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.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Akira Kurosawa & Los Primos -- Love You, Tokyo (ラブユー東京)

Now, before anyone gets any preconceptions, this isn't the Akira Kurosawa who had directed "The Seven Samurai"and "Rashomon". Same name in romaji, but in kanji, the legendary director was 黒澤明, while the first leader of Los Primos was named 黒沢明. That being rectified, let us get to the song at hand.

Akira Kurosawa and Los Primos was created as this Latin-tinged Mood Kayo group in 1961. As with a number of similar chorus units during the 60s, Kurosawa and Los Primos evoked an attractive atmosphere of mood music to reflect life in urban and urbane Tokyo with its active nightlife centering on the various bar districts such as Ginza and Akasaka.

It wasn't until April 1966 though that they finally cut their first single, and it turned out that the B-side to "Namida to Tomo ni"涙とともに...Together with the Tears) would become the far more remembered song. "Love You Tokyo"is the quintessential Mood Kayo ballad from way back when: a soft Latin jazz melody with somewhat mournful and wistful vocals reminiscent of that regret-filled and tipsy barfly slouching on that stool. Mind you, the listeners were probably enjoying their drinks while the record was playing.

For reasons that I still can't quite figure out from the J-Wiki article on "Love You Tokyo", the song was a delayed least, according to Oricon, which started up in 1968. It actually was a hit when it was first released but its No. 1 status didn't come until January 4 1968 when it became the first song in Oricon history to get the top rank. And back in the pre-Oricon days, the surprising hit, created by lyricist Nao Uehara(上原尚)and composer Hiroyuki Nakagawa(中川博之), was such that the record label decided to re-release the 45" with the two songs flipped.

Although Kurosawa was the leader until his retirement in 1980, the lead vocal chores rested with the late Shoji Mori(森聖二)who became the 2nd leader. As was typical with a lot of these groups, the members of Los Primos wore formal wear....suits or tuxes as in the video above. The group is still going strong today but under the name of Koji Nagayama and Los Primos.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.