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, October 22, 2012

Seishun Uta Nenkan (青春歌年鑑)

1971 and 1981 Seishun Uta Nenkan

Around the turn of the century over a decade ago, the Japanese media did what a lot of their international counterparts did: talk about the 20th century through various angles: politics, economics, popular culture, etc. Of course, talking about music, especially kayo kyoku, was right in the media's wheelhouse since TV had provided plenty of opportunities for folks to relive their musical memories through 2-hour specials.

But television wasn't the only medium to go over kayo kyoku. In those last few years, a series of CDs was released ranging from 1960 to 1990 called en masse as "Seishun Uta Nenkan"(Song Yearbook of Our Youth). Thirteen of Japan's recording companies got together to provide the hits on these discs year by year. For a music nutcase like me, this was manna from heaven. Once every week or couple of weeks for several months, I'd hit Tower Records or Yamano Music and see if I could load up a 2-disc set from 1975 or from 1981. Eventually, I amassed 12 of the discs...mostly from the mid-70s to the 80s. I've been able to hear some of my old favourites and come across a few new tunes, and basically I've found the series to be a fine primer for people who want to find about kayo kyoku. Enka, aidoru and general pop are represented in there via the hits, although Yumi Arai/Matsutoya is glaringly absent.

Now, into the 21st-century, "Seishun" has been able to release further variations on the original series including discs covering prewar songs, and extra songs from the decades already covered. Some of the discs are still selling in those CD stores in Tokyo I've mentioned, and punching in the title into Yahoo or Amazon will also come up with some good results, so they are indeed still out there.

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