I basically had the same reaction as some of the tarento present on the show clip in the video above. It seems as if the bulletin came out either a little more than half an hour or 12 hours after his passing at 11:53 pm JST on May 16th.
I found out about the death of 1970s aidoru Hideki Saijo（西城秀樹）earlier this morning on NHK's "News Watch 9" when it came out as the second headline. My reaction was "Whoa!". For the past number of years, I knew that Saijo hadn't been in peak health since his mild stroke over a decade ago but it was still a shock to hear that he had actually died from acute heart failure at the age of 63.
Saijo was one of the three male singing idols in the 1970s that were collectively named the Shin-Gosanke（新御三家...The New Big Three）as the apparent heirs to the original Gosanke from the 1960s. It would be decades before I had been aware of this grouping of Saijo, Hiromi Go（郷ひろみ）and Goro Noguchi（野口五郎）, but of the three, Saijo was the one that I first knew about as a boy since his long-haired and smiling figure in the 70s cool clothing (including bell-bottoms) was plastered all over the pages of those kiddy manga that my parents used to buy me at the old Furuya Japanese food store in Chinatown. Go and Noguchi were fellows that I only got to know from the 1980s, thanks to the Kohaku broadcasts that began in Toronto from 1981.
His presence was even felt in the anime world, specifically "Chibi Maruko-chan"（ちびまる子ちゃん）. The show took place in the 1970s so the Sakura sisters were depicted as having their own favourite singers. Older sister Sakiko was always in thrall to the charms of her Hideki. As it turned out, the singer even provided the second ending theme to the long-running series, "Hashire Shoujiki Mono"（走れ正直者）in the early 1990s.
To give my humble tribute to Saijo, I've decided to feature his debut song "Koi suru Kisetsu" (Season To Fall In Love) which came out in March 1972. I've found that whenever I listen to the first single of any veteran singer, I always peg his/her delivery as the prototype version of the familiar vocals, and Saijo's first single is no different. His voice was a shade higher, perhaps a bit rawer but I could still recognize it as Hideki's.
Kyohei Tsutsumi（筒美京平）composed the brass-and-strings song which seems to herald the arrival of a brash young man into the big city. He's coming into Tokyo to conquer it and not the other way around. Well, perhaps conquer is too strong a word but he's there to make his mark with a smile. According to the J-Wiki article for "Koi suru Kisetsu", the catchphrase for Saijo was "The Wild 17-Year-Old"（ワイルドな17歳）. Takashi Taka（たかたかし）provided the lyrics under one of his other pen names, Takashi Aso（麻生たかし）.
"Koi suru Kisetsu" peaked at No. 42 on Oricon, and it was also a track on his debut album "Wild na Juu-Nana Sai/Saijo Hideki"（ワイルドな17歳/西城秀樹）from November 1972.
Over the course of this blog, there have been a few singers and songwriters who have left this mortal coil over the years, but there is a certain enhanced poignancy with Saijo's passing since his face was one that I knew since early childhood. And along with Pink Lady and Momoe Yamaguchi（山口百恵）, Hideki Saijo was, to me at least, one of those pop culture figures that best represented the 1970s in Japan. I am absolutely certain that the next few days on the various wide shows will devote some of their programming to him, but here's hoping that come this weekend, some of the customers at the many branches of Big Echo and Karaoke Kan will give some tribute by engaging in a round of "Young Man"（ヤングマン）.