I've been a fan of Japanese popular music for over 35 years, and have managed to collect hundreds of CDs during that time. So I decided I wanted to talk about Showa Era music with like-minded fans. My particular era is the 70s and 80s (thus the "kayo kyoku"). The plus part includes a number of songs and artists from the last 20 years and even some of the early stuff. So,let's talk about New Music, aidoru, City Pop and enka. (Sorry but music163 is now dead so ignore those links.)
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.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Yukio Sasaki/Yasuhiro Abe/EPO -- September Valentine
Seeing that September was rapidly coming to a close, I was looking for any other kayo kyoku songs with the theme of either September or Fall. Of course, I already have Mariya Takeuchi's（竹内まりや）"September" profiled and will get to Ippu-Do's"September Love". Then, by pure accident, I came across this number that I had never heard even in all my years in Japan. On YouTube, I heard EPO's version and then read that the original singer was Yukio Sasaki（佐々木幸男）, a folk/pop singer based in Hokkaido. So I went to his version of the song and enjoyed it very much. All of the renditions come off as rather bluesy. Sasaki originally sang it in 1977 as his 3rd single.
I was surprised to find out that the composer for "September Valentine" was City Pop/J-AOR crooner Yasuhiro Abe（安部恭弘）. His official debut as a solo singer wouldn't happen for another 5 years, although he had been involved in a band called The Real McCoys with fellow singer-songwriter Masamichi Sugi（杉真理） in the 70s. When the band broke up, Abe continued to act as songwriter and backup vocal for other singers such as Mariya Takeuchi. His melody and delivery are mellow but the lyrics by Atsuko Saito（斉藤敦子）are bitter....the hurt protagonist softly chastises his possibly-soon-to-be-ex-lover at the suggestion of a breakup in their relationship. He did his original performance in 1977 at the Yamaha Popular Song Contest (affectionately nicknamed PopCon) in Tokyo. Abe would do another version for his 1994 album, "Passage" which is the video above.
(Unfortunately, the video has been taken down.)
Finally, this is EPO's version of the song that first got me hooked. Not sure where her version is located amongst her albums, but I came across information that it was no later than 1989.