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.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Kingtones/Tatsuro Yamashita -- Kemuri ga Me ni Shimiru (煙が目にしみる)

Met up with the movie group today to catch "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" downtown. I never got around to see the original movie from 2014 which I regret although I gave the Blu-Ray of it to my brother for his birthday a couple of years ago. I had a hoot with it and it was actually nice to see Mark Strong play a truly decent character for a change. Plus, there was Jeff Bridges playing his usual good ol' country boy character that he can probably do in his sleep nowadays. However, from what I've heard from my friends is that the original "Kingsman" was the better movie. For those folks reading this in Japan, I hate to say it but you'll have to wait until early next year to catch the sequel.

So, to start off October, I decided to try a Kingtones(ザ・キング・トーンズ)song. Now, the most famous song by them is "Good Night, Baby" which I had assumed was a cover of an original American tune because of the doo-wop nature but was actually a Japanese original.

This time, though, and I admit I'm being a bit cheeky with the title above since as soon as readers of a certain age listen to the performance above, you'll recognize "Kemuri ga Me ni Shimiru" as "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" which had its origins as an American standard number from 1933 written by Otto Harbach and composed by Jerome Kern.

However, the most popular version and my favourite version is the one done by The Platters in 1958 which can still get me a little giddy after so many years. By the way, the Kingtones' cover was placed in their 2nd album, "Ai no Nocturne/The Kingtones"(愛のノクターン / ザ・キング・トーンズ...Nocturne of Love)from September 1969.

Then, there is Tatsuro Yamashita's(山下達郎)marvelous take on the song which is just given the original English title. This was a tune that popped up on his Xmas album, "Season's Greetings" from 1993, and the arrangement here would probably have Nelson Riddle clapping appreciatively. It's one of the reasons that I like playing the album over the Holidays.


  1. Good evening J-C: "Goodnight Baby" was the final song played at our wedding banquet many years ago :) The Kingtones aren't a great Japanese doo-wop group: they are a great doo-wop group that happens to be Japanese; no asterisk necessary. They can SING and the arrangements are true to the style. There's a picture online of Tony Williams and the group, from 1962. I wonder what he thought hearing the "Sky Tenor" ! I like this version better than the original as I always felt Tony Williams overpowered his group, backing, the song itself - too strong a voice. Thank you; there's a lot of good J-wop to find in the Kingtones-Eiichi Ohtaki-Tatsura Yamashita nexus.

    1. Good evening, T-cat! What a great way to finish off a memorable evening and party. Quite classy to play "Goodnight Baby" on such an auspicious occasion.


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