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.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mari Amachi -- Mizuiro no Koi (水色の恋)

I've always associated early 70s aidoru Mari Amachi (天地真理)with her 3rd single, "Hitori Janaino"(ひとりじゃないの), and it was one of the earliest articles I've written for "Kayo Kyoku Plus". I mentioned in that article about the nostalgic horns and strings which backed Amachi on that big hit for her.

Well, there are no horns in her very first single, "Mizuiro no Koi" (Water-Coloured Love), but it also brings the sepia-toned memories with the strings, guitar and marimba. Released in October 1971, the song is the type of tune that I would love to hear while sitting on the bank of one of the rivers in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo...the same one where iconic salesman Tora-san used to nap in his series of movies. I was never there in my 1972 visit as a kid but the "Otoka wa Tsurai yo"(男はつらいよ) movies has remained my cinematic ambassador to the early part of that decade. It's a sweet innocent ballad with Amachi singing about her sad feelings as a beau heads off into the horizon forever. My highlight is when both the singer's vocals and the strings soar in the refrain.

Right from the get-go, Amachi was a hit with the public. "Mizuiro no Koi" went straight up to No. 3 on the Oricon weeklies and became the 29th-ranked song for 1972. It would sell 800,000 records in total and would become the first of 11 straight top ten singles. The song was written and created by two sisters and amateur songwriters, Eri and Midori Tagami田上えり・みどり...there are a few readings for that family name but I've gone with Tagami), whose work on it attracted Amachi greatly to the extent that she was singing it often even before her debut as she was taking lessons at the Yamaha Music School.

On the J-Wiki article for "Mizuiro no Koi", I noticed, though, that there were two other names attached to the Tagami sisters: Carlos Pesce and Feliciano Latasa. I did a bit of digging to satisfy my curiosity and found out that they had created a tango piece by the title of "Gran Hotel Victoria" back in 1932. Supposedly, "Mizuiro no Koi" was based enough on this tango that as of 2006, their names are now also part of the credits.

Strangely enough, I found a YouTube video where a very young Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎あゆみ)can be seen singing the Amachi debut.

Perhaps because of the fact that Eri Tagami's lyrics included the famous character, at the time of her debut, Amachi was given the moniker of Snow White. One of the earliest Japanese children's books that I had read as a child contained several pages in which the singer actually took on the Snow White persona through photographs with popular comedy group The Drifters as the Seven Dwarves.

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