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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Yuzo Kayama -- Yoru no Taiyo(夜の太陽)

One person that I had wanted to include on my recent list of favourite summer Japanese pop tunes was the Wakadaisho(若大将)himself, Yuzo Kayama(加山雄三). However, I found out that the song that I wanted to include hadn't even been covered yet. And regrettably, I forgot what the title was. Well, it'll come to me eventually.

In any case, I've decided to go back to the very beginnings of Kayama's long career, and so I ended up in July 1961 when his debut single "Yoru no Taiyo" (Night Sun) was released. It was one of the songs included in the first of the "Wakadaisho" movie series, "Daigaku no Wakadaisho"(大学の若大将). It's been translated as "Sir Galahad in Campus" although I prefer the more conventional "Big Man on Campus". Of course, Kayama stars as the Big Man himself and the heartthrob ace swimmer.

With lyrics by Kyouji Mita(三田恭次)and music by Hachidai Nakamura(中村八大), "Yoru no Taiyo" breaks out of the starting gate with a brassy blast, and the beat takes on that jazzy Latin kayo style which was pretty popular at the time, dodonpa(ドドンパ). The term is even included in Mita's lyrics. Although I don't think the song was the theme for the movie, it certainly could sum up some of the Big Man's confidence and swagger as he paints the town red at night. However, although I've only seen a few scenes from some of the movies, my impression is that the Wakadaisho was always a good kid and probably retired from his activities early. Maybe he even drank a glass of milk before hitting the sack.

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