Last night I finally had the chance to view the annual Kohaku Uta Gassen for the very first time. Although I sat through a mind-numbing 4 hours of musical acts with most of them being those I usually couldn't be bothered with, only waiting for a specific few to come on, I must at least say that the performers all seemed to give it their all.
What impressed me the most was Kouhei Fukuda's (福田こうへい) rendition of "Tokyo gorin ondo" (東京五輪音頭), with the petite guy in a white kimono up on a platform with dancers dressed in the Olympic colours prancing around below, as he warbled away in a way that made me think it was the late Haruo Minami (三波春夫) singing it! And then the acts I had been waiting very, very patiently for: Hiroshi Itsuki (五木ひろし) singing his breakthrough hit "Yokohama Tasogare" (よこはま・たそがれ) in memory of lyricist, Yoko Yamaguchi (山口洋子). A while later came Sayuri Ishikawa's (石川さゆり) "Amagi goe" (天城越え) which has been sung for the 9th time as of now. It was amazing, amazingly dramatic, and grand. Kiyoshi Hikawa's chirpy "Choitto kimagure wataridori" (ちょいときまぐれ渡り鳥) didn't hurt either.
Anyway, speaking of Ishikawa and Itsuki, I had encountered a couple of videos (3, to be exact) with the pair doing an energetic medley of hit songs from the 70's. It was quite a while ago since I had found it, so most songs they sung were like Greek to me on the first listen. I did, however, find a couple of the tunes enjoyable. Some examples include Feifei Ouyang's (欧陽菲菲) "Ame no midosuji" (雨の御堂筋), sibling duo Karyudo's (狩人) "Azusa ni go" (あずさ２号), and the song for today, Koji Taira's (平浩二) "Bus Stop".
During the medley, the original singers of the songs were not mentioned, so I had no idea who the original singer of "Bus Stop" was. And of course, being lazy, I hadn't actually bothered to look it up even though I had tried to make a mental note on that. It was only until the "Mood Kayo Special" on Kayo Concert just a couple of months back did I finally see and listen to the original by Taira, who was decked out in a sparkly, silver, sequined top that made him look disco ball. That also made him stand out from the other more regularly dressed Mood Kayo All Stars.
Weird yet amusing wardrobe choice aside, with his smooth vocals he delivered "Bus Stop" well. After a somewhat dramatic start, the score, along with Taira's voice continues rather gently, which slowly gets more and more intense as it builds up to the chorus. This was composed by Masahiko Aoi (葵まさひこ), and the lyrics were written by Kazuya Senke (千家和也). Apparently the "bus stop" that's being featured here in the song is supposed to be the bus terminal at the Shibuya train station's east exit.
Not surprisingly, "Bus Stop" became Taira's biggest hit, peaking at 11th in 1972 and selling around 800 000 copies. This hit came 3 years after his debut in 1969. Taira coincidentally hails from the same city in the same prefecture as Kiyoshi Maekawa (前川清), that being Sasebo, Nagasaki and the 2 were classmates in Primary and Secondary school (Elementary, Middle).
Here's the video of that Ishikawa-Itsuki medley where I first heard of "Bus Stop". It's the last one they sang in the video, but you can enjoy the other classics first.
Ah yes, and have a great new year ahead you guys (readers and bloggers alike)... ... Huh, I just realised that this is my first article of the year.