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.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Masahiko Kondo -- Blue Jeans Memory (ブルー・ジーンズ・メモリー)

During that graduation trip to Japan in 1981 as I was walking the streets of Tokyo and Osaka, I often saw these huge posters of these 3 teenage boys posing cute with the katakana underneath "Blue Jeans Memory".

This was the Tanokin Trio(たのきんトリオ), the name being derived from the first characters of the boys' last names: Toshihiko Tahara(原俊彦), Yoshio Nomura(村義男) and Masahiko Kondo(藤雅彦)...the first character in Kondo's name can also be read as "Kin". All three of them came from the huge talent agency Johnny & Associates(ジャニーズ事務所), who represent the current (not-so-)boy bands SMAP and Arashi. The Trio was never the official name since they didn't so much perform together musically but first appeared together in the high school drama "San-nen B-Gumi Kinpachi Sensei"(3年B組金八先生....Mr. Kinpachi of 3B)and then just stuck together in a few more projects before "Blue Jeans"came along. According to J-Wiki, the boys' image were meant to evoke memories of the previous generation of Johnny's boy idols: Hiromi Go(郷ひろみ), Hideki Saijo(西城秀樹) and Goro Noguchi(野口五郎)who were known collectively as the Shin Gosanke (新御三家...The New Big Three).

The theme song, "Blue Jeans Memory" was sung by Kondo, or as he is known by fans, Matchy. It was his 3rd single and was a huge success. I remember a couple of my classmates from Japanese school playing the tape of the song over and over again when we all returned to Toronto. It hit No. 1 on the Oricon weeklies, and was the 11th-ranking single of 1981. In fact, Matchy's first four singles ended up in the Top 30 of the year (3rd, 11th, 20th and 21st), and all of them peaked at either 1 or 2 in the weeklies.

I may have categorized the song as "aidoru" but it comes off as an electric guitar-based rock fest. The fellow, tuberomeotap, who uploaded his video certainly thought so. There was also one line that left the biggest impression: "Sayonara nante...ienai yo....BAKAYARO!"さよならなんて。。。言えないよ。。。バカヤロ!"I can't say something like goodbye.....FxxK!" Well, I'm not sure if Matchy meant to be quite that profane....

Anyways, keep on rockin'.

September 15, 2020: Well, after nearly 40 years, I finally got to hear the soundtrack version of "Blue Jeans Memory" from the movie. It launches with a huge Prince-like rock riff before it slowly churns into the main song which is slightly stripped down, mostly in the lack of a background chorus although the familiar vocals of Matchy are still there. After we all returned from Japan in August 1981, most of us returned for one more year of Japanese Language School (we were gluttons for punishment), a couple of my classmates who had really gotten onto the Tanokin Trio bandwagon brought a tape deck and often played this version of the song during recess.

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