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 26, 2020

Kazumi Watanabe -- Don't Be Silly

Recently, I've been catching some of the scenes from an old ABC sitcom of my memories. "Barney Miller" was a show about the usual funny hijinks inside a New York City police precinct, and I remember some of the big highlights during its original run between 1975 and 1982 such as the episode in which everyone except Barney himself got high on hashish-laced brownies and the time when Detective Harris ended up producing a porn movie for some investigation.

"Barney Miller" was also graced with one of the cooler instrumental theme songs during its run. Perhaps the song by Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson wasn't as action-packed as the "Mission: Impossible" theme but I realize that it was a nice fusion number rather reflective of the funky streets of the Big Apple back then, although perhaps it may have been more conventional at the time to place an upbeat and comical march to match the fact that it was based on the cops and comedy. Strangely enough, I read last night on the "TV Tropes" entry for the show under "Instrumental Theme Tune" on the main page that the actor who played Miller, Hal Linden (who's still looking plenty healthy at his advanced age as an octogenarian according to YouTube videos of his recent interviews!), wasn't a huge fan of the bass-heavy theme (maybe he's mellowed over the years), even though it was ranked at No. 27 in "TV Guide" as one of the best TV themes in America according to Wikipedia.

What wonderful timing then to have a listen to "Don't Be Silly", one of the tracks from guitarist Kazumi Watanabe's(渡辺香津美)May 1980 album, "To Chi Ka". I already wrote about one other track from the album "Black Canal", and with "Don't Be Silly", I think it could even be a spiritual cousin across the Pacific of the "Barney Miller" theme with its own silky-smooth guitar/bass/keyboard work. Plus, I'd say that the title would be just the thing that the often-frustrated Captain Miller would usually have to beg his motley crew to do each and every episode.

Wouldn't that be just the thing? Maybe an American TV show on one of the ancient networks or on one of the streaming channels such as Netflix will have a City Pop instrumental as a theme. As a local lottery commercial's catchphrase puts it: We all can dream! But as someone might retort: Don't be silly!

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