To be honest, I don't really follow current pop music in North America and haven't for a number of years now. It's just been the oldies for me, thus this blog. Well, I can make a very happy exception for "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars. However, Toronto media has made it a mission to crow far and wide about the local talent doing famously across borders such as Justin Bieber, Drake, and The Weeknd. And power to them!
A few years ago, I wrote up an article regarding the folk band Salty Sugar（ソルティー・シュガー）and their biggest hit, "Hashire Koutarou"（走れコウタロー...Run, Koutarou）, the comically happy song poking fun at actual member Koutarou Yamamoto（山本厚太郎）since he was always literally running late for practice. Salty Sugar had their time between 1969 and 1971.
Some years later in 1974, guitarist Yamamoto joined up with Kazumi Mori（森一美）from the duo Kurosaki to Kazumi（黒崎とかずみ...Kurosaki and Kazumi） and Hideo Itagaki（板垣秀雄）formerly of the folk band Pipi & Kotto（ピピ&コット）to form the new folk trio Yamamoto Koutarou to Weekend（山本コウタローとウィークエンド...Koutarou Yamamoto and Weekend）. It had a hit out of the gates with "Misaki Meguri"（岬めぐり...Cape Tour） when it was released in June of that year.
Three more singles and a couple of albums were released until the band decided to shorten its name to just Weekend (ah, that's why I mentioned The Weeknd) in 1976 after which five more singles and three more albums came out up to 1978. The first of those singles under the short name was "Shiawase no Kane" (Happy Bells) hit the record shop shelves in March 1976, and it's far different from the supremely happy "Hashire Koutarou". In fact, suffice it to say, it's a downright depressing folk tune.
Written and composed by Yamamoto with arrangement by Ichizo Seo（瀬尾一三）, "Shiawase no Kane" starts out happy enough as it describes a wedding scene from four years earlier only to have the love utterly dissipate within that time and the decision is made to divorce. The song is beautifully done by Seo, I have to say, though, and my compliments to who among Weekend is singing. As it is, this could only get onto one of those heartbreak song compilations that show up at places like Tower Records now and then.