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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Off Course/Hideki Saijo -- Nemurenu Yoru (眠れぬ夜)

This is another song that perennially gets onto any Off Course BEST compilation. Written and composed by Kazumasa Oda(小田和正), "Nemurenu Yoru"(Sleepless Night) is a tale of a man literally begging his girlfriend to forget about him, but after a sleepless night and a rainy day, he finds that their love has renewed. Remembering all of Off Course's songs, I've always found this one to be a little sprightlier than usual in terms of the melody, and the intro synthesizer is a dead giveaway to the identity.

From what I've read of the J-Wiki writeup on "Nemurenu Yoru", this song seemed to have paralleled its lyrics in terms of Off Course's career trajectory. The producer of the band's 3rd album that included it, "Wine no Nioi"ワインの匂い...The Bouquet of Wine), Toshi Buto(武藤敏史), came to the conclusion that up to that point in Off Course's repertoire, there was a distinct lack of simple songs, and just songs that people could enjoy. He made that point abundantly clear to Oda, who had originally made "Nemurenu Yoru" into a ballad, and ultimately the leader saw the light and changed the arrangement. It was a good tip by Buto since the song in its new form became the band's first decent hit, peaking at No. 48 on Oricon.

Off Course's 7th single was released in December 1975, at the same time as the album.

Having known the Off Course original for decades, I was surprised to hear that aidoru Hideki Saijo(西城秀樹) did a cover version of "Nemurenu Yoru" in 1980. I took a listen to it, and I think he did a pretty good job of it.....none of the usual Saijo nasal gasps. It was a pretty straight rendition. It was released in the same month as the original, but Saijo's cover got as high as No. 10. The song can also be found in "Hideki Song Book"(1981), his album of kayo kyoku covers. In the album, he also gives his own rendition of another Off Course classic, "Ai wo Tomenaide"愛を止めないで....Don't Stop Love).

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