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, September 26, 2013

Checkers -- Julia ni Heartbreak (ジュリアに傷心)

Here I was talking about Akina Nakamori's(中森明菜) "Meu Amor e" a few days ago and that it was only second to Checkers' "Julia ni Heartbreak"(Julia Broke My Heart) in the Oricon annual singles rankings for 1985 when I realized that I hadn't written anything about this song yet. Well, allow me to rectify that.

As I may have mentioned in one of the other articles for Checkers(チェッカーズ), the band was not just huge in Japan in the 80s, but also in our personal little karaoke corner in Yorkville, Kuri. I can say with some confidence that Checkers and Anzen Chitai(安全地帯) held their own for favoured male Japanese bands to be vocally emulated. And no surprise that "Julia ni Heartbreak" was one of the big songs in the lounge.

Released in November 1984, the song was created by the same duo behind some of the other Checkers hits such as "Namida no Request"涙のリクエスト) and "Hoshikuzu no Stage"星屑のステージ): Masao Urino and Hiroaki Serizawa(売野雅勇・芹沢廣明). Lyrically, the song hints that the guy was pining for his lost Julia around the Yuletide with the carols, snow and reference to a silent night....definitely the worst time to be alone. And there is the fact that it was released just a little over a month before Xmas, and the B-side to Checkers' 5th single was "Checkers no Xmas Song".

However, the song sounds more apt as a background tune for a knife fight between The Jets and The Sharks. I would never peg it as a Xmas song per se, although like a typical tune around that time in December, the guests in the Kuri karaoke lounge would always join the singer in the inevitable singalong, especially when it came to the last line in the refrain, "Oh, my, my, my, Julia".

As I mentioned, "Julia ni Heartbreak" became 1985's Song of the Year, so hitting No. 1 on the Oricon weeklies was obvious. It managed to sell a little over 700,000 copies, becoming the most successful hit that Checkers ever had. But strangely enough, the guitarist for the band, Toru Takeuchi(竹内享) confessed after the band had broken up that he himself preferred the original version with different lyrics and under the title of "Kizudarake no Yesterday"傷だらけのイエスタディ...Scarred Yesterday) since to him it had been much cooler.

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