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, November 24, 2018

L⇔R -- Knockin' On Your Door

Toronto Buddhist Church

I remember seeing the video for "Knockin' On Your Door" countless times on shows such as "Music Station" and "Countdown TV"; it was quite the longtime resident on the singles charts but at the time, I had never really gotten into the song or the band that was performing it, L⇔R. First off, my big question was how to pronounce that name. As it turned out, it was just a simple "L, R"; apparently, the double-headed arrow was silent.

At this time in the mid-1990s, guitar-based pop-rock bands seemed to be all the rage in Japan, so I've placed L⇔R in the same company as groups such as Mr. Children and Spitz, and listening to "Knockin' On Your Door" again after so many years, which was their 7th single from May 1995, I got a hint that there was a bit of that Beatles influence. Plus, seeing the video again has brought in some nostalgia, to boot. I will never enter an old building again without thinking of that video although I think I will be able to refrain from knocking on one of the doors.

"Knockin' On Your Door" is an uptempo romantic serenade for that special woman, and it also acted as the theme song for the Fuji-TV comedy-drama "Bokura ni Ai wo!"(僕らに愛を!...Give Us Love!). Written and composed by vocalist/guitarist Kenichi Kurosawa(黒沢健一), it became the band's biggest hit by going all the way to No. 1, becoming a million-seller, and ending up as the 16th-ranked single for 1995.

As for L⇔R, it had a 7-year run between 1990 and 1997 with 13 singles and 7 albums under its belt. Joining Kurosawa was his younger brother Hideki(黒沢秀樹)and then bassist Hiroharu Kinoshita(木下裕晴). A former member who had left several months before "Knockin' On Your Door" was Takako Minekawa(嶺川貴子)as the keyboardist.

One thing that I had been curious about was how the band got its unique name. From an interview on the music show "HEY!HEY!HEY!MUSIC CHAMP" via the J-Wiki article on the band, when L⇔R was coalescing, all of the members and a producer agreed that the name should be something resembling a signal of some kind, and one day, while everyone was in the studio, one of the folks at least was looking at the mixing console and saw the left and right channels (L and R) for the audio, and apparently a 💡went off (figuratively). At least, that is one of the theories bandied about on the show but it was never made conclusively clear.

Sad to finish this article this way, but unfortunately Kenichi Kurosawa passed away almost a couple of years ago in December 2016 at the age of 48.

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