Credits

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, June 8, 2012

Yuzo Kayama -- Kimi to Itsumademo/Yozora no Hoshi (君といつまでも・夜空の星)



Yuzo Kayama(加山雄三) is one of those iconic figures as an entertainer. As an actor, he gained fame as the hero in the "Wakadaisho"(若大将...Young Man About Town) movie series in the 60s in which he played the crooning handsome good guy with all the style, money and women. His character lived the life that a lot of young people craved in a country that was just starting to come back as an economic power.

In the 6th entry of the series, 1965's "Ereki no Wakadaisho"(エレキの若大将...The Young Man About Town of the Electric Guitar), he performed the theme song "Kimi to Itsumademo"(With You Forever), a love ballad which sold over 3 million copies and would become Kayama's trademark tune. One of the lyrics, "Shiawase da na"(幸せだな....I'm so happy), became a catchphrase of the time. Although Oricon didn't exist at the time, it did reach No. 1 on the "Record Monthly"magazine charts and would earn a special award at The Japan Record Awards of that year. In addition, Kayama would appear four times on the Kohaku Utagassen (1966, 1981, 1982, 1999) to perform the song which was originally released in December 1965.

"Kimi to Itsumademo" was written by Tokiko Iwatani(岩谷時子)and composed by Kayama himself. The pair was also responsible for the song below.



The B-side of the record is "Yozora no Hoshi" (夜空の星....Stars of the Night Sky), which has also become one of Kayama's famed songs. In fact, it also got him two further appearances on the Kohaku to perform this song (1997, 2010). His Ventures surf rock influence is very obvious here as he and his bandmates just twang on those guitars. Both songs have been chiseled into my memory as classic kayo kyoku. And both have been covered by various artists such as rock band The Alfee, former Morning Musume member Maki Goto(後藤真希) and even by The Ventures themselves.

2 comments:

  1. I am a Chinese and lived in Hong Kong until 1980 when I moved to America. I was a big fan of Yuzo when I was in Hong Kong and have bought several records and books on him, which were imports from Japan. After I moved to America, I couldn't find anything about him here and have since lost in touch of him. Then a few years back, I went through my personal items and re-discovered Yuzo. I was very surprised to find out that he is still performing live and have performed live in America in the last few years as well. The only items I can find on him are from eBay which are very expensive. Luckily, we have YouTube which has a big collection of his videos. And I am glad that I have re-discovered Yuzo. He has a very rich and unique voice and remind me a lot of Elvis Presley, which is my number one artist of all time.

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  2. Hi there and thanks for the comment. Nice to hear that you were able to re-discover Yuzo again. In terms of his longevity, he reminds me of Andy Williams. I was surprised and impressed that Williams actually went over to Japan last year to do a concert.
    Kayama is just a few months younger than my Dad, and he's still out there working hard. I can only wish that I have his stamina when I reach that age. His voice and music are very resonant. I'm not surprised at the fame that he quickly amassed.

    I'm VERY grateful to YouTube and its uploaders for their videos. I gotta keep tabs on them since some of them lapse in terms of their licenses.

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