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, April 26, 2017

Bread & Butter -- Tonight Aishite (トゥナイト愛して)

This is gonna be one of my more rambling articles in terms of traipsing the pop cultural spectrum, so hopefully you will bear with me.

("Eyewitness News" starts at about 1:18)

First off, I will begin with the fact that being a born-and-bred Torontonian, I not only had access to the local Toronto TV but also to the three major American affiliates across Lake Ontario in Buffalo, New York...and that was even before the advent of rudimentary cable TV!

I think some of the older readers of this blog who also hail from my area will probably swoon with nostalgia as they go down this paragraph, but as a kid, I remember watching the legendary anchorman Irv Weinstein helming the news broadcast of ABC's Buffalo affiliate, WKBW. Of course, it starts off with weatherman Tom Jolls saying, "It's 11 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?" before "Eyewitness News" starts off. And boy, I thought the theme song for that show was just the coolest thing! A timpani blasts out a chorus of voices and an orchestra into a theme that would inspire the most timid cub reporters into hitting the beat and stuffing their mikes into the face of the most feared gangster and demanding "OK, WHERE ARE THE BODIES BURIED?"

Well, a couple of years ago, I re-acquainted myself with that old theme and started digging on YouTube and elsewhere about its origins. And I found out that it was originally created by the late American composer Al Ham and titled "Move Closer To Your World". With that title, I would have expected some uplifting religious song played on Sundays instead of a kickass theme to a news broadcast, but I digress. Apparently, "Move Closer To Your World" was not only used in Buffalo but elsewhere across the United States, with Philadelphia being one of the key cities via one of the affiliates there.

Now, why am I using this Japanese music blog to wax nostalgic about an ancient TV news theme in America? Well, 1) in my old age, I like to wax nostalgic, and 2) I also like to segue from American pop culture to Japanese pop culture from time to time.

Therefore, to jump across the Pacific, when I was living in Japan, I did watch my fair share of the nightly news. NHK was one of the major stations for me along with TBS at 6pm since both networks had a simultaneous English track. But also when it was time to retire for the night, I would do some channel surfing and catch one of the late night news broadcasts. There was "NNN Kyo no Dekigoto"(NNNきょうの出来事...NNN's News of the Day)at around 10:55 or 11:00, and the above intro was what I was accustomed to...a nice technopoppy news-sounding theme before the cameras started showing the anchorperson on a set which looked remarkably like someone's really nice house.

What I hadn't known that for much of the 1980s, "NNN Kyo no Dekigoto" had a soothing theme song starting and ending its broadcasts. "Tonight Aishite" (Love Tonight) was performed by the folk/City Pop duo Bread & Butter(ブレッド&バター), and as one commenter on YouTube put it, after hearing some pretty depressing news on the broadcast, listening to this song brought about some reassuring balance.

Written by Akira Ohtsu(大津あきら)and composed by Shigeaki Saegusa(三枝成章), "Tonight Aishite" must have made for a relaxing lullaby. The theme was used between April 1980 and March 1988 with Bread & Butter releasing it as their 21st single in 1981. An instrumental version of it was used at the beginning of the news; according to J-Wiki, it was the fusion band Casiopea(カシオペア)that was responsible for that. The end of the show had either another instrumental version or the actual song playing in the background. The video below is of a 1983 broadcast of "Kyo no Dekigoto" with the theme song.

Perhaps it was the Japanese thing to have a nice urban contemporary ballad act as a melodic balm after all of the intensity of a late-night news broadcast. I'm reminded of another ending theme for a late-night show, "Aitai"(会いたい)by Chikaco Sawada(沢田知可子).

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