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.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Rumiko Koyanagi -- Hoshi no Suna (星の砂)

A couple of days ago, we "Star Wars" geeks heard the announcement that we had been waiting for: the 2nd trailer to "The Force Awakens" was online. As an early teen, I saw the original movie at a Toronto movie theatre in 1979 that had been showing "A New Hope" everyday for two years since it had opened...and it still had lines snaking around corners!

Feeling a bit creative today, I then thought about which kayo kyoku would have debuted at around the time that the very first movie in the franchise premiered in May 1977. I did some looking on J-Wiki and discovered that there was one tune that had been released about a month before George Lucas' magnum opus hit the screens. And coincidentally enough, it had the title of "Hoshi no Suna" (Star Sand...or my choice of Stardust, although the sand has me thinking of the dusty planet of Tatooine). By the way, the video above actually has her start the song from the 4-minute mark.

The thing is that I have heard the song before since I've got it on the 1977 discs from my "Seishun Uta Nenkan"(青春歌年鑑)series. As soon as I heard singer Rumiko Koyanagi(小柳ルミ子)launch straight into the lyrics of lost love in that really high-pitched voice, I just went "Oh, yeah...I've heard this one before!" Speaking of the lyrics, I was caught a bit off-guard when I saw the lyricist himself show up on the above video of "Yoru no Hit Studio". It turned out to be Hiroshi Sekiguchi(関口宏)...a newscaster (although he's listed on J-Wiki as also being an actor, emcee and all-round tarento) that I used to see back on TV over there, and in much grayer form.

The music for Koyanagi's 22nd single was composed by the late Hide Demon(出門英)who was one-half of the singing duo Hide & Rosanna. Listening to the song, it has all the romanticism of a wind-swept melodrama. Not quite sure whether it would have been able to replace John Williams' mournful version of the Jedi Theme when young Luke Skywalker was looking away at the twin suns setting in "A New Hope", though (yes, I'm being snarky).

(karaoke version)

I'm not sure when the cover was performed, but Hide & Rosanna did their own version of "Hoshi no Suna". As for the Koyanagi original, it went all the way up to No. 2 on Oricon and became the 13th-ranked song of 1977. It also won Sekiguchi an award in songwriting and got the singer another ticket to the Kohaku Utagassen in the same year which was her 7th appearance on the New Year's Eve special.

As for that movie, I heard it won a few accolades itself.

"Luke...I AM your kayo kyoku!"

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