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, July 5, 2017

Masahiko Kondo -- Yokohama Cheek (ヨコハマ・チーク)

The Johnny's group Arashi(嵐)has been occupying several lots of the annual Oricon real estate over the years. However, the guys there are obviously not the first Johnny's representatives to load a number of their hits on the Oricon charts. I'm sure the recently departed SMAP also achieved the feat, and a fellow from way back did very well in 1981.

Although Masahiko "Matchy" Kondo(近藤真彦)had just the one song on the Top 10 Single chart for 1981, "Sneaker Blues"(スニーカーぶるーす), I found out that he owned a bit more real estate into the teens and just lipping into the 20s: "Blue Jeans Memory"(ブルー・ジーンズ・メモリー)at No. 11 and "Gingiragin ni Sarigenaku"(ギンギラギンにさりげなく)at No. 21.

Right at No. 20 was "Yokohama Cheek", Matchy's 2nd single from March 1981, sandwiched between his debut of "Sneaker Blues" and "Blue Jeans Memory". At first, I wasn't quite sure about how to romanize that title. Was that second word "-tique" as in the suffix or was it indeed "cheek"? But on looking at the lyrics by Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆), I realized that Matchy was inviting a lucky girl to have the time of her life in Yokohama, and that included a nice intimate slow dance...or as they would say in Japanese, a cheek dance (as in dancing cheek-to-cheek).

The music by Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平)is nostalgically Matchy-esque with the dollops of 50s-style rock n' roll. I mean, I couldn't really imagine him doing something like City Pop or enka. It's all high-kicking energy and wailing electric guitars.

"Yokohama Cheek" peaked at No. 2 and the article for it on J-Wiki intimated that it could have hit the top spot like its predecessor, "Sneaker Blues", if it weren't for the fact that Akira Terao's(寺尾聡)"Ruby no Yubiwa"(ルビーの指輪)was such a huge hit that year. Still, I don't anyone connected with Matchy or Matchy himself really didn't complain too much. It was still quite the banner year for one-third of the Tanokin Trio.

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