Credits

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, July 15, 2014

Naoko Ken/Miyuki Nakajima -- Kamome wa Kamome (かもめはかもめ)



As I mentioned in the first article for singer/actress/tarento Naoko Ken(研ナオコ), she has been seen being the zany comic cut-up on TV often with good buddy Ken Shimura. Ironically, I've also known her to be the singer of some really melancholy but beautiful songs. Case in point, allow me to introduce you to "Kamome wa Kamome" (A Seagull is a Seagull) which was written and composed by Miyuki Nakajima(中島みゆき).

Released in March 1978 as Ken's 16th single, the heartbreaking ballad is a message on the lines of "I love you but I can never be with you". It's a grand torch song of a woman giving her final goodbyes to someone who was probably the closest to being the love of her life but ultimately the pair couldn't make it work. What's left is her pronouncing that she is the titular seagull flying solo never stopping anywhere for long.



At the time, Ken was making a comeback into the entertainment spotlight after about 6 months in exile due to suspicions of her possessing marijuana. Before the trouble, the singer had had her greatest success to date with her 12th single, "Abayo", back in 1976 which was also a Nakajima-created song. Nakajima once again helped Ken get another hit with "Kamome wa Kamome". Although it didn't become as big a hit as "Abayo"(あばよ...Farewell)had, it has become one of Ken's signature tunes. It won a Japan Record Award Gold Prize in 1978 and the singer was back on the NHK stage at the Kohaku Utagassen to sing it. Getting as high as No. 7 on the Oricon weeklies, it finished the year as the 39th-ranked entry, selling over 300,000 records.

However, "Kamome wa Kamome" was actually first released as one track on Ken's 5th album, "Kamome no You ni"(かもめのように...Like A Seagull)which came out in October 1977.

(Sorry but music163 is no longer accessible.)

Listening to one of Ken's most famous songs, I could imagine and hear Nakajima through the melody and lyrics. And sure enough, from her April 1985 album, "Oiro Naoshi"(御色なおし...Change), she gave her own cover version of "Kamome wa Kamome". Nakajima even one-ups Ken with her version of the song being turned into an epic organ-propelled musical elegy as if it were being used to remember a recently-departed dear friend. Not surprisingly, it's the song that ends the album....the only thing missing was the "Amen" at the very end. The album itself hit No. 1 and later became the 18th-ranked album of the year.

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