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, March 18, 2013

Pink Lady -- Chameleon Army (カメレオン・アーミー)

I can imagine the legendary duo of Pink Lady being compared to the late and just-as-legendary James Brown. Mie and Kei were probably the hardest-working ladies in Japanese show business at their peak with all that choreography done over and over again on whichever show or concert stage they appeared on. Whether it be "UFO" or "Southpaw", they could've started their own exercise regimen...and been darn successful at it.

However, it's this song, "Chameleon Army" that apparently had Pink Lady REALLY kicking it up to high gear. According to J-Wiki, of all of their songs, this is the one that had the largest number of moves. And watching the videos above and below, I can see it. I lost a kilogram just watching it. And strangely enough, it's the one song that I don't really remember all that well compared to the other hits. Written and composed by their regular songwriting duo of Yu Aku (阿久悠)and Shunichi Togura(都倉俊一), the lyrics are about the girls threatening to unleash hell via a massive group of colourful reptiles if the listener is not good. Considering how much the Japanese love their animals, I frankly think it's the chameleons that should be afraid. Musically, I think it's probably the most disco song that I've heard by them so far.

I bow to their amazing endurance and strength! It was also mentioned in the J-Wiki article about the song that because of the frantic complexity of the moves, mistakes did happen a fair bit during the live performances, but I think the above videos had them on their "A"game.

Released in December 1978, "Chameleon Army" is notable for being a song that actually started out way down in the Oricon pack at No. 88, only to warp up to No. 1 a week later, where it would stay for over a month (the record has been since superseded by the group SPEED with "All My True Love" in 1998). It is also notable for the fact that their 10th single would become their final No. 1 tune although Pink Lady was only halfway through their history of 22 singles. But what a way to end their run of No. 1s! The single, by the way, would end up as the 10th-ranked single of 1979. It also sold 700,000 records according to Oricon, but the issuing studio of Victor boasted a much higher total of 1.25 million; of course, it would. And the final point is that "Chameleon Army" charted for a grand total of 63 weeks...that record has yet to be broken.

Apparently, 90s duo Puffy did their tribute to the song but unfortunately, I couldn't find a video of their cover.


  1. How those chameleon costumes were made?! :-o

    Ok, I have seen Kenji Sawada performing Tokio with a parachute and a backpack full of accus to power the lightbulbs, but this is... inexcplicable.

  2. ^ That's what I want to know too.

    I suggest watching some of Pink Lady's choreography lesson videos on Youtube and try following along with the instructions. Even the seemingly simple moves for "Pepper Keibu" and "Nagisa no Sinbad" were challenging to replicate. I don't think I ever want to attempt this one.

  3. I've got no idea how the chameleon effect was pulled off, either. Either the uploader had a lot of knowledge and experience with the old ChromaKey, or some technologist in Japan came up with something revolutionary.

    Perhaps UFO might be a good way to start learning those PL dances. I think I came across a book somewhere in Tokyo which had the dance steps written down.

  4. I can definitely confirm that those chameleon costumes were not the uploader's doing. I got official DVD file that contains this performance and the whole thing looks as mysterious in HD as in 360p quality.

  5. Yeah. I have this DVD file the nikala talked as well. The effects are really there. Maybe the guy responsible for the video editing of the TV show included some kind of effects, but I can't confirm either.

    As for the song, it's one of my favorites from Pink Lady. And now that I know some more about the lyrics from J-Canuck, I find the song even more cool. I loved the idea of "unleashing hell via a massive group of colourful reptiles". That's just a great idea for a song's lyric. Very, very funny and entertaining.

  6. Just imagine as a countermeasure...unleashing further hell via a massive group of squealing schoolgirls with cellphone cameras yelling, "Kawaii, kawaii". :)


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