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 3, 2015

Toshihiko Tahara -- Hatto Shite! Good (ハッとして!Good)

Ahhhh....the 1980s...when aidoru songs can sound like tunes from the 1920s. Well, at least, this particular one. For the longest time, I thought "Hatto Shite! Good" had been sung by Masahiko Kondo(近藤真彦)but it was actually the other member of the Tanokin Trio collective, Toshihiko Tahara (田原俊彦 be honest, I often couldn't tell the two apart, and I usually forgot who that third member was, Yoshio Nomura/野村義男).

Released in September 1980, this was Toshi-chan's 2nd single. I was kinda wondering what the first part of the title meant but after going through the lyrics about a young fellow suddenly running into the girl of his dreams, I realized that the "Hatto Shite" was somewhat onomatopoeic with Tahara going "BOING!" on seeing her. I thought it was cute and clever how that turn of phrase went in the lyrics: "Hatto shite, gutto kite, patto mezameru, koi dakara"(ハッとして、グッときて、パッと目覚める、恋だから...I go BOING, then I go GULP, and my eyes go SNAP, cause it's love). That phrase could pretty much describe that moment that every boy that had ever lived on the planet Earth experienced when l'amour struck for the first time.

Written and composed by a classical pianist by the name of Tamiko Morioka(盛岡夕美子)under her pen name of Tomo Miyashita(宮下智), it was also interesting how she made the song into a bit of an old jazz ditty without the usual electric guitars and the disco strings of the time. There was an old issue of Myojo that I have somewhere in my apartment which had a photo of Toshi-chan prancing about in a 1920s outfit complete with porkpie hat just outside of the Akasaka Detached Palace in Tokyo that had me thinking that the kid could have lived a previous life as a dandy from that decade. And his theme song was of course "Hatto Shite! Good".

The song hit the top spot for 2 weeks, Tahara's very first No. 1, and became the No. 22 song for 1980. Its success would continue on into 1981 as it ended up the 93rd-ranked song for that year. It became a million-seller and won him a Best Newcomer Prize at the Japan Record Awards in 1980. So, of course, the Kohaku Utagassen came knocking as well. 

Another interesting side benefit was that Japanese television viewers got a partial re-enactment of the first few lines of "Hatto Shite! Good" via a Glico chocolate commercial starring Tahara and up-and-coming aidoru Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子). As the lyrics described, Toshi-chan is riding his bike up to some highland telephone booth when his eyes perk up at the cute and lovely young lady on the phone. With today's technology, I couldn't see that happening now, so it's even more quaint seeing the ad, and especially since Seiko-chan has that famed Seiko-chan cut.

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