smash hit, selling 1.5 million records, earning the Grand Prize at the Japan Record Awards and a place at the year-end Kohaku Utagassen. It peaked at No. 14 on the new Oricon charts. "Blue Chateau" is also the third and final song of their "Blue"series, after "Aoi Hitomi"青い瞳....Blue Eyes) and "Aoi Nagisa"青い渚....Blue Shore [although it's translated as "My Lonely First Love"]). Their appearance at the Kohaku was interesting, since at the time, Group Sounds music had been equated to all that was immoral in life, but NHK apparently let them in. The band's 8th single was released in March 1967.

However, the composer of the song has gone on record stating that creating "Blue Chateau" triggered the end of the Group Sounds era. In a 1987 interview, Inoue (who passed away in 2000) put it out straight by stating that "It was tragic." Furthermore, he added:

" fact, composing 'Blue Chateau' was a dilemma. Because I ended up creating something that was completely opposite to the Western music that I had been striving for. It was also tough to see other GS bands starting to copy it. I believe that the GS tragedy started from that song."

"I had intended to create new music, but it got swallowed up by kayo kyoku."

On the other hand, leader Yoshikawa said, "The GS boom left a lot of good songs. It's great that (Inoue) could be proud of them."

My two cents? I think Inoue was being a bit too hard on himself. According to Mark Schilling's "The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture", the (inevitable) death of Group Sounds can be laid more on the doorsteps of the money-hungry studios (who threw together as many mediocre GS units as possible) and the bands who did end up copying from his style. And as we all know from years (or in my case) of listening to music, fads and booms are just part and parcel of music history. New music did come,  but not by anyone in GS. Instead, it would be by a younger generation led by Yumi Arai荒井由実), Haruomi Hosono(細野晴臣)and the band Happy End, among others.


  1. I personally like this group very much. This may derived from influence of my friend, Tetsuya san, during my homestay with his family in Oita. He taught me how to sing my first Japanese song, Blue Chateau, along with his fascunatic 8-track karaoke. Omide no sukina uta desune.

    1. Hello there.

      That's a very nice story about your time in Oita with your homestay family. Nostalgia is always welcome in Japan.


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