I was watching "Kayo Concert"（歌謡コンサート）last night with the theme being movie songs. A lot of the entries were songs that I had already covered in the blog, but then I came across this one titled "Futari no Ginza" (Ginza for Two), which I actually had referred to in passing for "Kyoto Bojou"（京都慕情）about 18 months ago. Like that song, "Futari no Ginza", which is officially known in English as "Ginza Lights", was composed by surf rock legends The Ventures with lyrics by Rokusuke Ei（永六輔）who had written the just-as-legendary "Ue wo Muite Arukou"（上を向いて歩こう）.
The singers behind this one were actors Ken Yamauchi and Masako Izumi（山内賢・和泉雅子）. The two of them had actually been releasing records as well before "Futari no Ginza", but to be honest, listening to the two behind the mike, I got the impression that acting was more their gig. However, I think it was their somewhat amateurish delivery that may have been the charm as a couple of young folk in love dashing through the bright lights of one of the planet's most expensive neighbourhoods. And The Ventures created the music based on their observations of Ginza at night which is still pretty dazzling even now.
Released in September 1966, "Futari no Ginza" was actually first offered to chanson singer Fubuki Koshiji（越路吹雪）according to an interview with Izumi, but after listening to The Ventures' melody, she felt that Izumi was a far better choice. Considering that Koshiji was already well into her forties when she was approached while Izumi was all of 19 at the time, I think it was the right decision. The former may have been far more skilled as a singer but the latter was the more appropriate partner for the 22-year-old Yamauchi in terms of the overall footloose-and-fancy-free tone.
"Futari no Ginza" was such a hit that in 1967, a movie was made based on the song starring Izumi and Yamauchi. I've never seen it myself but I'm pretty sure it was just as footloose.
To finish off, here are The Ventures with their own take.
|Ginza 4-chome with the Wako Clock|