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, December 18, 2013

Off Course -- Ronde/Omoide wo Nusunde (ロンド・思い出を盗んで)

"Ronde" and "Omoide wo Nusunde" (Stealing Memories) make up Off Course's 12th single, released in November 1977. Of the two, I know the latter B-side song better so I will start off with that. The reason I do is that about 20 years ago, I placed this song in a homemade compilation tape of J-Xmas tunes, although finally going through Kazumasa Oda's(小田和正) lyrics revealed that it's really not too much in the Xmas spirit. Actually, it's about someone lamenting the end of a romance due to one final argument or a case of loose lips. Still, the trials and tribulations of love were an Off Course staple, especially in the 70s.

I guess I put it into my mix tape since the melody actually sounded rather Christmas-y and I taped it from an Off Course (オフコース)compilation CD, "Off Course Winter Collection -- White Lyrics". "Omoide wo Nusunde" was also a track on the band's 5th album, "Junktion" which came out in September 1977. It peaked at No. 21 on the Oricon album chart.

(cover version)

"Ronde" was written, composed and performed by Off Course member Yasuhiro Suzuki(鈴木康博) and is a bit of a musical guilt trip about the distance that grows between Mom and child as the years go by. It's a lovely song, especially with that bluesy saxophone, and it was used as the theme song for a NTV drama in late 1977 titled "Himawari no Ie"(ひまわりの家...Sunflower House)about a mother who has to run a confectionary shop alone after her husband mysteriously disappeared 7 years previously.

Now that 36 years have passed by, it's surprising that this single didn't do too well, only going as high as No. 89 on Oricon. But according to J-Wiki, Suzuki hadn't been too confident in "Ronde" from the outset stating that he felt that he had gotten asked to write something at the age of 29 that perhaps someone in his 40s or 50s would only realize. He even went as far to say that his creation really didn't fit into the direction that Off Course was veering into and that it was a tune that just got left on the side of the road. Ouch! Still, he also stated that he loved the song.

Suzuki also covered "Ronde" twice on his albums "BeSide" (1996) and "Forward" (2004).

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