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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Danny Iida and the Paradise Kings -- Bikini Style no Ojosan (ビキニスタイルのお嬢さん)

I'm gonna end up sounding like that ol' K-Tel record guy on TV but do you remember this oldie? Yep, this is "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" and it was one of those really ancient bubblegum pop novelty tunes from June 1960 that I would hear only on those K-Tel commercials and episodes of "Happy Days". That title line is the only line that I remember but I finally found out who recorded this. It was by a fellow named Brian Hyland and the record hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in the USA and did very well in other countries as well. The song with the very descriptive title was created by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss.

And last night, I was surprised to find out on "Uta Kon"(うたコン)that the Japanese had covered this one as well with their own lyrics. Titled slightly shorter as "Bikini Style no Ojosan" (The Bikini-Styled Young Miss), translator/lyricist Tokiko Iwatani(岩谷時子)provided the Japanese words to this song covered by the band Danny Iida and the Paradise Kings (ダニー飯田とパラダイス・キング) in October 1960.

Since the record was released in the pre-Oricon era, its measure of success was through the journal "Music Life" via its section on the songs that were selling the most in Tokyo. "Bikini Style no Ojosan" ranked 2nd in December 1960, just behind the No. 1 "Kanashiki Rokujuu Sai"(悲しき六十才...Sad at 60)which just happened to be another hit by the Kings. A month later, "Bikini Style no Ojosan" finally hit the top spot.

The main vocalist for the song was the late Susumu Ishikawa(石川進). As for the band itself, it started its history in 1955 when it was known as Danny Iida and the Paradise Harmony and mostly centered on Hawaiian music. The band took on its current name the following year and made its switch to rock n' roll in 1958. It also built on its reputation as a band that established the genre Yakushi Pops(訳詞ポップス)or Translated Pop and at around that time, a lot of the Japanese popular music consisted of Japanese-language covers of some of the big hits in the USA and the UK. What is also notable about the band is that it has had a lot of members come and go over the decades, but early on, the Kings had also included singers Hiroshi Mizuhara(水原弘)and even Kyu Sakamoto(坂本九)for a while. Danny Iida, by the way, was the band member on the steel guitar.

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