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.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Randy Newman -- I Love L.A.


Welcome to another Reminiscings of Youth with your cordial host, J-Canuck. On today's article, we take a look at what has been determined to be the 3rd-largest economic area on the planet after Tokyo and New York City, according to J Utah, the fellow above with all those wonderful driving videos on YouTube.

I've only been to Los Angeles once and that was back in the summer of 1989. On top of that, it was purely by happenstance that we ended up in the City of Angels since on my way to Tokyo to start my career on the JET Programme, the United flight from Chicago had some technical issues (something about an engine falling off) which meant that we Toronto recruits into the programme had to stay over in LA for a night. Well, as it turned out, it wasn't too difficult making lemonade from lemons because apparently several of us had never been to the city before so we got a nice little tour through Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills and Venice Beach. Plus, what we heard when we eventually did get to the Keio Plaza Hotel was that the welcome ceremony for everyone on the first day (that we "unlucky" Canadian JETS had missed) had been about as exciting as watching paint dry.

However, that little spark of interest in Los Angeles had been lit several years before, thanks to a video that I'd caught on television. Randy Newman is probably most well-known now for all that music that he provided to the "Toy Story" franchise, but my first remembrance of him was through a song in the late 1970s called "Short People". It wouldn't be for many years but I eventually heard and realized that Newman had a pretty sardonic/sarcastic streak when it came to his lyrics.

Anyways that video I saw was for Newman's 1983 song "I Love L.A.". As a teen who was not particularly all that aware or sharp when it came to song lyrics, I really did think that this catchy pop/rock number was a love letter to this huge metropolis in California instead of this Gibbs slap upside L.A.'s head criticizing citizens' self-absorbed nature and ignorance of the problems hitting the outside world. Dang, as nasty as Newman's words stung, Newman's music (and the chant of "WE LOVE IT!") was as inviting and fun as that cool convertible he's driving in the video. And he had good chunks of the bands TOTO and Fleetwood Mac helping out in the recording booth, too!

But it wasn't just me who had fallen for the melodic charms of "I Love L.A.". Even the residents of Los Angeles were more than happy to welcome the song as their new anthem, and from what I've seen of the comments on YouTube, the fans of the local sports teams there have also been unhesitating in their love of the song. I remember that it was used in connection with something for the 1984 Olympics which just happened to be held in Los Angeles. Watching the music video and then all of the footage from the city during the Olympics, there was something that did make me wonder about visiting the place someday. Well, fortune favoured the foolish when it came to me several years later.

"I Love L.A." was a track on Newman's January 1983 album "Trouble in Paradise", and so how was the Oricon chart for that particular month faring? Here are the Top 3 songs.

1. Akina Nakamori -- Second Love (セカンド・ラブ)

2. Hiroshi & Kibo -- San Nen-me no Uwaki (3年目の浮気)

3. Eisaku Ohkawa -- Sazanka no Yado (さざんかの宿)

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