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, August 13, 2021

Tatsuro Yamashita -- Ride on Time (The All-Different Demo Version)/Masahiko Kondo -- One More Time


There is another...

Yes, Master Yoda was indeed right. Rocket Brown was also indeed right. There is another.

The very first Tatsuro Yamashita(山下達郎)article that I put up on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" back in February 2012 was dedicated to the single version of "Ride on Time" released in May 1980. It was early days in the blog, but I didn't really go too deep into the melodic joy and wonder for this song unfortunately. Since then of course, I have found this to be one of Tats' truly wonderful masterpieces in a discography filled with splendid songs. Oh, that voice, those soulful horns and that feeling of taking off on a wonderful journey. It has indeed been an epic City Pop story and perhaps it's no wonder that the song was used years later for that Takuya Kimura(木村拓哉)drama "Good Luck". Just like how I see TOKIO's "Ambitious Japan" as the musical ambassador to all Bullet Trains, I think that Yamashita's "Ride on Time" is the ambassador to all airplanes heading for tropical climes.

A few weeks ago, though, my fellow City Pop comrade-in-arms, Rocket Brown from "Come Along Radio", dropped a bombshell on me by stating that there was a demo version of "Ride on Time" that had a totally different arrangement and lyrics by Master Tats. It apparently first saw the light of day for the public when it was introduced through one of the LPs on the humongous Yamashita treasure trove "THE RCA/AIR YEARS LP BOX 1976-1982" released in February 2002. And this different "Ride on Time" is Track 5 on Disc 9's Side A.

According to the J-Wiki article on this super-duper box for his fans, when Yamashita was requested to create a song for a commercial which would become "Ride on Time", it was the custom for presentation purposes to come up with two different takes on the song for the client . The singer-songwriter grumblingly obliged, muttering something to the effect of "Pretty meaningless work, if you ask me...". Well, he still came up with the goods with the forgotten twin being this demo version.

When I first heard this those few weeks ago, my jaw dropped. It WAS a totally different song but still an amazing City Pop piece. "Ride on Time" the all-different version was less the dreamy brilliance of getting on board a jetliner and more of a hop into the convertible for a funky fun Friday night out on the town painted by Eizin Suzuki whose work you see on the cover for "THE RCA/AIR YEARS LP BOX 1976-1982". I think that is also Minako Yoshida(吉田美奈子)on backing vocals and much love for the bass solo.

The client, Maxell Tapes, of course, went with the one that we've all known and loved for years but the all-different version wasn't completely thrown into suspended animation until that 2002 revelation. It was used as the basis for a B-side for 80s aidoru Masahiko Kondo's(近藤真彦)"Eien ni Himitsu sa"(永遠に秘密さ...Forever a Secret) single from September 1984. Titled this time as "One More Time", that basic melody was given some tweaks and made for a pretty dynamic coupling tune for Matchy. Naturally, Yamashita received his composition and arrangement credit alongside Koji Makaino(馬飼野康二)but the lyrics this time were provided by Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆).

I always love it when an interesting story comes out of one song.

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