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, May 31, 2014

Chikuzen Sato/Bobby Caldwell -- What You Won't Do For Love

(excerpt only)

If there is one song that screams out Adult Contemporary, it's "What You Won't Do For Love" originally by Bobby Caldwell in 1978. I used to hear it oodles of times on the radio at home and in the car, and if there were a source song that was responsible for my attraction to the genre here and its equivalent of City Pop in Japan, it would be this tune.

Years later, having become a Sing Like Talking fan, I also became interested in Chikuzen Sato's (佐藤竹善)solo work, and so I bought the first of his "Cornerstones" series of albums which came out in January 1995. I bought it perhaps a couple of years later at a Yamano Music branch in JR Chiba Station while I was waiting for the bus that used to take me to those weekly corporate classes I used to teach at Sumitomo. Sato's stuff in this album at least seemed to push the singer into a more groove-rich, funk-happy place, and his cover of the Caldwell classic was a bit more R&B. Since SLT is seen as the domestic representative of AOR in Japan, I couldn't think of anyone better to tackle "What You Won't Do For Love" than Sato himself, and he acquits himself fine for the most part. I think he was just given a bit too much leeway at the end, though.

AOR is a legitimate section in any of the major music shops in Japan. Adult Oriented Rock brings to mind three other words: Big in Japan. For perhaps the same reasons that The Carpenters, ABBA and The Ventures have done even better in The Land of the Rising Sun, an entire cadre of singers whose repertoires would go well with a bottle of Perrier being poured into a highball has been gratefully accepted in that same land. Bobby Caldwell is therefore a god over there. And "What You Won't Do For Love" is his tribute song.

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