So, it was with a lot of surprise when I found out that Misora's definitive take on crying in one's sake was actually a cover version. Back in 1960, "Kanashii Sake" (Sad Sake), written by Miyuki Ishimoto（石本美由紀) and composed by Masao Koga（古賀政男), had originally been sung by Jun Kitamizawa（北見沢淳), but it never became a hit. However, Koga never gave up on the song and kept looking for the right person to bring out the emotional punch. Six years later, he found her. The lyrics themselves are about someone trying and failing to drink his/her sorrows over a lost romance away, but the music and Misora's heartwrenching delivery were the keys to making this song her 3rd-most successful hit. Misora made "Kanashii Sake" her own. I just wonder if the legendary singer channeled some of her own trials and tribulations when singing it. There is a speaking part in the middle of the song which Misora had requested for which the original writer, Ishimoto, was able to do during one night.
Misora's version was released in June 1966, and sold close to 1.5 million records. And of course, she went on that year's Kohaku Utagassen to perform it.