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.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Masatoshi Ono -- You're The Only...

Getting back to Japan in late 1991 from the JET Programme, I had brought back a good ton of CDs after 2 years' worth of purchases. However aside from a few mail-order forays via "Eye-Ai" in the next year, I didn't pay too much attention about what was happening in the J-Pop world for several months. Perhaps I was just settling back into Canadian life and getting busy thinking about what to do in terms of education (I ended up taking a year of Linguistics at U of T).

However, through video tapes I rented out again and received from my fellow JET buddy who decided to stay for another year in Gunma Prefecture, I did hear about some of these other singers and bands who started making it big such as Mi-Ke and Zoo. Plus there was this one leather-lunged fellow by the name of Masatoshi Ono(小野正利)who had a huge hit called "You're The Only..."

Ono was born in Tokyo in 1967 but was raised across the border in Saitama Prefecture. He had been aiming to become a teacher in social studies but then fell into music by joining a heavy metal band called Fort Bragg during the 1980s. Considering that he reportedly has a 3 to 4-octave vocal range, that would be no surprise.

But then in May 1992, he had his solo debut with "Pure ni Nare"(ピュアになれ...Be Pure)but his breakthrough moment came with his 3rd single "You're The Only..." later in August. Rather reminiscent of an X Japan ballad, Ono's mix of soft & raspy and high & booming caught the public's attention. What also helped was that it was used as the theme song for a Fuji-TV drama that had been inspired by the top-grossing 1990 film "Ghost" starring the late Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.

The drama was "Kimi no Tame ni Dekirukoto"(君のためにできること...Anything For You)starring Eisaku Yoshida and Yuriko Ishida. If I'm not mistaken, Yoshida's character is killed in a car accident rather than fall to foul play as Swayze's character did in "Ghost". Still the story remains the same right down to the final Kleenex-worthy scene.

Now, pair Ono's heartfelt love song with this scene and let us see how long you can last without dabbing your eyes. "You're The Only..." which was written by Ono and composed by Yoshihide Tsuge(柘植由秀)hit all the way up to No. 2 and sold over a million copies to become his biggest hit. The singer earned a Newcomer's Prize at the Japan Record Awards and got his invitation to the 1992 Kohaku Utagassen. It was the 14th-ranked single of the year. And it is included on his debut album, "Voice of Heart" which came out in September of that year.

Up to 2014, Ono has released 22 singles and 8 albums. Currently along with his singing career, he is also working as a teacher at the vocal school Bese, so his education did come back to serve him after all.

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