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.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hiroshi Itsuki -- Yozora (夜空)

Oh my goodness, he's so cool...

Pretty much satisfied with what he had to offer in the early 2010's, I became more willing to delve deeper into Hiroshi Itsuki's (五木ひろし) large repertoire of hits after being enamored by the electric guitar playing Enka singer in a navy blue pinstriped suit with no tie and rolled up shirt sleeves from his 2012 single 'Yoake no blues' (夜明けのブルース).

'Yozora' (Night sky) was one of the first to come along after that. Thinking it was one of those slow and I dare say boring ballads or another 'When you wish upon a star' kinda thing (well, it is called night sky), I mostly gave this song a pass. But with Ikuzo Yoshi (吉幾三) having a go at Itsuki's 21st single on an episode of 'Nippon no uta' about half a year ago, I had decided to give in and see why it was one of the massively popular Enka singer's hits.

Anticipating the gentle notes of string instruments to come on first after that trademark tinkling (I don't know how else to describe it) that sounds like a shooting star through the dark sky, I was taken aback when the trumpets took over instead to start off the relatively fast paced song. And unfortunately it was also when I realised that Mr. Sake's husky voice isn't fit to sing such songs.

With its lyrics and music done by Yoko Yamaguchi (山口洋子) and Masaaki Hirao (平尾昌晃), also known as the same duo who spawned Itsuki's breakthrough hit 'Yokohama tasogare' (よこはま・たそがれ) two years before, I suppose there's no wonder 'Yozora' made it all the way up to 4th place on the Oricon charts in 1973 and allowed Itsuki to bag the grand prize at the 15th Japan Record Awards. But he only sang it once more than two decades later during his 29th appearance on the Kohaku in 1999.

So far it seems like 'Yozora' has gotten faster and more intense over the years. Sounding more placid in its earlier state, the current amped up renditions of it has Itsuki swaying around more and throwing out punches into the air with more vigor, especially at the angst-filled 'Akirame ta' part.

Wow, just wow.

1 comment:

  1. Another hit by the old enka master. I was surprised by how much calmer the original version was when it came out since I've been accustomed to seeing and hearing the more barnburning version by Itsuki on the various music shows.


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