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, October 26, 2016

Jun Mayuzumi/Mi-Ke/Yo Hitoto -- Tenshi no Yuwaku (天使の誘惑)

Caught the latest episode of "Uta Kon"(うたコン)last night. Apparently the show was giving tribute to the current NHK morning serial drama "Beppin-san"(べっぴんさん), and even the star, actress Kyoko Yoshine(芳根京子)was on hand with part of the hosting duties.

One of the songs that was performed was "Tenshi no Yuwaku" (Angel's Temptation) which had all the cheeriness of a picnic on a Sunday. The original song was sung by singer-actress Jun Mayuzumi(黛ジュン), just shy of her 20th birthday. With the Hawaiian Mood Kayo arrangement and the lyrics by Rei Nakanishi(なかにし礼)weeping about the guy who got away, you would think that this should have been a depressing ballad, worthy of a glass of sake or two. However, this is probably the happiest major-chord Mood Kayo I've ever heard. Even Mayuzumi above was doing some go-go in the performance. I would be forgiven if I assumed that she actually got the boyfriend.

Mayuzumi was born Junko Watanabe(渡辺順子)in May 1948 in Tokyo's Chofu City. She had actually debuted as a teenager in 1964 under her real name but only 3 singles came out of the deal including the first single which was most likely the cover version of Wayne Newton's "Danke Schoen". However, following a move to another talent agency, she made another debut under her stage name of Jun Mayuzumi in 1967 with "Koi no Hallelujah"(恋のハレルヤ...Hallelujah of Love).

"Tenshi no Yuwaku" was her 4th single released in May 1968. Getting back onto that horse again worked this time since during the 2 years of 1967 and 1968, Mayuzumi managed to sell 5 million records with the singles that came out. "Tenshi no Yuwaku" was one of those hits which featured her image of being in a mini-skirt coming out with those lower and bright vocals. The song peaked at No. 3 on the then-new Oricon and won her a Japan Record Prize. The above video is from the televised ceremonies of that event. It eventually became the 18th-ranked song of the year.

Of course, the Kohaku Utagassen came calling. But her performance of "Tenshi no Yuwaku" was actually her 2nd appearance on the NHK New Year's Eve special. She had actually gone on the show the year before and would appear 2 more times in the next couple of years.

"Tenshi no Yuwaku" would be covered by a number of artists over the decades including the group Mi-Ke for their 2nd album "Natsukashi no Blue Light Yokohama Yokosuka"(懐かしのブルーライトヨコハマヨコスカ...Nostalgic Blue Light Yokohama Yokosuka)from December 1991 which got as high as No. 15 on the charts. As was usually the case with this trio, the arrangements for the original music by Kunihiko Suzuki(鈴木邦彦)mixed in the nostalgia with the contemporary synths. The new version may have had more energy but the delivery above by the ladies sounded more languid.

Then in 2012, Yo Hitoto(一青窈)gave her own interpretation of the song via her album of covers "Kayo Kyoku"(歌窈曲). This take is interesting as performed in the video above since it has an arrangement reminiscent of all those TUBE tunes by Tetsuro Oda(織田哲郎).

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