At the risk of sounding like one of those old K-Tel duffers advertising ancient LP compilations, do you remember Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca"? Yep, it was a big hit in Japan as well after its release in April 1999. In fact, within my circle of friends involving teachers and students at the time, it was occasionally sung during the karaoke box stage of our nights out.
Well, the professional side of Japanese pop culture was also not immune to the charms of living the crazy life. Just a few months after the release of the original created by Robi Rosa, Desmond Child and Luis Gómez Escolar, the Japanese version came out in July. Given the somewhat lame title of "GOLDFINGER '99" (I think there's a certain 007 movie which gives part of the title more dignity), this was tackled by none other than Hiromi Go（郷ひろみ）. And who better to sing it than a former 70s aidoru-turned-middle aged dancing Lothario? Probably the only other two folks who I could have imagined tackling the song are Masahiko Kondo（近藤真彦）and Toshihiko Tahara（田原俊彦）.
Lyricist Chinfa Kan（康珍化）probably got a bonus for providing the Japanese words to "Livin' La Vida Loca", especially where Go sings "A Chi Chi A Chi". This was the singer's 76th single and as the title would indicate, it was gold for Go. I distinctly remember first hearing word about the arrival of "GOLDFINGER '99" on TV and kinda dropping my jaw at first, but then after thinking about it (after I wiped up the breakfast I spat up from the tatami), it did make a certain amount of sense in the matching. Go has done the Latin-flavoured songs before, he could pull off the dance moves and his voice, though a little higher and more nasal than Martin's, was close enough.
But as I said, this was gold for Go. Well, to be more accurate, "GOLDFINGER '99" went Platinum, won 3 awards including one Japan Record Award for performance, and it peaked at No. 13 on the Oricon weeklies. It ended up as the 71st-ranked song for 1999. Not surprisingly, it also got Go going onto the Kohaku Utagassen once more. And last but not least, it is the 3rd-most successful song in his career, following "Yoroshiku Aishuu"（よろしく哀愁）and "Aishuu no Casablanca"（哀愁のカサブランカ）.
Having said that and realizing that "Livin' La Vida Loca" was probably too gosh-darned confusing to render into a katakana title, I guess that "GOLDFINGER '99" was likely easier to handle. However, considering Martin's later and notorious comments about "golden showers" (please Google it), I can only go "Ewww" at the title at times.