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, February 24, 2012

Junko Yagami -- Mizuiro no Ame (みずいろの雨)

One of the reasons that I probably got into kayo kyoku is that the Japanese popular music of that time was more than happy to be influenced by various Western music genres such as jazz, chanson and a larger degree than was the case in North America.

Junko Yagami (八神純子)was just a 20-year-old Nagoya native when she broke out into the music business, and she made quite an early impact with her second album, "Sugao no Watashi"(素顔の私)(An Honest Me), reaching the No. 1 spot on the Oricon album charts sometime in 1979. "Mizuiro no Ame"(Light Blue Rain) was one of the tracks, and released the year before as Yagami's 5th single, it got as high as the No. 2 position on the weekly charts, and ranked 59th for the year.

"Mizuiro no Ame"was one of the first songs that I'd heard since my conversion to kayo kyoku 30 years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. Yagami has a powerful voice on the same order as EPO and Misato Watanabe(渡辺美里), but she has a certain delicateness melded into her delivery as well. This song is definitely a dynamic Latin-tinged number, but she has also dipped into rock, disco and R & B.

She is performing even now almost a couple of decades since moving to the United States and under her married name of June Stanley. In fact, she just released a new album, "Vreath -- My Favorite Cocky Pop" (yes, please refrain from giggling too much).

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