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, December 25, 2016

WHAM! -- Last Christmas

Strangely enough, this was going to be another Xmas song that I was planning to put up alongside Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" since like that tune, WHAM!'s "Last Christmas" beat Carey's classic by about a decade as a standard Yuletide tune in Japan.

Just within the last few hours, though, my planned article has now become a eulogy on hearing the news of George Michael's passing at the age of 53. My brother and I were talking about him over Xmas dinner tonight and although I knew that the man had his problems, I had no idea that he would leave this mortal coil so early.

"Last Christmas" was released all the way back in December 1984 as this amiable song with synths and jingle bells and Michael's soulful voice. I first heard it as a track on one of the two CDs that I have of the band, "Music From The Edge of Heaven", that came out in 1986. It automatically appealed to me but I didn't know that it also appealed to a great many people in Japan and Japanese pop culture, for that matter. I've seen it used as a background song for a fantasy movie starring Shizuka Kudo(工藤静香)and there's at least one cover of the song by a Japanese artist, Toko Furuuchi(古内東子).

On its release in Japan just a couple of weeks after its release on December 4th 1984, "Last Christmas" managed to peak at No. 12 on Oricon.

At this point, I'm pretty sure that the news has started to trickle out over in Japan and there will be some very shocked people that the golden voice behind this Xmas standard has been silenced permanently. And to think that Michael passed away right on Christmas Day has given "Last Christmas" a certain darker tinge.

2016 began with the deaths of Natalie Cole and David Bowie after which followed a veritable flood of music artists passing in an untimely manner. Now, it's George Michael and we still have a week left.

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