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, September 7, 2016

Hiromi Iwasaki -- Duet(二重唱~デュエット)

Man, we broke some Olympian records in meteorology today. We had a Humidex of 43 degrees Celsius in Toronto...time to fry those eggs on the car hood! Plus, my friend and I lugged a bunch of computer parts from his neck of the woods back to my place to construct a second machine. I definitely think we earned multiple rounds of cola. We may be begging for fall weather by the weekend.

To the matter at hand, though. I've been the faithful fan of Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美)for the past few decades since I saw her for the first time on videotapes on shows like "The Best 10" from 1981 and I have been fortunate to hear the lady with the magnificent smile on episodes of "Sounds of Japan" during the 1980s on the radio. Then, my brother got me the single 45" of "Madonna Tachi no Lullaby"(聖母たちのララバイ)in 1982 followed by a couple of audiotapes from my mother a few years later of the singer.

One of those two tapes was a BEST compilation of Iwasaki in which Side A had most of her singles from the 1980s while Side B had a few more of those followed by her 70s singles going backwards to her very first single in 1975, "Duet". It was an interesting way to place the tracks since as I sat listening to her, her voice became higher and and more conventionally aidoru-like.

"Duet" was released in April 1975, and apparently the above video was filmed less than a month after the release...and in Hawaii, of all places. Man, some folks had all the luck! All of 16 years of age, she was, and yet she still looked pretty mature in that outfit. The song by Kyohei Tsutsumi and Yu Aku(筒美京平・ 阿久悠)had all that bouncy aidoru melody about a girl and a boy falling in L-O-V-E so it's definitely that tune that Iwasaki fans would love to hear just to remember how it all began for her.

Her first big single did modestly well by climbing as high as No. 19 on Oricon and then finishing the year as the 88th-ranked single. But of course, bigger and better things were well on the way for her starting with her 2nd single, "Romance"(ロマンス). There was even a catchphrase to sell "Duet" with: "Ten made hibike, Iwasaki Hiromi"(天まで響け 岩崎宏美....Echoing all the way to heaven, Hiromi Iwasaki). Yup, she did that alright.


  1. Duet is readily recognisable in clips with Hiromi holding out the microphone during that bass boom (there's a rare clip of her Symphony concert in 1980 where she's clearly performing this).

    Another interesting song is the b side to this, Tsukimisou. As late as the 1980 Hibiya Park concert, she was singing into a mic. However, perhaps encouraged by the 1980 recital concert and the end of Watashi Tachi, where it sounds like she leaves her mic and just belts it out with her backing singers, she started singing Tsukimisou in the 1982 recital concert without a mic. It probably killed her throat long term, but it's mighty impressive, and the kind of vocal ability Kyohei Tsutsumi was talking about.

    Hiromi at Hibiya Park in 1980, probably July or so. Tsukimisou is around 5:30 in. Note the mic.

    Hiromi in Full Circle in 1996. No mic.

    And since you talk of Hiromi's earlier years and higher voice, it's also interesting to see a 1976 clip with Hiromis Iwasaki and Ota, in combination with the Candies. The two Hiromis are around the same height. Forward to a 1994 clip of the two plus Minako Honda, and Honda and Iwasaki both tower over Ota. It's a reminder that, early on in Iwasaki's career, she was still growing up.

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  3. Here she is at the same venue, this time in 1979 and singing Haru Oboro. That unfortunate sign behind her makes her look like Minnie Mouse.

  4. Hello, Kenji and Anonymous. Good to hear from you both again.
    I never thought I would actually be discussing growth spurts with young Ms. Iwasaki but I'm just curious as to how tall she is.

    I listened to "Tsukimisou" which had me thinking about some of her earlier traditional folk songs. I think those especially showed her vocal talent. One episode on my old radio program "Sounds of Japan" focused on that part of Iwasaki's discography and I could imagine a lot of fans being moved to tears because of how she delivered those songs.

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    1. I can only imagine Ms. Ohta was probably around 150cm then.

  6. The lady with the magnificent smile circa 1981. Forward to around the 2 minute mark to see that smile.


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