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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Yukari Ito/Sachiko Nishida/Mariya Takeuchi -- Boy Hunt (ボーイ・ハント)

My memories of 1970s television was often punctuated by those commercials for K-Tel Records. Usually, it was a compilation record of the latest disco hits, but the one oldies star that got her own special album by the good folks at K-Tel was none other than Connie Francis. So I got to hear excerpts from her hits like "Stupid Cupid" and "Who's Sorry Now", but the one big tour de force number was "Where The Boys Are", the absolute paean to pining for that guy. The original writers for the song were Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, and they made it the theme for heartfelt sighs.

Since the song was released back in 1961, there have been a number of cover versions by folks such as LeAnn Rimes and Tracey Ullman. And that was the case as well in Japan. In fact, back in the postwar years before Group Sounds and New Music, a lot of the non-enka singing pop singers were given to performing Japanese-language covers of the Western hits from the USA and the UK

With the somewhat saucier title of "Boy Hunt", one singer who covered it was Sachiko Nishida(西田佐知子). Listening to her version, I imagine her performing it as the finale of a night in a small smoke-filled bar instead of on the beach where I think Francis would be singing her magnum opus. I wasn't able to find out when Nishida's cover was released but knowing how quickly a hit American song could get covered in Japan, I wouldn't be surprised if it had been released in the same year, and considering that the original came out in January, there would have been plenty of time to get the Japanese take out by springtime. I found the Nishida cover on her 2007 5-disc BEST album, "Nishida Sachiko Kayo Dai Zenshu"(西田佐知子歌謡大全集...Sachiko Nishida's Great Kayo Collection).

Yukari Ito(伊東ゆかり)may just be the Queen of Covers. I bought a double-CD album of her BEST material when I was back in Japan with one disc of original tunes while the other disc had all of her cover versions of non-Japanese stuff. According to one site, her take on the Connie Francis classic was released in 1971 but I'm not sure if that was a re-release. Considering that she debuted in 1958, I would have thought that the powers-that-be would have had her singing the song not too long after the original had come out. In any case, among the kayo kyoku singers who have done their version of "Boy Hunt", Ito is the definitive example.

However, if there were someone else who would be perfect for "Where The Boys Are", that someone would be Mariya Takeuchi(竹内まりや). Starting out her career back in the late 1970s with original songs done to melodies that seemed to have been woven out of the various incarnations of American pop over 3 decades, performing "Boy Hunt" was pretty much inevitable for her. And her take is absolutely luscious...she would be that girl in the poodle skirt looking out her bedroom window into the moon. I heard her cover through the last BEST compilation I got from her, "Expressions" from 2008, although it was originally on "Longtime Favorites", her album of covers from 2003.

Actually, this whole article was inspired by yet another cover version by the girl group Go-Bangs. But unfortunately, I couldn't find their take anywhere on the Net, although it was the coupling song to their biggest hit, "Ai ni Kite I Need You"(あいにきて I Need You)from 1989.

Down at Ito (no connection with Yukari)

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