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, November 12, 2012

Pink Lady/W -- Southpaw (サウスポー)

After the monster hit that was "UFO", the Pink Lady juggernaut came out with their 7th single a few months later, "Southpaw". Inspired by Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh (王貞治....who was indeed a southpaw), Mie and Kei brought their usual energetic dance moves, this time stylized around a baseball theme. Dressed in cute shiny disco baseball uniforms, I can imagine that their garb was probably responsible for the wear that every aidoru or cute female tarento has sported if selected to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a Japanese baseball least, that's my theory.

Of course, with a Pink Lady profile, I have to provide a video of the duo performing on stage. I think this was from "Best 10", rather than the Kohaku Utagassen (, it ain't). "Southpaw" was released in March 1978, and according to one YouTube source, this was the biggest-grossing song in Pink Lady's career with 1.8 million records sold (the statistic given by Victor). However, according to Oricon, the total number sold was 1.46 million which would put it just below "UFO", the popularly-recognized No. 1 with 1.55 million. Still, the ladies and the creators needn't have worried. They were on a roll.

As with "UFO", lyricist Yu Aku(阿久悠)and composer Shunichi Tokura(都倉俊一)were behind "Southpaw". Considering the high-tempo final version of the song, it was interesting to read about this bit of trivia on J-Wiki. Apparently. Aku and Tokura had created a far more slower and more mature song which was indeed given a first recording. However, the director behind it, Hisahiko Iida(飯田久彦), shook his head in disapproval stating that this original version lacked any passion or fun. Fearing that if this version were released, the air from Pink Lady's soaring balloon would rush out like a gale, a re-boot was demanded and the song was indeed re-tooled to become the classic that it has become, staying at the No. 1 spot on Oricon for 9 straight weeks. It became the 2nd-ranked song of 1978....just behind "UFO".

In 2004, Nono and Aibon of W came up with their own version of the song. Their"Southpaw" was never released as a single but was a track on their very first album, "Duo U&U", released in June of that year. It peaked at No. 4. Although it didn't merit its own single, it still got its own video as you can see here.

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