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.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Akiko Wada -- Furui Nikki (古い日記)

Ano koro wa.........HA!

Yup, that's the line there. But along with other famous pop culture phrases such as "Beam me up, Scotty!" and "Play it again, Sam", the above line wasn't actually said in Akiko Wada's(和田アキ子)"Furui Nikki" (Old Diary) least, the two parts weren't sung together like that. Apparently, one of the popular monomane performers concocted the phrasing on a special...and a great Wada impersonation was born.

I remember the brassy Wada mainly for her other big hit, "Ano Kane wo Narasu no wa Anata"(あの鐘を鳴らすのはあなた)from 1972. However, I was reminded of this other musical touchstone of hers earlier this afternoon when an NHK educational program popped up about how to use and have fun with a smartphone, and Wada and the very first "Kamen Rider" actor, Hiroshi Fujioka were the "students"; "Furui Nikki" just happened to pop up in a little mini-game of "Name That Tune" (and Fujioka failed to figure out the title...lucky Wada didn't bop him). To be honest, even I didn't know what the title was; I had assumed it was "Ano Koro wa".

I was a bit surprised at the title, though. When I hear a title like "Furui Nikki", I would expect a song to be some languid Mood Kayo, folk or enka ballad. Instead, Wada's 18th single from February 1974 is this funky pulser of a kayo about a young couple slowly figuring out the challenges of a relationship that the singer was probably more than happy to sink her teeth into since she is a big fan of R&B. This isn't a song to be sung at some lonesome's better to have a dance floor on hand to strut.

"Furui Nikki" was written by Kazumi Yasui(安井かずみ)and composed by Koji Makaino(馬飼野康二), both of whom were prolific in their fields. They also were responsible for another hit song from 1974, "Hageshii Koi"(激しい恋)for Hideki Saijo(西城秀樹), and Makaino was also the composer behind Arashi's (嵐)hit debut, the catchy "A-RA-SHI" a quarter of a century later. Although "Furui Nikki" has become one of Wada's most recognized songs, it initially didn't do all that well, just peaking at No. 44 on the Oricon weeklies. Perhaps for that reason, Wada didn't sing the song at that year's Kohaku Utagassen although she was one of the Red Team. In fact, it wouldn't be until the 2003 edition that she finally got to sing it on the Shibuya stage in a remixed form and then perform it once more on the 2014 show last year.

Y'know...considering its R&B beat, it's not surprising that it makes for a good dance remix....HA!

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