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

Tatsuro Yamashita -- Let's Dance Baby

Well, I read this just this morning but Tatsuro Yamashita(山下達郎)has actually gone into the Guinness Book of World Records. "Christmas Eve", one of his most famous songs, has been recognized for getting into the Top 100 Oricon weekly rankings every week for the past 30 years. So, does that mean if I put every copy bought of that CD single from 1986 up to now end-to-end from the ground into the sky, I may end up at the Moon? The mind reels. Anyways, many congratulations to Tats! And if he ever reads this article, I actually mean Mr. Yamashita...sir.

On having discovered this honour, perhaps Yamashita might have declared to Mariya, "Let's dance, baby!"...a wild guess, I know. And by coincidence, that declaration also happens to be the title for his first single as a solo singer in January 1979.

I was reading the J-Wiki article for "Let's Dance Baby", and originally it was meant as a track to be sung by the vocal group The Kingtones for one of their albums in the 1970s. Yamashita was given the lyrics for the song by Osamu Yoshioka(吉岡治)so that he could add some of his melodies. The thing was, though, Yamashita was having some problems getting that music together for some reason. However, "Let's Dance Baby" eventually did get onto The Kingtones' album, "Resurrect" (1978), and it was even placed onto the recording list for Yamashita's 3rd album "Go Ahead!" (Oricon ranking: No. 75) for release in December 1978. The director, Ryuzo Kosugi(小杉理宇造), who hadn't heard any of the sturm und drang that his client endured for the song believed that it was good enough to be released as its own single.

(cover version by TMMP)

And I guess the rest was history. "Let's Dance Baby" is on at least two of my BEST compilations for Yamashita (although it apparently didn't chart), and the mellow good-time music for the song pretty much set the template for the Tats sound for a number of years into the next decade in my estimation. I hadn't known that it was his first solo single and listening to it, I think it could have fit into any year in the early 1980s. I could drink a Perrier with a pink fluffy sweater wrapped around my waist listening to this. By the way, director Kosugi and singer-songwriter Minako Yoshida(吉田美奈子)were the backup vocals. Those two were also just as responsible for setting up that Tats sound for City Pop.

Let's eat, baby!

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