Well, consider my jaw thoroughly dropped when I discovered this one today. Veteran singer Masashi Sada（さだまさし）always evoked one image on hearing or seeing his name: tenderhearted folk ballads. Plus, there is that famous TV theme he whipped up.
But I found this song called "Nagasaki-City Serenade" which was his 22nd single from September 1982 and gave it a listen. I had been expecting a quiet folk number but instead, I got the full glory of City Pop and it didn't even involve Tokyo. In fact, Sada, who wrote and composed the song, implored folks who had gotten tired of the rat race in Japan's largest city to come back into the loving arms of Nagasaki in western Japan. When a song sounds this nice to me, who's to refuse?
Crazily enough, the J-Wiki article for the song categorized it as a folk tune. Perhaps it was just out of habit because it was Sada. However, the piece even mentioned that when Sada performed "Nagasaki-City Serenade" for the first time in July 1982 in Tokyo, the fans were shocked to hear their hero sing something so pop and bubbly (one would be forgiven if he assumed that Sada came out wearing a shiny gray blazer with skinny tie). And over the next number of weeks, it would get onto radio before the official release, plus the singer would perform it again at another concert.
"Nagasaki-City Serenade" just missed out on the Top 10 by peaking at No. 11. Interestingly enough, that famous TV theme I had pointed out at the top is the B-side. But the single didn't assign A-side/B-side. Instead, "Nagasaki-City Serenade" was deemed the South Side while that TV theme got the North Side.
Coincidentally, some of my translation work this week involved Nagasaki. And over a quarter-century ago, I did spend one night in the city and enjoyed my first taste of champon. But I hear that isn't the only distinctive cuisine available there.