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, November 2, 2016

Betsy & Chris/W -- Shiroi Iro wa Koibito no Iro (白い色は恋人の色)

Into November we are. A good chunk of those maple leaves have fallen as well as the temperatures although we are quite a bit above seasonal with a high of 17 degrees C today. Considering that things are feeling nicely autumnal, perhaps something mellow would be nice to start the November 2016 edition of "Kayo Kyoku Plus".

Some late 60s/70s folk sounds about right. So, here are Betsy & Chris (ベッツィ&クリス) with their debut single "Shiroi Iro wa Koibito no Iro" (White is the Colour of Lovers). As much as the fact that American-born singers like Hikaru Utada(宇多田ひかる)and Jero (ジェロ) have made their mark in Japan applies, they aren't the first folks from the USA to do so. I don't know who the first American was to have a hit original song in Japan but in 1969, a couple of members from the Sounds of Young Hawaii were scouted out when they came to the country on tour and were given the opportunity to release a song as a duo.

Betsy & Chris are Elizabeth Virginia Wagner from Hawaii and Christine Anne Rolseth from Idaho who were born within a few months of each other in 1952. Their "Shiroi Iro wa Koibito no Iro" was written and composed by two members of The Folk Crusaders, Kazuhiko Kato and Osamu Kitayama(加藤和彦・北山修)as this calming folk song with a lovely harmony between the two singers.

Released in October 1969, the song hit No. 2 on Oricon and became the 11th-ranked single for 1970. Although Betsy & Chris broke up in 1973 after 13 singles and several albums, their first single was their biggest hit which has been covered by a number of singers over the decades.

One such unit was W with Ai Kago and Nozomi Tsuji(加護亜依・辻希美)from Morning Musume(モーニング娘。). Their version came out in 2004 as a part of their album "Duo U&U"(デュオU&U).

While Chris later became a music teacher in Hawaii, Betsy returned to her singing career after many years also in the Aloha State. In fact, about a decade ago, she and her daughter Emma joined up to sing the song again on the 2006 edition of NHK's summer "Omoide no Melody"(思い出のメロディー).

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