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.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hideki Saijo -- Kizudarake no Lola (傷だらけのローラ)

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.


  1. Thank's for this great post on 西城秀樹's 「傷だらけのローラ」. This is definitely one of Saijo's signature songs next to his cover of Village People's 「YMCA」. When I hear the name ローラ I can't help but think of the somewhat cute but mostly irritating Japanese-Half model/talent that seems to be all over Japanese TV/magazines nowadays (I wonder if her parents named her after this song). Although not connected to the song, I'm surprised that you didn't mention Saijo's other notable gig as celebrity spokesperson for ハウス バーモントカレー which he did for a good part of the 80s (Japanese Curry is definitely my 大好物).

    1. Actually, I didn't know about his tie-up with Vermont Curry! I do remember he was in a sitcom in the 70s as the older kid with a rather violent father.

      Yes, I also know about Rola, the half-Iranian(?)half-Japanese tarento. I just saw her on the Arashi game show, "VS Arashi" a few days ago.

  2. Because I feel like flooding with comments today, I had to absolutely go back to my favorites.

    When I got into Shin-Gosanke, this was one of my favorite ballads of all time. Saijo-san's performance of this song, no matter what year, or place, is unparalleled. You can feel your heart being wrenched when you hear him pleading.

    This was a video of this song a couple of year back when Saijo-san won something, I'm not sure what. That was one of his best performances of this song to date.

    By the way, I am not a fan of the remake with Malice Mizer (fronted by Gackt). I like Gackt, but I absolutely despise his remake.


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