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.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

class -- Natsu no Hi no 1993 (夏の日の1993)

Ah, this was a song that rather slipped in between the cracks of my memory. And yet I do remember the certain lines in "Natsu no Hi no 1993" (Summer Days of 1993) where the duo known as class wavered their voices such as "Dramatic ni Say Love". Plus, as I recall, it was a popular tune for some of those tarento to try out during those televised karaoke specials.

Since I was between my Gunma and Tokyo gigs back in Toronto during the early 1990s, I rather missed out on the male pop-rock bands that proliferated during those years before the Tetsuya Komuro(小室哲哉)dance music craze took full flight in J-Pop. class was one of those bands along with acts such as Mr. Children, Wands and ZYYG that in a way kinda extrapolated with the summer music that started with Southern All Stars and then TUBE in the 1980s. This duo consisted of Katsuyuki Tsukui(津久井克行)from Gunma Prefecture and Takanori Hiura(日浦孝則)who hails from Hiroshima Prefecture.

So I guess it's natural enough that class hit a home run right from its debut single, "Natsu no Hi no 1993" (the year is actually pronounced "nineteen-nine-three" in the song). Although Ken Sato's(佐藤健)melody has that proud anthem feeling, Ikki Matsumoto's(松本一起)lyrics are all about admiring the women in their summer finery during those hot days in that titular year. And yet although the song was actually released in April 1993, a few months before the season, it already had that nostalgic feeling baked right in there.

The song was also used as the theme for the TV Asahi drama "Kimi to Itsumade mo"(君といつまでも...Always With You)and as the commercial campaign song for the Saison credit card, so it got plenty of exposure which earned it a lot of requests on yuusen radio(有線ラジオ...cable radio). "Natsu no Hi no 1993" peaked at No. 3 on Oricon and sold close to 1.2 million copies according to that chart although J-Wiki also mentions that it may have even exceeded 1.7 million. For all that, it still didn't crack the year's Top 10, settling in at No. 15.

The above video has Tsukui performing class' most successful song for one of the last times in July 2009. A few short months later, he would pass away tragically from pancreatic cancer just a week short of his 50th birthday. The duo had its first run between 1993 and 1996 releasing 7 singles. class got together again from 2003 to 2009 although original member Hiura apparently didn't stay beyond 2004 possibly, replaced by Koso Okazaki(岡崎公聡). Their second run produced a couple of more singles, the first being an updated version of "Natsu no Hi no 1993". Also a total of 6 original albums were produced.

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