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.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dr. Dragon and Oriental Express/Yuko Asano -- Sexy Bus Stop(セクシー・バス・ストップ)

It's amazing what one can find out about an old tune.

I first heard this song with the "only-in-Japan" title of "Sexy Bus Stop" when EPO did a cover version on her "Poptracks"album of 1987. The melody instantly got me thinking of funk-n-disco (pardon my French...ahem). I would later find out that it was originally performed by actress Yuko Asano(浅野ゆう子), one of the most popular trendy drama stars of the 80s and 90s, when she had started out in show business in the early 70s as a young starlet and aidoru. "Sexy Bus Stop" was Asano's 8th single and her biggest hit. When I discovered this fact, I frankly went "She actually sang?" which kinda shows how far her acting career has eclipsed her singing one although she continued to release singles off-and-on until the late 90s.

The above video is just 30 seconds long but it has a teenage Asano (nee Yuko Akazawa...赤沢裕子) bopping about on the stage looking fairly tomboyish....quite a far cry from my image of her as the sultry, sweet and sassy characters she played in those dramas over a decade later. "Sexy Bus Stop" peaked at No. 12 on Oricon.

But the story is not over. I found out that Asano herself was doing a vocal cover of the song which had originally been an instrumental. When I came across the name of the band, Dr. Dragon and Oriental Express, I first assumed that it was an American disco group. Its "Sexy Bus Stop", which had been released just a month before the Asano version, certainly sounded American enough. Then, I dug a little deeper.

Apparently, it was Japanese after all. And it had quite the lineup. Dr. Dragon and Oriental Express started life in 1976 and starred these folks: Shigeru Suzuki (guitar), Tsugutoshi Goto (bass), Tatsuo Hayashi (drums) and Akiko Yano (keyboards). "Sexy Bus Stop" was the debut for this group, and they even released one album, "The Birth of Dragon". The producer for the whole disco project was Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平) who also composed "Sexy Bus Stop" under the name of Jack Diamond, while Jun Hashimoto(橋本淳)provided the lyrics for the Asano version.

Just to give another example of this band's output, here is their theme song.

All I can say is "BOOGIE!!"

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