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, September 23, 2012

Ippu-Do/SHAZNA -- Sumire September Love (すみれ September Love)

Strangely enough, the first time I'd heard of this Japanese New Wave band was on the legendary Toronto program, "The New Music"when J.D. Roberts (now John Roberts, former CNN anchor) and Jeanne Beker had a special episode on the music of Japan. My first thought of the vocalist was that Duran Duran should have recruited him on the spot.

Ippu-Do(一風堂)was formed in 1979 with Masami Tsuchiya(土屋昌巳)as that lead vocal. I mentioned this when I profiled Junko Ohashi's(大橋純子)1977 album, "Crystal City", but Tsuchiya was the guitarist behind the track, "Funky Little Queenie". It wasn't until July 1982, though, that Ippu-Do hit paydirt with its 6th single, Tsuchiya-penned "Sumire September Love"Violet September Love). Reminding me of some of YMO's earliest hits like "Tong Poo"and "Firecracker" in melody, Tsuchiya's vocals glide through Machiko Ryu's(竜真知子)lyrics like skates on ice.

The song managed to peak at No. 2 on the Oricon charts. Selling 450,000 records, "Sumire" also got picked up as the campaign song for a Kanebo Cosmetics commercial starring Brooke Shields. The above video has "The Best Ten" program handing it off to Ippu-Do at the Liverpool Empire Theatre in England. At the time, Tsuchiya was part of the world tour for UK band Japan. Ippu-Do, by the way, was named for a discount store located in Shibuya, Tokyo.

In October 1997, one of the big bands of Visual-Kei (Japan's version of Glam Rock), SHAZNA, released a cover of "Sumire September Love" as its 2nd single. Tsuchiya couldn't have asked for a better person to hand the baton to. It also peaked at No. 2 and was the 54th-ranked song of 1997. It can also be found on SHAZNA's 1st album, "Gold Sun and Silver Moon" released in January 1998.

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