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.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Toshihiko Tahara -- Aishuu Date (哀愁でいと)

Oh my word! How long has it been since I had heard of the name Leif Garrett? It's starting to approach 40 years. For those viewers who are younger than my parents' Boney M album, Leif was this American child actor/teenybopper idol who graced all of the "Teen Beat" magazines back in the 1970s. If I am not mistaken, one of my classmates from Grade 6 (I think her name was Garnet Ann) had a major crush on him and The Bay City Rollers. All that long hair...

Anyways, Garrett's big years in music were apparently 1978-1979 with a fairly successful album titled "Feel The Need". But in 1980, there was a release of a single by him called "New York City Nights" which only made any sort of mark on the Japanese Oricon charts, getting as high as No. 56.

Now, why did I mention this fellow from my pop cultural past on the right side of the Pacific? Well, I only found out that "New York City Nights" was soon given its cover version under the title of "Aishuu Date" (Sorrowful Date). The notable thing was that it served as Toshihiko Tahara's(田原俊彦)debut single, released in June 1980.

Quite the revelation for me since although I was never a big fan of Toshi-chan, I have heard of some of his big hits during the 1980s such as the cutely jazzy "Hatto Shite! Good"(ハッとして!Good)and the dynamic "Dakishimete Tonight"(抱きしめてTONIGHT). "Aishuu Date" is a title that I've seen in various magazine articles and other write-ups for one-third of the Tanokin Trio but never listened to until a couple of days ago. Garrett's "New York City Nights" may not have stormed up the Billboard charts and did merely OK on Oricon, but its slightly mellower arrangement as "Aishuu Date" rang some bells since Tahara had already made some inroads as a teen actor before making his debut behind a mike.

The song may have a little more of the edge off here than in the original by Garrett but it seems to fit the City Pop aesthetic quite nicely here with that sunset-y disco. Tahara never struck me as a great singer but the original recorded version isn't too bad. And certainly, the listening public was a lot more generous than I am when the single came out. It actually hit No. 2 on Oricon and ended 1980 as the 10th-ranked single, selling almost 720,000 records. According to J-Wiki, it still remains his most successful single.

That punched Tahara his first ticket onto the Kohaku Utagassen for 1980 in the top batter's spot and launched the musical part of his career rather successfully. Just to give credit where credit is due, Andrew Joseph DiTaranto and Guy Hemric were the original songwriters for "New York City Nights" and Kazuko Kobayashi(小林和子)provided the Japanese lyrics for Toshi.

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