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, July 17, 2019

KAZCO -- Isuzu no Truck(いすゞのトラック)

As a high school and university student, the annual dreaded all-nighters were part and parcel of the young adulthood educational experience. Believe me, I appreciated sleep much more when I had to sleep much less due to the need to study up on exams or write up theses for which I miscalculated the amount of time necessary to complete them...which was fairly often. Fortunately, the midnight hour and beyond had me listening to the radio when the soothing voices of the overnight DJ came on to provide some appropriate music to keep me going. Cups of green tea helped as well.

Recently, I found about this program in Japan that had its run between September 1974 and September 2001 on TBS Radio called "Isuzu Utau Headlight ~ Cockpit no Anata e ~"(いすゞ歌うヘッドライト〜コックピットのあなたへ〜...Isuzu Singing Headlight ~ To You in the Cockpit ~), sponsored of course by Isuzu Motors. For most of its run, "Isuzu Utau Headlight" provided music and talk for a couple of hours each night except Sundays and Mondays apparently for the truck drivers who had to do their overnight runs across the country. To be honest, I thought that 3:00~5:00 am was a bit chintzy for drivers who probably had to do their duty well past midnight and into the morning hours, but I'm sure that there were other similar all-night programs on the radio dial.

Anyways, "Isuzu Utau Headlight" had a theme song that I will cover later on which was always played near the end of each show, and it was played until the last few years of its run on TBS. A new song came on but for some reason, I have not been able to nail down the exact year that it was recorded although the J-Wiki article for the song itself stated that it was used as the replacement, so for argument's sake, I have put it down as 1999 (until someone corrects me).

Titled "Isuzu no Truck" (Isuzu Truck), it's a heartwarming and encouraging anthem of sorts providing the story of any driver in an Isuzu truck having to do the midnight run. The elements may be bitterly cold out there but the Isuzu will get you home every time. I'm not sure if the song was meant to keep the drivers awake...the melody is so soft and cushy that I wonder if it may have had the opposite effect which is obviously not a good thing. Still, it's a proud theme for the trucks. Written by Makoto Tsukada(ツカダマコト)and composed by Fumio Okui(奥居史生), the original version was performed by KAZCO, a stage name for Kazuko Hamano(浜野和子).

In 2004, "Isuzu no Truck" was brought in as the song for the brand's commercials, and over the years, there have been different arrangements and even the commercials have had different geographical settings, even outside of Japan. Isuzu is everywhere! You can even take a look at Isuzu's CM Gallery.

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