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, January 30, 2018

Off Course -- I Love You

A bit of a coincidence but I was having lunch at Touhenboku Ramen today in midtown with a couple of friends and mentioned in passing that "Kayo Kyoku Plus" would be celebrating its 6th anniversary any day now. Well, it turns out that TODAY is the 6th anniversary! So let us give a brief celebration.

Thank you, Fred, Barney and...police officers (although we all know this was for Wilma).

So, what song would be the one to commemorate the 6th? Actually, I had been thinking about this one for about a week and I have realized that it meshes quite well since the very first article I wrote for "Kayo Kyoku Plus" was for a male singer's hit song in 1981: Jun Horie's(堀江淳)"Memory Glass"(メモリーグラス). And as veteran readers for the blog may already know, that year was the year that all of the switches within me were turned on permanently when it came to my love for Japanese music (and music in general).

Therefore, I'm going to go with another 1981 song that was yet another hit for the band Off Course(オフコース). I had assumed that I had already covered "I Love You" sometime in the past 6 years since the group's 21st single from June of that year has become one of their mainstays. But as I have come to realize, there are songs that have managed to slip through the cracks of my memory so catching up is warranted for me.

The very first version of "I Love You", which was written and composed by Kazumasa Oda(小田和正), that I heard was through one of Off Course's compilations (not the one pictured at the top). Apparently, that BEST album decided to include the version that was performed live at the Budokan in 1982.

That Budokan performance still remains my favourite take by Off Course for "I Love You" since it is performed very intimately (despite the thousands of fans in the audience). I mean, the recorded version is fine but compared to the concert take, it comes off as being a little too bouncy. What really made the performance special was how Oda whispered off the lyrics "I Love You"; that must have gotten the fans weeping up a storm.

But in the Budokan performance and the recorded version that I have on the CD pictured at the top "Off Course -- Single A-Side Collection", one thing that intrigued me was the barely audible English voices during the instrumental break before the final verse. I had kinda figured from how they sounded that they must have been radio announcers. Well, looking up the J-Wiki article on "I Love You", I found out that the voices were indeed announcers reporting the death of John Lennon in 1980. As I said, the versions that I have really muted down the narration but the one video at the top has it played at full volume although it is just a male announcer. According to J-Wiki, there was one take with a female and then male voice doing the reports that was recorded onto the single version. I'm assuming then that the male-only announcer version was the album version for Off Course's 10th album "I LOVE YOU" from July 1982. Perhaps then the version with the barely audible announcements could have been the very first recording of the ballad on their 2nd BEST compilation, "SELECTION 1978-81" from September 1981.

In any case, it's all good for me. The single version for "I Love You" made it up to No. 6 on Oricon later becoming the 81st-ranked single for 1981. The 1982 "I LOVE YOU" album hit the top spot and was even the 8th-ranked album for that year while "SELECTION 1978-81" was also another No. 1 hit. That album also did very well in the yearly rankings as it scored No. 15 in 1981 and then No. 33 in 1982. While I'm at it, I should mention about the very first Off Course song that I wrote about, the classic "Aki no Kehai"(秋の気配)from 1977.

Now that we have reached 6 years, again let me give my gratitude to all those who have been helping out on the blog: fellow veteran collaborators Marcos V. and Noelle Tham along with collaborators such as T-cat, Karen, Francium and Larry Chan, and those who have contributed in the past such as JTM and nikala. Of course, I also appreciate the commenters and all of those who have dropped in to see what's been going on from time to time on the blog, even if it is just for a minute. It's been fun and let's see how much further "Kayo Kyoku Plus" takes all of us.


  1. Happy Anniversary to you J-C ! This may be fun but it's obviously a labor of love. I would never have found half the music I have without your site (although I'd have about 400,000 Y more in the bank). Not only the music but the personal and contextual background make for both great reading and listening. The best I can say is, looking at the sidebar of artists - you have done them all proud. Every one. Thank you ........

  2. Hi, J-Canuck, and happy anniversary!

    I concur with T-Cat; I got to know a good number of hidden gems and genres that I hadn't been aware of - e.g. new music - from the articles here. T'was also where I developed my taste for "hardcore enka".:) I'm really glad that you've created this outlet where people worldwide can share and discuss their passion for Japanese music. I know it sounds sappy, but it did make me feel better and a lot less reserved about my interests as, well, I don't feel like the only one who likes this sort of stuff anymore. Thanks, good sir, and to everyone else that has made KKP what it is today!

  3. Hello, T-cat and Noelle!

    Thanks very kindly. I've really appreciated your help and comments over the years, and yup, it's been a labour of love for me since 2012. Indeed, one of my main goals for the blog was to find other folks who liked the old stuff and happily, I've been able to succeed on that note very well. All the best to all of us!

  4. Hi, JC.

    Belated congratulations on the 6th anniversary of your blog!

    Speaking of Kazumasa Oda, I just happen to be looking through some videos ranking the singing prowess of Japanese male singers. Notwithstanding the subjectivity of such rankings, a few names routinely appear and Oda is always amongst the top ranked ones. Guess it is no wonder, given his crystal clear and powerful vocals. I really like his Sayonara, it’s the type of song that remains in my head, in a good way. And Of Course ;) I can find the review of the song here, as I had before with many other songs that I like.

    With over 4000 (!) articles on your blog, it is really wonderful to see that you are still going strong with the new articles. Here's to many more anniversaries to come!

    1. Hi, Francium. Good to hear from you again and thanks for the good wishes.

      I gather that Oda has appeal throughout the generations for the pop music that he's brought and evolved over the decades. I hope that he can still keep performing for the foreseeable future.

      Let's see how this year progresses. Hopefully we can still talk about stuff for the rest of this year.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.