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.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Yujiro Ishihara -- Brandy Glass (ブランデーグラス)

I'm glad that this week is finally over. It started off with having to do Mahjong-paper-based presentations, which I find much more stressful and troublesome to do than your regular PowerPoint slides, for 3 consecutive days for 3 modules. Immediately after came an enjoyable albeit harrowing field trip to the S.E.A Aquarium - mode of presentation switched to standing in front of an aquatic exhibit of each group's choice with no notes for reference, all while competing with noisy tourists and annoyingly boisterous Chinese New Year music on the speakers. To cap it all off, a repetitive but somewhat interesting lab session where we had to isolate fish DNA. Now that it's over, I feel like a tire being deflated and the need to listen to something soft and mellow to help me wind down was strong.

Naturally, the singer who first came to mind was none other than Yujiro Ishihara (石原裕次郎). His delicate and smooth vocals are very much welcomed when the internal battery is flat. However, being not particularly well-versed in his songs - haven't had the time or thought to explore much of that Yujiro album I got - I went to have a look at the jazzed-up renditions of his hits from Hiroshi Tachi's (舘ひろし) cover album. "Brandy Glass" was my pick as I have developed a newfound liking for it, which I attribute to the trumpet-and-saxophone-filled arrangement from Tachi's version. It's more like something you'd hear at a jazz bar. As for Ishihara's long-selling hit from 1977, I was actually disappointed by it when hearing it for the first time early last year as I expected more than just that. But giving it a second chance since Tachi's cover was pretty good, I learnt to appreciate it.

The original has a slightly different feel to it; I find it more Latin Mood Kayo with a hint of jazz and the lone trumpet and the piano tinkling away gives off a more lonesome feeling, making it easy to imagine Tough Guy sitting at the bar by himself swirling his brandy in the round-bottomed glass. To a certain extent, it also feels warmer and more comforting. The only thing I don't like from this song is the female backup singer who greets you at the start of the song with her high-pitched voice and chimes in from time to time throughout. Makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. But I guess it sets the tone for "Brandy Glass".

As mentioned above, "Brandy Glass" was first released in 1977, but if I read correctly on the song's J-Wiki page, it didn't sell well then and there. Only in 1979 did it gain popularity after it was sung by Ishihara's character during an episode of "Seibu Keisatsu" (西部警察) with the title "Wakare no Brandy Glass" (別離のブランデーグラス). It was re-released in that year, this time peaking at 11th place on the Oricon charts, and it stayed within the top 100 for 65 weeks (that's amazing!), allowing Yujiro to recieve the Long-Seller award at the 23rd Japan Record Awards in 1981, where it was the 22nd best selling song for that year.

Oh, not to forget that "Brandy Glass" was put together by the renown lyricist Yoko Yamaguchi (山口洋子) and composer Mitsuru Kotani (小谷充). And J-Canuck did an article on this song a while back, you can check it out here.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Noelle. I hope you have been able to rewind with this song. For me, it was one of the Mood Kayo that helped me wade into the more shibui part of Japanese popular music all those years ago.

    For me, it's the piano and trumpet accompaniment to those reassuring vocals that makes the original. Images of Akasaka and the old Tokyo Prince Hotel come to mind whenever I hear "Brandy Glass". Tokyo at night definitely has a certain atmosphere.


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