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.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Feifei Ouyang -- Ame no Midosuji (雨の御堂筋)

Tonight, there was an NHK special titled "Osaka no Melody" in which a number of enka and pop singers (including NMB 48) came together to pay tribute to Osaka through song.

One of the songs I heard had the title that I'd mentioned for Taiwanese singer Feifei Ouyang (欧陽菲菲)when I wrote an article on her "Love Is Over". Now to be honest, that title didn't ring a bell, but the melody sure did, especially when it came to the line "Anata....anata wa doko yo"(あなた。。。あなたは何処よ....Where....where are you?). And I hadn't realized that this was Ouyang's debut number. But it was a song that I have heard over and over through the years.

"Ame no Midosuji" (Rainy Midosuji) talks about that girl who is pining for that guy while walking the titular main street in Osaka. When I heard it again, I should've gone "Ahhh...naruhodo". That smoky voice is vintage Feifei. But I was quite surprised listening to the recorded version (I'd only heard it through her performances on TV); although a part of the arrangement has that unmistakable 70s feeling to it, there is also a part (perhaps it's the guitar) which makes it sound almost a decade ahead of its time when it was released in September 1971. The surprise didn't stop there, though. I found out that the people who composed this hit debut for Feifei were none other than The Ventures. The band apparently created the song specifically for Japanese ears, and I would never have and never did guess it was the same group which recorded the iconic theme for "Hawaii Five-O". I gather that considering the love that poured from Japan toward the members (and it still continues), The Ventures just had to provide some love back through a song or two. Haruo Hayashi (林春生)provided the lonely lyrics.

In any case, what a way to start a career in Japan for Ouyang. The dynamic "Ame no Midosuji" all in all sold over a million copies and got the singer a Japan Record Award for Best Newcomer. For the yearly Oricon rankings, despite the late debut, it ranked in at No. 18 and a year later in 1972, the song went even higher coming in at No. 12. Although Ouyang would make her debut on the 1972 Kohaku Utagassen, she performed another song instead. But with her presence on the special, she became the very first non-Japanese solo artist to appear on the program.

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