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.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Spiders -- No No Boy (ノー・ノー・ボーイ)

Tonight I was watching the latest zany episode of "Vs. Arashi" with the famous Johnny's Entertainment band competing against the usual group of tarento and actors through various feats of derring-do. One of the guests was veteran TV personality and actor Jun Inoue(井上順). I had known about him on Japanese TV even before I did my two tours of duty in Japan: he was one of the founding members of the Group Sounds band The Spiders and he was a longtime host of Fuji-TV's "Yoru no Hit Studio"(夜のヒットスタジオ). And apparently, he was the one to first bring back the custom of doing the Peace sign when Japanese pose for pictures. Really? I checked his article on J-Wiki and there was indeed a mention of this point including the year that he brought the meme over...1971. It's hard to believe that one former vocalist of a GS band could introduce something that has grown far from its fad roots to become a Pavlovian response whenever a camera lens is pointed at a person. But hey, even I got into the habit while I was there. And I can thank Mr. Inoue for that...perhaps.

Anyways, it is just for that reason that I decided to write this article on a tune by The Spiders. I first looked at the debut single by the band, "Furi Furi"(フリフリ...Twist)but that sounded way too raucous for me on a quiet night, so I went with their 3rd single "No No Boy" from February 1966 which is much more laid back. Written by Spiders drummer Shochi Tanabe(田邊昭知)and composed by guitarist Hiroshi Kamayatsu(かまやつひろし), it was described as having a novel and refined sound that hadn't existed in Japanese music up to that point (translating from the J-Wiki article for the song). The article also mentioned that it adopted a British beat but I couldn't help hearing that it may have come from the UK via Hawaii thanks to that steel pedal guitar.

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