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.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Michiko Maki -- Watashi no Gallery (わたしのギャラリー)

Aside from Japanese popular music, I'm also into jazz, 80s Western of all genres, and even some of the classical stuff. I know Beethoven's 5th and 9th, Chopin's "Polonaise" and "Nocturne", and Pachelbel's "Canon" among other masterpieces, but I can hardly say that I'm anywhere near the expert there that I am with kayo kyoku/J-Pop. Often when it comes to the centuries-old stuff, I usually characterize it with the name of the composer, a number and the key. Of course, I will hear something and know it but cannot for the life of me identify it by title.

Such was the case with the above piece. Until a few hours ago, I didn't know that it was titled Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Symphony No. 40 in G Minor" although I have heard it many times in the past. In fact, I knew it as part of the "Hooked on Classics" album from 1981 which was a huge hit on radio and in stores because it gave all of the old masters' works a disco beat (that strange rumbling sound I heard was Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Beethoven rolling over in their graves). But even before that, it was played all the time as an accompanying piece on an early-morning aerobics show that was on TV when I woke up. I knew it as that Classical Exercise Song. Every time I hear it to this day, I get that image of a young woman contorting herself into a pretzel. It warped my fragile little mind.

However, even earlier than that, Mozart's "Symphony No. 40 in G Minor" had apparently been co-opted into a kayo, strangely enough. I only encountered Michiko Maki's(牧美智子)"Watashi no Gallery" (My Gallery) a few days ago and though it started off as the usual 1970s light kayo tune, it started veering into Mozartville enough that I just went "Whoa!" Oh my golly...the lady in the leotard just made a reunion with my mind for the first time in several years.

This was Maki's 7th and final single from May 1977...information that I got from the few lines of description under the YouTube video. As I mentioned for her other song "Akatsuki ni Kakeru"(暁に駆ける), there isn't a whole lot of data on this singer who went back to a normal life after the release of "Watashi no Gallery". But I have to say that she gave this song which wove back and forth between Mozart and kayo quite a nice little vocal spin...kinda like having white wine with eggs n' a nice way, of course. Maki's voice could almost be considered operatic but she keeps it in the comfortable field of pop kayo.

"Watashi no Gallery" was written by Kazuya Senke(千家和也)and composed by Hiroshi Takada(高田弘). Well, part of it was composed by Takada....of course, there was that help from that fellow from Austria. No idea how well it did on Oricon and perhaps Mozart may have rolled around back then, too, but still, I give my compliments to Ms. Maki. Nice way to bow out.

And here is "Hooked on Classics" straight from my radio memories to you!

Ueno Museum

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