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, March 5, 2016

Doopees -- Doopee Time

Being a TV watcher since the age of zero, I still remember those old and zany 60s American sitcoms such as "Bewitched" and "The Beverly Hillbillies" with their catchy theme songs. Another worthy show was "I Dream of Jeannie" with Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman whose theme song by Hugo Montenegro was probably one of the very first earworms to burrow into my brain some decades before the term became part of the English language. I knew that "Bewitched" became even more beloved in Japan under the title of "Okusama wa Majo" (奥様は魔女...The Wife is a Witch....with the late Elizabeth Montgomery doing a few commercials in Japan), but I was surprised to find out that "I Dream of Jeannie" also had its run in Japan as "Kawaii Majo Jeannie"(かわいい魔女ジニー...Cute Witch Jeannie)back in the late 60s through the NET network, later known as TV Asahi.

In my first year as a resident in Ichikawa-shi, Chiba-ken, I was then surprised to hear the old "Jeannie" theme immortalized through a weird loungy song that appeared on a commercial touting Doopees and their music. I had never of Doopees and it was basically the television ad and perhaps the odd sighting of the short-but-sweet music video for "Doopee Time" where I heard Doopees.

The first thing I mused was "What the heck is a Doopee?" Mind you, when I had first heard about the Doobie Brothers a decade further back, I also pondered "What the heck is a Doobie?" As I mentioned, Doopees didn't exactly become a household word on Japanese was just some odd CM that often popped up for a while featuring samples of the "Jeannie" theme and even the theme song from "I Love Lucy", and a young innocent-looking lady occasionally mouthing "Doopees".

The phenomenon soon faded away over time. However I eventually found out that Doopees was the brainchild of musician and producer Yann Tomita(ヤン富田)who has been around since the 1980s with his brand of exotica, avant-garde and electronica. The space-age lounge side of him came out via his 1995 album "Doopee Time" including the title track which was recorded with Yumiko Ohno(大野由美子)from Buffalo Daughter and drummer Chica Ogawa. Not sure if the lady in the video was one of those two.

Although the band Buffalo Daughter is considered to be Shibuya-kei, I'm not sure whether this particular song "Doopee Time" would be a part of this genre since it basically consists of samples of a couple of old sitcom themes and not an original tune developed with that French poppy or loungy feel. Still, I could give it honourary mention.

Well, since I started with an intro to an old sitcom, I will end the same way with "I Love Lucy".

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