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, June 10, 2014

Yukio Hashi/Skapontas -- Koi no Mexican Rock (恋のメキシカン・ロック)

I've heard this song off and on for decades by Yukio Hashi(橋幸夫)but couldn't pin it down except for the veteran singer's appearance in some commercial as he was singing "Koi no Mexican Rock" (Mexican Rock of Love) in a sombrero.

Then I watched tonight's episode of "Kayo Concert" which was highlighting the songs of the late composer Tadashi Yoshida(吉田正). Yoshida was the creator of such Mood Kayo classics such as "Tokyo Night Club" (東京ナイトクラブ)and "Yurakucho de Aimashou"(有楽町で逢いましょう), so it was a bit surprising to realize that he was also responsible for the happy-go-lucky kayo kyoku, "Koi no Mexican Rock". It was almost as if Yoshida and his frequent collaborator, lyricist Takao Saeki(佐伯孝夫), decided to flee the bars of Ginza and head for Mexico on a vacation...only to end up in Cuba. I mean, I think the song comes off as authentically Mexican as a burrito at Taco Bell. However, it does bring up images of good ol' Desi Arnaz (Lucille Ball's ex-hubby) and his band from "I Love Lucy".

As much as I've associated Hashi with his adorable duet with actress Sayuri Yoshinaga (吉永小百合)for "Itsudemo Yume wo" (いつでも夢を)and for his haunting single in the mid-60s, "Muhyou"(霧氷), I think "Koi no Mexican Rock" fulfills that third angle in his go-to triangle of performances on TV. As he did tonight, Hashi likes to have the dancing girls behind him as he lets his inner Presley out. There is no write-up on the song so I don't know how well it did in the pre-Oricon era or how Yoshida and Saeki were inspired to create it (a bottle of worm-occupied tequila?), but I'm fairly sure there was an interesting tale somewhere about it.

I also came across a cover of "Koi no Mexican Rock" by the ska band Skapontas (スカポンタス)that came out in August 2005. Skapontas was a 9-member unit from Osaka that debuted in 2001 and lasted until 2008. During that time, they released 3 singles (for which "Koi no Mexican Rock" was the final one) and 8 albums. For the cover of the Hashi original, Skapontas even managed to wrangle the man to come and reprise his old chestnut.

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