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.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hitomi Tohyama -- Our Lovely Days

Hitomi "Penny" Tohyama (当山ひとみ)was another singer that I had only discovered on leafing through "Japanese City Pop", and that was for just one entry, her debut album "Just Call Me Penny" in 1981. I did a bit of cruising on YouTube and found that there were a number of videos of her songs aboard and tried this one called "Our Lovely Days".

Lovely breezy adult contemporary ballad...and then I checked who had composed it. It was none other than Burt Bacharach, the composer of 60s classics such as "The Look of Love" with Dusty Springfield which was probably the only good thing about the very first version of "Casino Royale" with Peter Sellers, and "I Say A Little Prayer" with Dionne Warwick. I've scoured the Net but I've yet to find out how Bacharach made his little contribution to Japanese popular music, but if and when I do, you'll be the first to know.

Based on hearing this song, I went out to that little old shop in Tokyo, Tacto, which sells old and rare kayo kyoku discs, and tried to find the album that this song was on, "Next Door" released in 1983. I did find a number of her other CDs but not that one, so I went for the next best thing which was getting her 2-CD Best album for about 5,000 yen. I've only given it just one listen so far but the overall impression is that her sound is reminiscent of American synth-&-R&B of the mid-late 1980s...kinda like Anri(杏里)of the same period, so the Bacharach-penned tune is perhaps a bit different. But basically speaking, Penny was quite a ways apart from the usual kayo kyoku that was being released at that time.

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