Credits

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, May 31, 2013

Koichi Morita and The Top Gallants/Morning Musume -- Seishun Jidai (青春時代)



This is one of the classic kayo kyoku, and appropriately titled, too. "Seishun Jidai"(Salad Days) probably has gotten many a school reunion group in a karaoke box tapping this into the selection pads. And like over here in North America, school reunions in Japan are pretty huge events. During my days as a teacher, I would often come across a student who would say that he/she was attending a reunion with his/her old elementary/junior high/senior high/university mates. As I've said before, the Japanese love their nostalgia.


Koichi Morita(森田公一) has been one of the most successful of the kayo kyoku composers over the decades. He's created hits for various singers such as Akiko Wada, Agnes Chan, Mari Amachi, etc. But he is also a singer, and in 1969, he and 5 others created the pop group, Koichi Morita and The Top Gallants (森田公一とトップギャラン). Their most famous song is "Seishun Jidai", and I've heard it from time to time on TV and on my own stereo. I've mentioned about those series of CDs featuring kayo kyoku that came out around the turn of the century. Naturally, this song is included.

Released in August 1976, "Seishun Jidai" was composed by Morita and written by the even more legendary Yu Aku(阿久悠). It hit the top spot on Oricon and it ranked in at No. 2 in the 1977 yearly rankings, selling 865,000 records. Not surprisingly, Morita and his group would appear on that year's Kohaku.



I can't remember who exactly but whenever there is a kayo kyoku concert on the level of a Kohaku on TV, a number of singers have gotten together to perform "Seishun Jidai". And over the years, cover versions have been released. Morning Musume(モーニング娘。) is one example...a few of the graduates from the group, Maki Goto(後藤真希), Yuko Nakazawa(中澤祐子) and Miki Fujimoto(藤本美貴) gave their version, via the 2002 album, "Folk Songs 3", a Hello Project production. But in 2008, the group itself produced an album of covers, "Cover You" in which Ai Takahashi(高橋愛), Risa Niigaki(新垣理沙) and Eri Kamei(亀井絵里) performed their tribute to the Morita classic. The above is that version. By the way, "Cover You" went as high as No. 27 on the album charts.

A karaoke room in Shinjuku

4 comments:

  1. My introduction to this was the graduation concert of Momoe Yamaguchi, Masako Mori and Junko Sakurada. The connection was via Junko I think, for whom Morita had written some songs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B68iyetMwU

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  2. Definitely a classic song. However, I'm not understanding how the title is being translated as "Salad Days." Am I missing something?

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    1. Hi, ジョン.

      「青春時代」can be translated as "Days of Our Youth", but I decided to go with "Salad Days"since it's an idiomatic expression with the same meaning. We think of salad as being nice, fresh and green, and perhaps those days of ours were like that.

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    2. Interesting! Thanks for the note.

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