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, June 29, 2021

Yoichi Sugawara/Takao Kisugi -- Kyo de Owakare(今日でお別れ)


Tonight on "Uta Con"(うたコン), I heard a Yoichi Sugawara(菅原洋一)song for the first time in a long time, but it wasn't the veteran singer performing it but actor/singer Kanji Ishimaru(石丸幹二)behind the mike. 

Just from reading the title, "Kyo de Owakare" (Today We Part), I kinda figured that this would be a Mood Kayo involving those famous sayings of "Parting is such sweet sorrow", "We'll always have Paris" and "Two ships passing through the night". It's the type of ballad that Sugawara would hit out of the park like a Shohei Otani cannon.

Ironically, though, his first attempt at "Kyo de Owakare" in March 1967 was derailed by his own previous hit of "Shiritakunaino"(知りたくないの)from 1965 which was still so popular that folks kept on preferring to listening to the latter rather than the new kid on the block. Ouch! Incidentally, "Kyo de Owakare" was written by the late Rei Nakanishi(なかにし礼), who also wrote for "Shiritakunaino", composed by Akira Ui(宇井あきら)and arranged by Hirotsugu Hayakawa(早川博二).

Another saying that I will throw in is "Never say never", and a couple of years later when I guess the "Shiritakunaino" phase finally ended, it was decided to give "Kyo de Owakare" another go with another arranger, Kenichiro Morioka(森岡賢一郎). The new version was released on Christmas Day 1969. Heck of a day to put out this sort of melancholy ballad but I gather that even back then, pop music in Japan around the Yuletide tended to go rather sad.

In any case, this time the new "Kyo de Owakare", which is most likely the one that is provided right at the top according to the B-side that was listed on the 1969 record cover shown in the thumbnail "Anata dake na no"(あなただけなの...Only You), quickly became a hit for Sugawara. This time, it sold 300,000 records, earned a Japan Record Award and became the 8th-ranked single for 1970.

Another singer who can bring beautiful to melancholy is Takao Kisugi(来生たかお), and he did his own cover of "Kyo de Owakare" for his December 2008 (23rd) album "Yoin"(余韻...Lingering Memories). Apparently, according to the J-Wiki writeup for the album, Kisugi, also being a composer, had a great admiration for the melody. Toshiyuki Watanabe(渡辺俊幸)handled the arrangement here which possesses that feeling of baroque pop and a soundtrack from a 1960s romantic movie with a bittersweet ending.

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