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, March 19, 2014

Alice -- Champion (チャンピオン)

Another hit song for the folk/rock duo known as Alice(アリス), "Champion" is a muscular song which has that cowboy twang and another English lyric that a lot of veteran karaoke singers of a certain age would know just like that: "You king of kings!"

Written and composed by leader Shinji Tanimura(谷村新司), "Champion" was Alice's 14th single released in December 1978. The motif was boxing and that great match in the ring, and in fact, the model for the protagonist in the song was a half-Japanese/half-American boxer by the name of Cassius Naito (who also went by the name of Robert Williams Jr.) The song sounds like that all that training, running and warm-up towards the long walk towards the ring and the challenger thanks to the no-nonsense strumming and singing.

"Champion" definitely rung a bell in all of the listeners since it became Alice's biggest hit. It turned into a champion itself as it reached the top spot on Oricon and stayed there for almost a month between January and February 1979. The song eventually became the 8th-ranked song for 1979 and also got Tanimura and partner Takao Horiuchi(堀内孝雄) their ticket onto the Kohaku Utagassen.

And in the years since, it has also gotten shown on a lot of those Showa Era music retrospectives. There's nothing like a tune that gets you into that punching spirit.

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