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, August 13, 2014

Hideki Saijo/The High-Lows -- Jounetsu no Arashi(情熱の嵐)

I saw that 46th annual "Omoide no Melody"(思い出のメロディー)special, as I mentioned for another article, and one other song being performed was by 70s heartthrob, Hideki Saijo(西城秀樹). As soon as I heard the call-and-back of "HIDEKI!" from the audience, I recognized the song but hadn't known the title. It turned out to be "Jounetsu no Arashi" (Passion Storm) by lyricist Takashi Taka(たかたかし) and composer Kunihiko Suzuki(鈴木邦彦)
Released in May 1973, "Jounetsu no Arashi" hinted at some smoldering love from Saijo which I'm sure the audience's screaming of the lad's name was further fueled by. Having seen one of his old concerts on VHS tape way back when, the tall handsome lad knew how to whip up a crowd into a frenzy. He wasn't quite as energetic on the NHK stage a few nights ago, but the audience was still willing to yell his name.

The song went as high as No. 6 on Oricon and ended up as the 40th-ranked song for 1973.

Of course, with Saijo's distinct vocal style, gestures and appearance, he was ripe for parody and so he's been a favoured singer to imitate on one of Japanese TV's must-see variety programs: the monomane taikai (ものまね大会)or the impression competition. Comedian Tomomitsu Yamaguchi (山口智充)does a hilarious beat on Hideki, but gets a little surprise near the end of his performance of "Jounetsu no Arashi".

The punk band The High-Lows, fronted by The Blue Hearts' Hiroto Komoto(甲本ヒロト), paid their tribute to Saijo via their own cover of "Jounetsu no Arashi" in 1997 through the compilation album, "Saijo Hideki ROCK Tribute"(西城秀樹ROCKトリビュート). The version may have been in the last decade of the 20th century but the arrangement sounded somewhat like something from a harder-edged Group Sounds band. At the end of the performance, Komoto asked whether the band's version passed muster with Hideki. I think he would've liked it.

As for information on The High-Lows, you can take a look at the Wikipedia article.

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