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 9, 2015

Toshi & Naoko -- Natsu Zakari Honoji Gumi (夏ざかりほの字組)

(at 1:10)

I gotta admit...although I've known that Toshihiko "Toshi-chan" Tahara(田原俊彦)and Naoko Ken(研ナオコ)have done their fair share of dramas and variety shows alongside their singing careers, I never would have imagined that they would actually do a duet together. I mean, Naoko was able to pull as many funny faces as she could on comedy hours such as "Hachi-ji da yo! Zen'in Shuugo"(8時だョ!全員集合...It's 8 O'Clock! Everybody Assemble)with her buddy, zany comedian Ken Shimura, but when it came to singing behind the mike, I always saw her as deadly serious. Meanwhile Toshi was always pulling off his boyish charm with his spins and flips on the stage while doing his aidoru music.

But then while I was listening to an episode of "Sounds of Japan", this song came on featuring the two of them in some sort of energized pop tune that had elements of Latin, Mood Kayo and Johnny's-type aidoru from the 1980s. And it was Toshi and Naoko! "Natsu Zakari Honoji Gumi" (The L-Word Gang at the Height of Summer) is definitely one of the more interesting song titles I've come across since starting this blog, and it was officially Toshi's 23rd single, released in July 1985.

(this time with Korokke...much hilarity ensures)

Written by the late legendary Yu Aku(阿久悠)and composed by just-as-proficient Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平), the song seems to be about various folks falling in sultry love somewhere in the tropics. Just think of "The Love Boat" with a PG-13 rating and a Japanese cast. Apparently Toshi & Naoko made the rounds on the music shows, and if the above video is any indication, they had a pretty good time tripping the light fantastic. "Natsu Zakari Honoji Gumi" got as high as No. 5 on Oricon and was the 54th-ranked song for 1985. It would have been nice if the two had gotten on the Kohaku with their act.

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