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.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Teruo Nakamura and Rising Sun Band -- Mr. & Mrs. Funk


I think that it's fair to say that I've had an affectionate affinity for the old TV theme songs. I've loved them all whether it be the action-filled one for the original "Mission: Impossible" or the sci-fi anthem for "Star Trek". The same would also go for the many sitcoms ranging from the 1960s to the 1980s. I've enjoyed the themes for "Sanford & Son", "The Brady Bunch" and "Bewitched". And I even did the AOR-friendly "WKRP in Cincinnati" as a ROY article back in the spring. 

Another theme song that I enjoyed was for a show that perhaps didn't get as much popularity as the others that I've just mentioned. However, watching some of the episodes and especially that opening credit sequence, I still have some fond nostalgia for "What's Happening!!". I wish my childhood had been as carefree and relatively stress-free as it seemed to be for Raj, Dwayne and Rerun, although I've read that their setting of Watts, Los Angeles wasn't exactly the safest area to be. Still, seeing the guys happily dribbling that basketball down the sidewalk while Henry Mancini's happy-go-lucky and slightly funky theme has still lodged itself firmly in my memories.

It's a bit of a weird and far-reaching segue to the topic of this article but for some reason, I still get that "What's Happening!!" vibe when I listen to "Mr. & Mrs. Funk" by jazz bassist Teruo Nakamura(中村照夫)and his Rising Sun Band. I think that the song could have made for a pretty cool theme song for an American TV show of any genre.

Last week, I had a talk with Rocket Brown of "Come Along Radio" and we got on the topic of what would make some fine examples of New York-themed City Pop or urban contemporary. I found this particular song and sent it over to him. "Mr. & Mrs. Funk" is indeed fun and is a track on Nakamura's 1979 album "Big Apple" (splendid cover, by the way). The song just feels like a happy Saturday walking through some of the boroughs of The Big Apple such as Manhattan or Brooklyn. That beefy sax even reminds me of the yellow taxis coursing through the many streets, and there's the combination of the flute and sax that sounds perfect as the accompaniment to a stroll. Nice rollicking piano, too.

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