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.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Juri Hamada/Mari Amachi/Hitomi Ishikawa -- Omoide no Serenade (想い出のセレナーデ)

Enjoying your Sunday, I hope. There's nothing like weather in Toronto...a mere few weeks ago, the forecasters were giving us heat warnings but there has just been a frost advisory issued for tonight! It will be a properly chilly Canadian Thanksgiving tomorrow. However, my family no longer does the turkey thing for Thanksgiving but since my darling niece's birthday is imminent, we will be having some Japanese fare outside tonight.

For this article, I have three aidorus from two eras performing one song. It was another happy happenstance that I was able to encounter "Omoide no Serenade" (Serenade of Reminiscences) on YouTube by aidoru Juri Hamada(浜田朱里)who had a relatively brief singing career at a little over 4 years in the early 80s before focusing more on acting for several more years.

I gotta say that I like the cover for Hamada's 7th single from February 1982. Nice lighting and that certain uncertain expression on her face which seemed to be one of a few default expressions used in photographing single covers. "Omoide no Serenade" was created by a couple of veterans, Michio Yamagami(山上路夫)for the lyrics and Koichi Morita(森田公一)for the melody.

The J-Wiki bio for the Tokyo-born Hamada, who made her debut in 1980, stated that she stood out for her unique and husky voice despite her cute aidoru looks although I don't think her vocals on "Omoide no Serenade" were particularly un-aidoru-like. Perhaps compared to teenyboppers like Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子)or Naoko Kawai(河合奈保子)but otherwise...

Melodically, the song has that arrangement by Kei Wakakusa(若草恵)which stamped a lot of aidoru ballads from that time: a lot of wistful strings and an overall feeling of meruhen or fantasy as if the singer was meant to be waltzing around in that huge ballroom of a palace somewhere in Lichtenstein. In terms of the lyrics, Hamada sings about remembering a romance which is now very much in the past although the heroine most likely harbours that torch for her old flame.

"Omoide no Serenade" turned out to be Hamada's most successful single, peaking at No. 51 on Oricon with around 43,000 records sold. In all, she released 4 original albums and 11 singles. Her hit single was placed onto her final album as the title track in 1983.

When Hamada first entered the scene in 1980, it had been reported that she had an aura similar to that of imminently retiring Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵)which had her staff grooming her to be the "Post-Momoe". Unfortunately, it didn't quite take although she came onto the scene alongside Naoko Kawai, Yoshie Kashiwabara(柏原芳恵), Yoshimi Iwasaki(岩崎良美)and Seiko Matsuda, the last one who became a close friend of Hamada. According to the J-Wiki article, Hamada herself even implied that she really didn't like singing all that much and preferred to head into the acting field. Still apparently, she has her own dedicated legion of fans. After getting married in 1995, she decided to retire from show business to start raising a family.

I found out a bit later that Hamada actually sang a cover of the original "Omoide no Serenade" by 1970s aidoru Mari Amachi(天地真理). Her 11th single from September 1974, it was interesting to compare the arrangements between Hamada's cover and Amachi's "Serenade". There are indeed those strings and that light touch in there but the arrangement by Koji Ryuzaki(竜崎孝路)included some hints of rollicking drums which brought a bit of that city and go-go boots feeling that I've often associated with 1970s kayo kyoku. Of course, there is Amachi's breathy high-tone voice that automatically brings up memories of my first ever trip to Japan in 1972.

"Omoide no Serenade" was Amachi's 11th and final Top 10 hit, getting as high as No. 8, selling 340,000 records. It was also the 41st-ranked single for 1974. The song also punched her ticket into the Kohaku Utagassen for the 3rd and final time in her career.

Several days ago, I noted through an article that 70s/80s aidoru Hitomi Ishikawa(石川ひとみ)had provided an audiotape in the year of her debut, 1978, which is most likely the rarest of the rare for kayo collectors. Titled "Kurumiwari Ningyo/Migimuke Migi=Watashi wa Hi-to-mi="(くるみ割り人形・右向け右 =わたしはひ・と・み=...The Nutcracker/Right-Turning Right=My Hi-to-mi=), the B-side has covers of a number of other songs including that of "Omoide no Serenade" arranged by Akio Araki(荒木圭男). Ishikawa's version sounds a bit more laid-back with her vocals also being high but perhaps a bit sharper for the lack of a better term.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.