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, March 17, 2015

Shogo Hamada -- Ai no Kakehiki (愛のかけひき)

My knowledge of rocker Shogo Hamada(浜田省吾)is limited to what nikala and I have contributed to the blog. However, I recently became aware of one of his very early singles as a solo performer (he started his career as the drummer for short-lived rock band Aido「愛奴」in the early 1970s). "Ai no Kakehiki" (Haggling Over Love), which was written and composed by Hamada, is a breezy feel-good-sounding song with some great guitar although the lyrics have a frustrated guy venting about what his ex-girlfriend had really wanted from him.

Released in October 1976, Hamada sounded like a reedy-voiced teenager although he was already close to being 24 when his 2nd single came out. He could've been busking near one of the major Tokyo stations with this one and I'm sure he would have drawn a fair-sized crowd. It's just a nice song to listen to, and according to the J-Wiki article on "Ai no Kakehiki", he based the lyrics on his own time at Kanagawa University. The single was also a track on his 2nd album, "Love Train" which was released in May 1977.

The first version of the song I heard, though, was his own cover version on his September 1991 album "Edge of the Knife", his 3rd disc of covers. And to be honest, this is the one that still gets me happy. Hamada's voice is back to his familiar depth and there's a lusher arrangement although the essence of the original version is still there. In fact, when I first heard this version, I thought this was the original from the mid-70s.

There was a whole lot more love for "Ai no Kakehiki" and the rest of the songs on "Edge of the Knife" as it hit No. 1 and then quickly became the 15th-ranked album for 1991. It also sold close to 800,000 copies.

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