Tonight's "Uta Kon"（うたコン）had the well-deserved tribute to the late singer-songwriter Masaaki Hirao（平尾昌晃）as the episode's theme. And so a number of the veterans showed up to sing the Hirao-penned songs that became hits for them. Hiroshi Itsuki（五木ひろし）started things off with a misty-eyed performance of "Yokohama Tasogare"（よこはま・たそがれ）, Rumiko Koyanagi（小柳ルミ子）sang the wistful "Seto no Hanayome"（瀬戸の花嫁）, and as the second-last tribute number, Yoko Hatanaka（畑中葉子）performed "Canada kara no Tegami"（カナダからの手紙）, her duet with Hirao via some old video footage.
But then the last number in the tribute came from Hirao's old friend and comrade-in-arms, fellow rockabilly singer Mickey Curtis（ミッキー・カーチス）. To be honest, when I saw him sitting with the hosts and the rest of the singers tonight, I was a bit nervous about whether he would be up for the performance considering how wizened and hunched over he looked. However, his jazzy cover of Hirao's "Koi no Katamichi Kippu" (One-Way Ticket of Love) was something he pulled off with aplomb, even finishing things with him on the harmonica.
Yep, "Koi no Katamichi Kippu" was one of Hirao's singles during his time as a rockabilly star. It came out in 1960 with Takashi Otowa（音羽たかし）providing the Japanese lyrics.
And yep, I did mention Japanese lyrics since "Koi no Katamichi Kippu" was actually the Japanese cover for a Neil Sedaka B-side to his 1959 single "Oh! Carol". The song was titled "One-Way Ticket (To The Blues)" with Jack Keller and Hank Hunter as the original songwriters. According to the Wikipedia article for the song, Hirao's cover went up to No. 1 on the Japanese pop charts although Oricon was several years away from launching.
I've gotta say that Hirao does a fine job with "Koi no Katamichi Kippu"; I'd say that for me, it's his best cover of an American song that I've found while doing the blog.
I also found this footage of Hirao performing the song in some movie which actually has him dealing with a rather deranged critic. Mind you, the only casualty here was the raspberry that provided the "blood".