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, February 6, 2015

Ikue Sakakibara/Masamichi Sugi -- Kanashiki Claxon(悲しきクラクション)

Ahhhh....the 1983 Kohaku Utagassen. I got to see Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美)perform one of my favourites by her, saw Anri(杏里)for the first time singing "Cat's Eye", and witnessed both Red & White teams give a barnburning Latin version of "Begin The Beguine" (complete with sombreros). It was a pretty happening time.

Plus, I got to see what amounted to be a mini-fashion show of sorts, provided by the ever-bubbly Ikue Sakakibara(榊原郁恵)when she was still an aidoru, instead of the perennial veteran tarento. She performed "Kanashiki Claxon" (Sad Car Horn), as the beaming lass sashayed down the runway in some really scarlet outfit with a tam to match, accompanied by a few other members of the Red Team (I forget who) in familiarly fashionable clothing. If Ikue-chan did the same thing for the 2015 Kohaku, members of AKB48 or one of the other alphabet groups would have walked down with her.

In any case, I ended up paying more attention to the fashion show than to the song she was singing, so today I tracked it down via my usual sources of J-Wiki and YouTube. Happily enough, someone did upload it. Surprisingly, it actually shared A-side status with the more folky "Ai no Silhouette"  (愛のシルエット...Love Silhouette)to form her 31st single, released in September 1983.

However, Sakakibara's co-single was a cover of the B-side of Masamichi Sugi's(杉真理)2nd single, "Hold On", from June 1980. Sugi was both lyricist and composer of this tune, and I remember reading nikala's contribution to him via "Key Station", that the singer-songwriter had declared his music as the mix of two popular music genres that he called "pop n' roll". Although she said that most of the time, he tended toward the pop side of things, I think for "Kanashiki Claxon", he rather straddles the fence.

In fact, I can say that the song reminds me of some of the stuff Billy Joel did around the turn of the decade from the 70s to the 80s. The guitar by Shigeru Suzuki(鈴木茂)sounds quite familiar to the one in Joel's "Movin' Out", and I can even pick out a hint of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Frankie Valli. And Sugi brings out a bit more of the young turk-out-on-a-lark side of City Pop as "Kanashiki Claxon" describes the melancholy end to the story of J-Jack and J-Diane somewhere out on the streets of Tokyo...Meiji Street is mentioned. The Sugi version has more of the light rock edge with the guitar and horns while the Sakakibara cover is slightly more muted, but basically the arrangement is the same. Man, what must it have been like back in the Shibuya/Harajuku area 30~35 years ago? By the way, the song is also available on his 3rd album, "Song Writer" from July 1980.

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