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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Maki Ohguro -- Harlem Night

My personal Maki Ohguro(大黒摩季)favourite will always be the blood-burning "Atsukunare"(熱くなれ)which was used as the NHK theme song for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. BOOM! Better than a Trenta cup of coffee from Starbucks.

However, the very first Ohguro song I came across was not while I was in Japan. It was actually during those 3 years that I was back in Toronto between Japan stints. I forgot who I had borrowed the audio tape could've been one of my friends at university or even one of the students that I tutored at home. But in any case, I got this tape of various early 90s singers who were up and coming that I hadn't heard of. There was DEEN, TRF and then Ohguro.

And one of the Ohguro songs on the tape was "Harlem Night", the singer-songwriter's 5th single from July 1993. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the song at first. It did have quite the sultry beat but I didn't immediately cotton onto "Harlem Night" initially. I couldn't really say it was an R&B song despite the title and perhaps it was also the first time I had heard Ohguro's voice. Thinking about it much later, perhaps it was because her vocal style seemed a bit more suited for pure rock than pop.

But that was then and this is now. And of course, I started liking Ohguro's material after I did get to Japan again. In fact, I bought a few singles and one album by her in short order. And at the time, her star was indeed rising. I heard her fairly often via the various TV shows, music show appearances and commercials so I was able to get accustomed to her delivery quite nicely. As for "Harlem Night", it peaked at No. 3 and was a track on her 3rd album, "U.Be Love" which came out in November 1993 to get as high as No. 2.

It's something to say that I find her quite nostalgic now.

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