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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Crazy Cats & Yuming -- Still Crazy For You

Imagine the Queen of New Music with the Kings of Japanese comic bands. Imagine a nutty group of funny musicians whose heyday was in the 50s and 60s collaborating with one of the most influential singers in Japanese music who had her effect on the 70s through to the 90s. I never would have heard myself saying "Ahh...together at last" for Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実) and Crazy Cats, but in 2006, that's what happened.

I'm not quite sure how Yuming and the Cats met up, but according to J-Wiki, the huge entertainment production company, Watanabe Productions wanted to celebrate its 50th anniversary and thought that a theme song to commemorate it would be just the capper. And it just so happened to be the Cats' golden anniversary as well. And so Yuming was able to whip up this ditty dripping with nostalgic jazz with the help of sampling from some of the Cats who had already left this mortal coil. Shades of Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole.

Although "Still Crazy For You" was released in April 2006, it sounds almost old-time Christmas-y right from the opening strings, and that video reminds me so much of my childhood memories of those Rankin & Bass Yuletide cartoons such as "Frosty The Snowman". And it's quite something to see trombonist Kei Tani(谷啓) croon it up with a Yuming dressed up as if she were heading to a Cleveland suburb dinner party in 1955. I have to say that her voice, which has gotten more nasally and reedier over the last couple of decades, actually fits quite nicely here since the seeming aim for the song is to have a couple of old pros dusting off their tux and gown for one more sentimental go behind the mike.

Tani and Yuming are the singers here, but there is the middle voiceover that probably had a lot of the Crazy Cats' fans lumping their throats up a bit as Hitoshi Ueki(植木等), arguably the most famous member, has some friendly banter with her. Just a little less than a year later, Ueki would pass away at the age of 80. And then in 2010, Tani would head to that bandshell in the sky at the age of 78.

"Still Crazy For You" managed to make it up to No. 14 on the Oricon charts. The above not only has the official animated video but also a "Making Of" segment which has Tani and Yuming meeting for the very first time. Being born just smack dab in the middle of all those musical tropes that have been mentioned in the article, the song has a little bit of everything to make me smile. And I have to say that the title is well-chosen for its double meaning.

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