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.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kazuhiko Kato & Osamu Kitayama -- Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido (あの素晴らしい愛をもう一度)

A J-Folk song I've been hearing for years and years although it wasn't until recently that I finally learned what the title was and who had actually sung it. "Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido"(That Wonderful Love, One More Time) is a gentle mid-tempo kayo kyoku classic that still pops up from time to time on those retrospective specials on Japanese TV. Unfortunately, Kazuhiko Kato(加藤和彦) passed away a few years ago, but such is the song's evergreen popularity that a lot of other artists ranging from Naomi Sagara to members of Morning Musume have continued to keep the legacy going.

Kato first started out in the 1960s, and started up an amateur folk group, The Folk Crusaders, along with four other people, including the lyricist for this song, Osamu Kitayama(北山修), while in university. Some years later, after the group broke up, Kato decided to go on a solo career in 1968, and it was his 6th single that was "Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido", released in April 1971.

According to J-Wiki, there were a couple of different stories as to the song's origins. The first, more romantic story had Kitayama coming up with the lyrics with Kato composing the music and then giving the whole song to his first wife, Mika, as a Christmas present. The second origin story, which turned out to be the true one according to Kitayama back on a talk show in July 2010, had the two men being asked to create the debut song for another Japanese folk duo, Simons. However, Kato and Kitayama decided to sing the song themselves leaving the other duo to go with another tune to launch their career.

The song managed to peak at No. 10 on Oricon and it became the 46th-ranked song of 1971. For those who might think that Japanese music is all about the enka and aidoru stuff, have a listen to this one.

Kato had some fame in the anime world as well. He, along with his second wife, lyricist Kazumi Yasui(安井かずみ), created the theme tune for the movie version of the 80s anime "Macross", "Ai wo Oboeteimasuka"愛をおぼえていますか....Do You Remember Love?).

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