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, April 7, 2016

Miki Fujimura -- Yume Koibito (夢・恋・人。)

I will warn you...this will be one of the more unusual segues I will use to introduce a Japanese pop song, but one of my family's old traditions during Xmas was to watch the movie "White Christmas" with Bing, Danny, Rosemary and Vera (I know them so well now that I am going on a first name basis). Of course, being a musical, the old 1954 flick was chock-filled with Irving Berlin songs. One of the minor ones was "What Can You Do With A General?" which was Bob Wallace's (Bing's character) musical call out to his old band of brothers to help out their beloved commanding officer who was feeling rather old and unappreciated.

Well, that was what I was thinking when the idea for this particular article came up.

However, instead of "General", I replaced one word and came up with the hypothetical question "What Can You Do With A Candy?" The early part of the 1970s had the listening public falling in love with the singing trio Candies(キャンディーズ)until Miki, Su and Ran decided to call it (most of) a decade and broke up in 1978. I'm not sure what happened immediately to the ladies once Candies became a part of kayo kyoku history but Ran Ito(伊藤蘭)and the late Yoshiko (Su) Tanaka(田中好子)eventually shifted into the acting world. But what of Miki Fujimura(藤村美樹)? In the Flickr photo above, Ms. Fujimura is the Candy on the left. Of course, I saw all of the Candies as being fairly down-to-earth folks (well, as much as aidoru could be in that decade) but Miki always struck me as the most level-headed one.

Perhaps one of those reasons was how much she had a glancing resemblance (demeanor and looks) to American actress Kate Jackson who had become famous for portraying Sabrina, a character on an ABC show showcasing another popular trio, "Charlie's Angels" at around the same time. But once the Candies sang their last concert, that was it for my knowledge of Miki-chan.

Well, that was because Fujimura hung up her microphone for good and became a regular civilian. She beat solo aidoru Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵)by a couple of years. However, unlike Momoe-chan, Fujimura actually came back, albeit very briefly. She was enticed back to the recording studio to make her first and only solo single, "Yume Koibito" (Dream Lover) for release in February 1983. I didn't know about this until I was back here in Toronto for good when I found the above video on YouTube, and man, may I say that was quite the different look for the lass, knowing full well it was 5 years since the breakup. I've always seen her in that Dorothy Hamill (for you younger folk, Google it) bob.

"Yume Koibito" didn't exactly break the techno kayo mold but I'm sure it was interesting for Candies fans to see and hear Fujimura's vocals without any other voices coming in sing this fairly dramatic nighttime technopop tune. Written by prolific Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)and composed by YMO's Haruomi Hosono(細野晴臣), I read a comment from someone on YouTube mentioning how similar it sounded to Akina Nakamori's(中森明菜)"Kinku" (禁区...the very first Akina tune I ever listened to), and unsurprisingly, that hit was also composed by Hosono for release several months after "Yume Koibito".

Did I like it? Yep, it is pretty catchy for me, and the arrangements sounded like something that Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)would have tackled at the time. The song got as high as No. 13 on Oricon although the video above probably was from "The Best 10" which pegged it at No. 10 for that show. It sold about 160,000 records.

As I said, Fujimura's comeback was very short. In fact, I would probably say it was more of a peekback. However, wedding bells came ringing and she retired for good this time. Speaking of that video above, I couldn't quite believe it but it seems as if "The Best 10" actually had the cojones to ask Fujimura to perform "Yume Koibito" at her own wedding! I'm not sure how the families for the bride and groom reacted to that. And did the Fuji-TV crew get to dig into the reception meal?

In any case, Fujimura wasn't the first member of an ex-powerhouse aidoru unit from the 1970s to make it solo. A certain Pink Lady beat her to the punch by a couple of years.

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