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, July 21, 2018

Sheena & The Rokkets -- Namida no Highway(涙のハイウェイ)

It's been over 3 years since the untimely passing of Etsuko "Sheena" Ayukawa(鮎川 シーナ 悦子)from Sheena & The Rokkets(シーナ&ザ・ロケッツ)so I wanted to explore some more of the band's work. And so I went to the very beginning. Their debut single in October 1978 was "Namida no Highway" (Highway of Tears) which was written by Kotaro Aso(麻生香太郎)and Sheena and composed by band guitarist Makoto Ayukawa(鮎川誠), Sheena's husband. The lyrics are about someone trying to flee from someone or a relationship gone sour as quickly as she can.

Looking at the title for the first time, I thought "Namida no Highway" sounded atypically kayo-esque for an identifier for a rock song. J-Wiki pegged it as a song with New Wave, punk and 60s pop elements. I also saw it as a tune that could have launched a thousand ideas for inspired younger folk wanting to create their own bands. Lindberg was the first one on my mind followed by other acts such as Princess Princess. When I think of the late 1970s in Japanese pop music, I usually think of enka and aidoru sharing the TV stage and Oricon charts while New Music/City Pop/Folk were genres streaming nicely underwater, but Ramones-style rock wasn't something that I would have heard much about in those times, unless I were frequenting the live houses.

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