The Niigata Prefecture native first made her singing debut in 1964 as a 10-year-old with "Usotsuki Kamome"（ウソツキ鴎....Lying Seagull）which also became a huge hit, selling 200,000 records. Pretty heady days back then for the girl. And a year earlier, she had been a grand champion on a kids' talent show on TV which featured boys and girls doing vocal impersonations of their favourite pop singers. Kobayashi had even been labeled as "the 2nd Hibari"for her impersonation of the legendary Hibari Misora（美空ひばり）.
Afterwards, though, would follow 15 years of struggle in which no hits came about. But in January 1979, the 25-year-old Kobayashi would finally get that hit which got her permanently settled as an enka star. "Omoide Zake"(Sake of Memories) was composed by Tadahiro Umetani（梅谷忠洋）and written by Naokazu Takada（高田直和）as a song of regret while drowning one's sorrows. Along with Kobayashi's warm resonant voice, I love the strings and the melancholy arrangement.
"Omoide Zake"gradually went up the charts until some 5 months after its release, it entered the Top 10, and some 6 weeks after that, it finally reached the No. 1 spot. The accolades continued for Kobayashi as the song won a number of awards and became the 3rd-ranking song for 1979. Its staying power even went into 1980 as it hung on to become the 31st-ranking song for that year. Her very first appearance on the Kohaku Utagassen was due to "Omoide Zake", and she would continue to appear 32 consecutive times after that right up to the 2011 show.