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.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Taneko Seki/Hiroshi Inoue -- Ame ni Saku Hana(雨に咲く花)

I gather that this is one of the few older kayo kyoku that I have first found out about without needing the guidance of "Uta Kon"(うたコン)or another similar music show.

Through my browsings via YouTube and tips from commenters and collaborators, I've been able to find out about a lot of the more contemporary music in City Pop and the like, but this time around, some after-dinner exploration had me discover something from nearly a century back.

Taneko Seki(関種子)who lived from 1907-1990 was a Showa-Era singer hailing from Okayama Prefecture who began her career as a classical soprano. She made her debut on records at Columbia Records in 1931 and had hit upon hit until in 1935, she recorded the theme song for the movie "Toppa Muden"(突破無電...Breakthrough Wireless), "Ame ni Saku Hana" (The Flowers That Bloom in the Rain) which became an even bigger hit for Seki, selling around half a million records.

Written by Kikutaro Takahashi(高橋菊太郎)and composed by Fujio Ikeda(池田不二男), the tango-esque "Ame ni Saku Hana" is about a woman lamenting the loss of her romantic affair. She likens the flowers in the rain to her love probably losing its petals.

About a quarter-century later, singer/actor Hiroshi Inoue(井上ひろし)covered "Ame ni Saku Hana" in July 1960. Born in Yokohama in 1941, he had been a rockabilly singer with an early form of The Drifters troupe in 1958 but left the group a year later.

His "Ame ni Saku Hana" is more in the Mood Kayo vein with that bluesy sax, the twangy guitar and that percussive piano. I automatically got those images of smoke-filled nightclubs and tumblers filled with whisky on the rocks. Inoue's cover was a huge hit since it sold a million records according to a November 1991 issue of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper via J-Wiki. In that same J-Wiki article, the Mood Kayo "Ame ni Saku Hana" was such a hit that it sparked a boom of singers of that decade in covering some of the old classics including Frank Nagai's(フランク永井)take on "Kimi Koishi" (君恋し)in 1961, originally sung by Teiichi Futamura(二村定一)back in 1928.

Inoue also appeared once on the Kohaku Utagassen in 1961 although it was to perform a different song. In 1985, he had started learning how to cook in his education on how to run a restaurant but tragically in September of that year, he suffered a fatal myocardial infarction at the age of 44.

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