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.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Kimiko Kasai with Herbie Hancock -- I Thought It Was You

For a lot of us growing up in the 1980s, the golden age of music videos, when the name Herbie Hancock is mentioned, we will all think of "Rockit", the huge techno-funky hit from 1983. As well, that video with the mannequins and the strutting pants is a one-of-a-kind although seeing the Grammy performance is no longer quite as amazing as I remembered it.

Well, last night, commenter Gen Kanai was kind enough to send me a message giving a tip on a song on chanteuse Kimiko Kasai's(笠井紀美子)1979 album "Butterfly", her collaboration with Hancock. Supposedly, according to an article on the website "Who Sampled", a number of songs on that particular release have been sampled by various hip-hop artists over the years.

One of the tracks is "I Thought It Was You", a 7-minute-plus number that is a cover of Hancock's original from his 1978 jazz-funk fest "Sunlight". The Kasai cover, of course, has her sweet and lovely voice compared to Hancock's vocoder vocals in the original. To be honest, and I'm going with Gen on this, I prefer Kasai's sweet-&-lovely. Still, Hancock's vocoder still makes a guest appearance during a give-and-take with Kasai's scatting.

It's quite the jam as "I Thought It Was You" morphs from a smooth fusion love song into a fun and funky festival and back again. According to Chris Read who wrote the article on "Who Sampled", copies of the LP are hard to track down but I did find a low-priced CD reissue of "Butterfly" up at CD Japan for a thousand yen.

Years after first hearing "Rockit" but of course years before being told about "I Thought It Was You", when I was still living in Japan, I realized how much the Japanese just loved the genre of AOR to death on both sides of the Pacific. I even ended up buying a few AOR compilations myself, and on one of them was a track by Hancock called "Paradise" which was originally on his 1982 album "Lite Me Up", a year before "Rockit", and is about as different in tone from that 1983 hit. Never would have thought the fellow as an light-and-mellow crooner but there we are. Of course, the songwriting team behind "Paradise" consisted of the masters of the genre, David Foster, Bill Champlin and Jay Graydon along with Hancock.


  1. Ah, Kimiko Kasai! I remember in my never-ending search for things Japanese 70s I discovered her on Youtube and was smitten.

    I stated earlier that my parents were big jazz fans and this definitely brought all the childhood nostalgia back.

    Great album actually and hits all the right spots with me.

    1. Good morning, Chasing Showa.

      Yep, Kasai is another one of those underrated gems but happily she seems to be getting re-discovered.


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