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.

Monday, January 25, 2016

HOUND DOG/Akiko Wada -- ff (フォルティシモ)

Not sure but this could be the last song that I remember from my Kuri days that I have yet to put up on "Kayo Kyoku Plus". The title is easy to remember with just two identical letters (standing for Fortissimo), and it was often a song that roused the bunch in the karaoke bar whenever anyone who was liquored enough gave this one a try.

The other things I remember from HOUND DOG's 10th single is the intro whose synths made it sound like the theme song for some 80s action-adventure series by Stephen J. Cannell (a la "The A-Team") and gravelly-voiced Kohei Otomo's(大友康平)anthemic delivery of the refrain. I bet just about every young company worker who's gone through a hellish week of bowing in profuse apology to angry clients and getting screamed at by the kacho gave "ff" the good ol' college try at karaoke. It just has that sort of tone that references an old Hollywood line "I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!!" and demands copious amounts of Asahi.

Ironically enough though, it was actually used as the commercial song for Nissin's Cup O' Noodles since university students probably had lots of issues as well.

Well, whatever the need, "ff" has become the karaoke favourite for a certain generation of amateur singers. I never tackled it though since I couldn't be convincing at all as a rock pretender. Written by Yukio Matsuo(松尾由紀夫)and composed by Hitoshi Minowa(蓑輪単志)who was the keyboardist for the band, it was released in August 1985 after which it peaked at No. 11 on Oricon. The song also got onto HOUND DOG's 7th album "Spirits!" which was released in August 1985.

Kohei Otomo has always been the frontman for HOUND DOG since it first started up in 1976. There have been a number of changes in the lineup over the decades but it seems that, according to the J-Wiki article on the band, the most stable period was between 1978 and 1984, with Junichi Yajima(八島順一)and Yoshihide Takahashi(高橋良秀)on guitar, the aforementioned Hitoshi Minowa on keyboards, and Sadao Kaito海藤節生...I hope that this is the right reading)on bass. However since 2006, it's just been Otomo who has also plied his trade as an actor and tarento.

HOUND DOG didn't get onto the 1985 Kohaku Utagassen to sing "ff" but in 1991 when the 42nd Kohaku Utagassen was due to be broadcast, NHK extended the invitation to the band to sing the song, but the members didn't cotton onto the idea since they felt it was too old an song and they just didn't want to sing it, instead feeling that they would prefer to try out "BRIDGE" which was to be released in February the next year. NHK nixed that idea and HOUND DOG was taken off the list to be replaced by Bubblegum Bros. The band has yet to considered for another appearance but I imagine Otomo has never really lost any sleep over it.

In 2011, Akiko Wada(和田アキ子)did a funky cover of "ff" for a Suntory beer commercial which consequently became her 87th single in April.

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