When I think about the representative aidoru of the 1970s, names like Momoe Yamaguchi（山口百恵）, Pink Lady and Mari Amachi（天地真理） pop up for the women. For the men, it's Hiromi Go（郷ひろみ）, Goro Noguchi（野口五郎） and Hideki Saijo....not surprisingly, the geinokai branded the trio as Shin-Gosanke (新御三家...The New Big Three).
Of the three, Hideki Saijo（西城秀樹） is the one that I've seen the most on TV in his heyday. The hair, the bell-bottom pants, the theatricality....Saijo definitely made an entrance and gave his fans their money's worth. He had already been getting his hits before his 10th single, "Kizudarake no Lola"(Scarred Lola) was released in August 1974. I was never sure how to get the name right....was it Lola, Rola or Laura? In any case, I'm going with what Wikipedia is saying (yeah, I know it's not the most definitive source, but...)
As I said, Saijo was already having his success when this song came out, but it seems as if "Lola"was the one that really sent his career into the atmosphere. It didn't hit No. 1 like a few of his previous songs (it peaked at No. 2), but it earned him a Japan Record Award and a Japan Kayo Award. He also became the very first non-enka pop singer to earn 2 consecutive Japan Record Awards for Best Vocal, the first song being "Chigireta Ai"（ちぎれた愛...Tattered Love）. And it certainly sounded as if Saijo really put his all into the singing of this ballad. With a great deal of anguish, he pleads to protect this Lola from further harm. At certain points, I wonder if his vocal coach had been channeling the bravura performance of the opera "Il Pagliacci" into him....his wails of "LOLA!"are as much my memory of him as his arm gestures for his version of "YMCA".
Another factor for me thinking that "Kizudarake no Lola" was the breakthrough song for Saijo was that the song was his ticket into his very first Kohaku Utagassen appearance on New Year's Eve 1974. The amazingly clear video above shows the aidoru as the top batter of the show (unfortunately that video has been taken down); he certainly didn't skimp on the performance. The only thing missing at the end of that debut was the throwing of rose petals onto the stage. His appearance that year would herald a straight decade of appearances on the annual NHK special. In total, Saijo has appeared 18 times.
The song became the 34th-ranked song of the year. It was written by Daizo Saito（さいとう大三） and composed by Koji Makaino（馬飼野康二）. Makaino is a true veteran composer in that he has woven melodies for a huge range of singers like Saijo, Hiromi Iwasaki（岩崎宏美）, and the late Yukiko Okada（岡田有希子）. In fact, he composed current Johnny's Entertainment darlings, Arashi's（嵐）debut single, "A-RA-SHI" in 1999. The J-Wiki list of the singers he's worked for unravels like a scroll.
"Lola"is also on his 5th album which bears the same title as this single. One last interesting piece of trivia for this song: someone got the bright idea to have the song introduced internationally, and so in January 1975, Saijo actually recorded this in French. The song was then released about a month later in France, Belgium, Switzerland and even Canada. In my country, it apparently even went as high as No. 2（shades of "Sukiyaki")! There was also a version of the song, titled "Rola", sung by a French singer released a few months later.