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.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Princess Princess -- Diamonds

One of the more memorable songs of my time in Japan between 1989 and 1991, it's also the most popular song by the band Princess Princess. The late 80s were the Band Boom era, and I'd mistakenly thought that one of Japan's premier pop/rock bands had come from that time, but in actual fact, they had been around since 1983! They were under a different name back then, Akasaka Komachi(赤坂小町), at a different studio, and they diligently paid their dues for the next several years, adopting another band name before finally settling on Princess Princess in 1987. Then, their ship started to finally come in the following year with their second album "HERE WE ARE".

In April 1989, the band released their 7th single, "Diamonds", one of their poppier efforts about having a really really fun life. They finally hit it big with the single becoming the No. 1 single of the year. And the following single which was a July re-release of a 1987 song "Sekai de Ichiban Atsui Natsu"(世界で一番熱い夏....The Hottest Summer in the World) was in the 2nd spot, which had the media dubbing 1989 as the year of the Princess Princess boom. "Diamonds" certainly was a hit with the kids. My junior high school Sports Days were often filled with the sounds of "Diamonds" over the speakers.

Although there was no official connection, I think it was interesting that after the success of "Diamonds", there was the social phenomenon called the Oyaji Girl(オヤジギャル)Boom in the early 90s. The term was coined by the late Yutsuko Chusonji(中尊寺ゆつこ)in her 1990 manga, "Sweet Spot" and won a "Catchphrase of the Year"award. The OG Boom referred to the emerging trend of young women aggressively participating in the activities that had formerly just belonged to the middle-aged mid-level male executive: golfing, reading sports newspapers, betting on the horses, and smoking like chimneys. 

The lineup of the band is:

Kaori Okui (奥井香)as lead singer and guitarist
Kanako Nakayama(中山加奈子) as lead guitarist and vocals
Atsuko Watanabe (渡辺敦子)as bass guitarist and vocals
Tomoko Konno(今野 登茂子)as keyboardist and vocals
Kyoko Tomita(富田 京子)as drummer and percussionist

I was just curious so I took a look through YouTube to see if there were any videos of their very early days as Akasaka Komachi. And I managed to find one with a brief medley. Although their tunes back then made me wonder if some of the YMO boys had helped out, I could hear hints of what they would become.

Ah, and I heard that the band has gotten back together 16 years after their breakup in 1996. They'll be doing concerts in November this year to help out with the continuing relief efforts following the 2011 Earthquake.

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