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 23, 2017

Machiko Watanabe -- Blue(ブルー)

I've always had a soft spot for some of the old kayo that would be perfect listening in a bar or snazzy nightclub. Mood Kayo is obviously one of the genres but there's also some of the Latin-flavoured numbers in New Music.

Welcome back to the blog, Machiko Watanabe(渡辺真知子)! It has been a few years since she was represented here and though I think I've already gotten her major hits on board, I'm pretty sure that there are also some numbers by her that are worthy of discovering.

Case in point is her 3rd single from August 1978 "Blue". I keep forgetting that despite her abilities as a singer, she is also a songwriter and she did create the words and music behind this sad ballad about falling for a guy who is still blue about breaking up with the lady who may still be his one and only true love.

"Blue" is a nice example of sophisticated pop, and although I'm not sure whether Watanabe had meant it to be a City Pop tune, I cannot imagine any other setting than a metropolis when I listen to this song. Mind you, "Blue" could make it at some sort of resort by the ocean. As I said at the top, it fits into that category of easy listening at a bar or lounge while nursing that drink although not while a romance is on the rocks.

According to the J-Wiki article about "Blue", Watanabe herself stated that it was the first song where she was given carte blanche to write it however she liked, and even the Queen of New Music herself, Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実), gave open praise to Watanabe and the song (this was through a 1982 interview in the journal "Shuukan FM" [週刊FM...Weekly FM]). Also, Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美)supposedly has covered it in one of her own albums although the article didn't mention which one.

However, I managed to find another fine singer in the atmospheric New Music tradition doing a lovely cover version of "Blue". I don't know whether Junko Yagami(八神純子)had ever recorded the song officially in one of her albums but perhaps the above video is of her doing a one-off performance at a concert (actually it's from a radio broadcast...check the comments below). Listening to it, Yagami does make it her own.

The original version by Watanabe hit it as high as No. 10 on Oricon, selling a little over 300,000 records. "Blue" is also present on her 2nd album "Fog Lamp"(フォグ・ランプ )from November 1978.


  1. A fantastic song. Knowing now that the singer wrote both the music and lyrics just makes it all the more impressive! And she kills it live, whether in recent videos or in the 70-80s.

    1. Hi, youngheartsparkfire.

      Yeah, I listened to it again after reading your comments. There is definitely something very appealing to songs like these with that certain arrangement.

  2. Have you watched this?

    Junko Yagami and Machiko Watanabe @ NHK FM '79

    I think that video you posted of Junko Yagami's blue wasn't recorded at concert but at a radio segment where they both cover each other's songs

    1. Hello, Midori.

      Point taken and thanks for letting me know.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.