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, November 5, 2012

Momoe Yamaguchi -- Imitation Gold (イミテイション・ゴールド)

As a kid in the 70s, I'd heard the name Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵)and perhaps I'd seen her perform on those old VHS tapes of Japanese programming that used to be shown at the old Toronto Japanese Buddhist Church on Bathurst & Bloor on Wednesday nights. But the first time that I can remember seeing the future Mrs. Miura on TV was when she performed this sultry number. Even back then, I could make out her singing the title....and the suggestive tone. My suspicions were confirmed when I asked my mother about what Momoe was singing about, and Mom (who was no fan of hers) stayed resolutely mute.

As I was later to find out, Momoe had had quite the reputation of singing some racy lyrics despite her youth, and she sang "Imitation Gold"at the tender age of 18. From the words in this song, it starts off with Momoe singing about getting out of the shower and reaching for "this year's man". Imitation Gold-Digger, perhaps?

Yamaguchi's song, released in July 1977, was her 18th single and the 3rd of 12 singles that the husband-&-wife team of Ryudo Uzaki and Yoko Aki(宇崎竜童・阿木耀子)would pen during the last half of her career. It peaked at No. 2 on the Oricon charts and most likely would've made it to the top but Kenji Sawada's(沢田研二) "Katte ni Shiyagare"and Pink Lady's "Nagisa no Sinbad"(both already profiled) were just too powerful. It would become the 20th-ranked song of the year, and the song was also a track on her 12th album, "Golden Flight", released in August 1977. It managed to reach No. 3 on the album charts.

But even though she was 18 at the time, she certainly didn't look nor sound like a callow high school senior when she performed "Imitation Gold". Her lower voice gave an effectively blase account of a seen-it-all, done-it-all lady who went through men like most people went through a box of chocolates over the Holidays.

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