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

The's -- Woo Hoo

By chance, does the above song sound familiar to you? If so, I'm not surprised. This is actually "Woo Hoo" by the American rockabilly group, The Rock-A-Teens. The tune by George Donald McGraw was released in 1959 got as high as No. 16 on Billboard and it turned out to be the band's only hit.

The original by The Rock-A-Teens may have sparked off some signs of familiarity but once you hear this version, then the memories should come flooding back in...especially if you are a Quentin Tarentino fan. Yup, that's right. "Woo Hoo" was covered by the Japanese rock trio, The's in "Kill Bill Vol. 1" back in 2003. And for me, next to Tomoyasu Hotei's(布袋寅泰)epic, "Battle Without Honor or Humanity", "Woo Hoo" is the most memorable example of music from the QT film, and it's hard to forget watching these women just jangling away at their instruments in the largest izakaya that I've ever seen. I don't think any of the izakaya in Toronto have ever been that larger-than-life....or dangerous.

I also have to say that the cover by The's has got quite a bit more energy than the original. It fairly bounces all over the place. Although their "Woo Hoo" made its premiere in the movie, it apparently got its release as a single in the following year, although it was also included in their 2003 album "Bomb the Rocks: Early Days Singles".

The's got their start in 1986 as a foursome: RONNIE“YOSHIKO”FUJIYAMA on vocals and guitar, SACHIKO on drums, RICO on guitar and YOSHIE on bass. Undergoing over a few lineup changes over the years, the current configuration is YOSHIKO, SACHIKO and OMO on bass. As of right now, the band has released 8 albums and 17 singles including "Woo Hoo".

I guess "Woo Hoo" did hit a few sympathetic nerve endings since it has also been used in a number of commercials including this one for Vonage.

"Woo Hoo" also reminded me of an old song that we had to practice ad nauseum in band class back in junior high school, "Trombone Boogie". I remember having to play it all the time at the school concerts with it now taking up permanent residence in my memories.


  1. Hi J-C ! Got their "'s Can't Help It" CD back in '92 (Kunokiniya, at Yaohan's in NJ - there was no internet then). What sucked me in was the cover illustration - we knew nothing else about them. Early 90's had some great "girls with guitars" - these ladies, Momoko Yoshino (Sunnychar/Automatics), Shonen Knife ..... a blowback against aidoru-ism ?

    1. Hi, T-cat.

      I remember Yaohan in New Jersey since my mother and her friends used to do trips down there semi-regularly for shopping.

      Y'know...I wouldn't be surprised if the's and some of the other bands, especially Shonen Knife, decided to push back against the aidoru phenomenon since they all started in the 1980s when it was in full swing. Also, I can think some of the other bands that found good success on Oricon such as Princess Princess and Lindberg.

  2. I didn't expect the's are going to be actually written here as they have never had a big hit in Japanese mainstreem music. But now I remember Mario Cuzic is actually from Toronto. Cuzic made a movie called "Garage Rockin" Crze" that was dedicated to Japanese garage punk scene

    Garage Rockin" Craze official website

    I think Cuzic is still in Japan.

    Anyway, I've been following the's for years. Their set typically was all English songs except "Gerupin Rock" (60s Group Sounds band Mustang cover) but in recent years the's did "Charumera Soba-ya" of Misora Hibari, Yukimura Izumi's version of "Great Balls of Fire" and "Mothla" of the Peanuts. Great selection and I was especially glad that they showed their respect to Yukimura Izumi.


    1. Hello, hanibo.

      Yeah, sometimes I like to feature some of the acts that actually became popular outside of Japan rather than inside the nation such as Shonen Knife and Frank Chickens. I'm even considering even writing an article about Afriampo.

      Izumi Yukimura seems to have gotten a good deal of love from various later sources. I remember an album "Super Generation" from 1974 in which her rendition of "Mune no Furiko" got the New Music treatment (

  3. Nah "Super Generation" album was done with young musicians at that time but that's not my favorite, and to be honest I don't like Yukimura's 70s-80s stuff very much. She had a semi-hit single called "Yakusoku (Promise)" that's a very serious song about a son who lost his father. She was trying something different at that time.

    After Misora Hibari's death, she started doing Hibari/Eri Chiemi covers as she was the last original 3-nin musume, and also she was playing US standards quite often at jazz club in Ginza. Her recordings sounds much more relaxed and comfortable after 90s as well. Her English is excellent and she knows American old songs more than anyone. You know usually Japanese jazz fans only knows "As Time Goes By" and "Tennesee Waltz" but Yukimura was really into jazz and she can sing hundreds of songs.

    I understand "Super Generation" got a good review at that time but I don't see she's fitting into it. She recorded Hattori Ryoichi again in mid 90s with Maeda Norio and that album "Seiki no Uta, Kokoro no Uta" sounds a lot better, and that one is easily in my top 5 Japanese cover album all the time.

    As I might have said before, I was lucky to get to several Yukimura shows in early 2000s and the best moment for me was she did Japanese oldies medleys and she did one chorus of "Tonko-bushi". That was very cute geisha song and Yukimura's nickname in Japan was Tonko.

    In Yukimura's case, what she wanted to do was American pop in pre-rocknroll era, such as Jo Stafford, Dinah Shore, Doris Day or Patti Page. No Japanese singer could do it better than Yukimura, believe me, if you are curious, try Yukimura's Perry Como cover of "Don't Let The Stars Getting Into Your Eyes". Music changed a lot faster in those times than now. Rocknroll came out and she gotta do Jerry Lee Lewis (that song's covered) then Group Sounds, folk, 80s New Music and such. To me, it's a bit unfortunate that she is known just for being one of 3 nin musume. She had amazing talent, but she couldn't get many hits here.

    - Hanibo


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