On the same episode of NHK's "Kayo Concert"that I saw 70s singer Hiromi Ohta（太田裕美）, 65-year-old Ito appeared to also perform one of her evergreen hits from the 60s. Her rendition of "Koyubi no Omoide"was also just as wonderful as she and the orchestra cut through the air like a silk scarf. Then, I went to YouTube and listened to the original version from February 1967, and was transported to a ritzy Akasaka nightclub during that decade. The song has that Latin flavour which usually pegged it as a Mood Kayo from that time. Written by Mieko Arima（有馬三恵子） and composed by Jun Suzuki（鈴木淳）, the title translates as "Memories of a Pinky". As for the story behind that, the lyrics talk of a woman's complicated feelings about what seems to have been a one-night stand as she feels desire, shame and love all in the same song and ruminates about the little finger that her lover had bitten (affectionately, I hope). Pretty heady stuff for a girl who was just two months shy of her 20th birthday at the time, but since she had been singing professionally since she was 11(one year younger than even when Hibari Misora（美空ひばり） had officially launched her legendary career), there probably wasn't much that fazed Ito by that point. (Thanks to Uta-Net for the lyrics)
As I mentioned in my profile on Mie Nakao's（中尾ミエ） "Kawaii Baby", Nakao, Ito and Mari Sono（園まり） were the popular Spark Sannin Musume, a trio of teenage idol singers who got their start together as hosts for the "Morinaga Spark Show" in 1962, before outgrowing it and heading for bigger and better things. Like the other two, Ito also did covers of a lot of the American popular hits of the time such as "Lollipop" and "The Locomotion". I used to hear a lot of Japanese-language covers of all of those old songs on old audio tapes, so I probably had heard Ito singing even before I knew the name. Strangely enough, though, the very first Yukari Ito song I had heard was actually a modern folk/pop/AOR number from 1981, "Yakusoku Dake Romantic"(約束だけロマンテック...Just A Promise Is Romantic), but it got me hooked.