Credits

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.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Hachimitsu Pie -- Hei no Ue de (塀の上で)


I actually found out about this band through a YouTube video several months ago, but only decided to feature one of their songs just now. Glad I did bookmark it since the song in question has begun to grow in appeal.


The rock band Hachimitsu Pie(はちみつぱい)had its initial run between 1971 and 1974, and according to its J-Wiki article, it's alongside Happy End(はっぴいえんど)as one of the pioneers of Japanese rock music. In 1970, musician Keiichi Suzuki(鈴木慶一), folk-rock singer-songwriter Morio Agata(あがた森魚)and a few others formed the group Agata Seishin Byouin(あがた精神病院...Agata Mental Hospital)which became the backup band for Agata. Agata then changed its name to Hachimitsu Pie based on a Beatles' song, "Honey Pie" which is the direct English translation for hachimitsu pie. Hachimitsu Pie would do the performing circuit around various live houses.

The following year, Hachimitsu Pie decided to make a go of it alone (hopefully with Agata's blessing), and until their breakup in 1974, released just one single and one studio album in their initial run, although they did release four live albums many many years later. That one studio album turned out to be "Sentimental Douri"(センチメンタル通り...Sentimental Street)from October 1973, and the opening track was "Hei no Ue de" (On Top of the Wall).


"Hei no Ue de" was written and composed by vocalist Suzuki, and it's an atmospheric and introspective elegy of sorts about a fellow who's about to fly off to London from Tokyo to be with his new wife...most likely permanently as he's saying goodbye to his old life while it's raining cats and dogs outside. The song has that hang-dog folk-rock vibe that I haven't heard too much in my musical journey via this blog so it's quite intriguing and soothing to listen to.

One commenter on YouTube even quipped whether there was some Neil Young influence, and I have to say that, yep, there might be some of that feeling from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I can say that the music is folk-rock but even more than that, it's quite New Music. Nothing about that melody strikes me as being Japanese; it sounds as if it could have come straight from the United States.

Due to the usual creative differences, Hachimitsu Pie called it a day by the end of 1974. As a result, Suzuki, fiddler Masahiro Takekawa(武川雅寛), drummer Tetsuro Kashibuchi(かしぶち哲郎), keyboardist Tohru Okada(岡田徹), and guitarist Kazuo Shiina(椎名和夫)later formed Moonriders(ムーンライダーズ). Contributor nikala has already provided one article on a Moonriders' song.

There was a reunion of sorts in 1988 and then since 2015, it looks like Hachimitsu Pie has been performing once more.

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