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.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Kenji Sawada -- Ai no Toubousha THE FUGITIVE(愛の逃亡者)

Does anyone remember "The Fugitive"? No, not the 1993 film with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones (although that speech that the latter gives to the troops to go find Dr. Kimble still kills). I'm talking way back to the 1960s to the original TV series starring David Janssen and Barry Morse. As a kid, I used to see the reruns on regular TV rather than on the oldies specialty channels. Although I don't remember ever seeing the 1967 final episode in its first run, I finally did catch Part 2 of "The Judgment" many years later and read that it became the most-watched episode in U.S. TV history, a record that it held for over a decade. I think I even became a bit verklempt in the very final scene of that final episode!

It's been 37 years since I first heard of the flamboyant Kenji Sawada(沢田研二), and yet he still continues to surprise me. He always impressed me as someone who went to the beat of his own drum, and now I found out that he had a song in the early 1970s that he did completely in English as his 11th single (November 1974) and as the title track for his 6th album, recorded in London.

Titled "Ai no Toubousha" (Fugitive of Love), the song has that mix of reggae and exotic Asian as if Sawada had meant it to be recorded for a Bruce Lee film. According to the J-Wiki article, the "Woo Ha" vocal effects were supposedly inspired by Lee as well, although I did hear them being used in Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang" from 1960. And in the J-Pop world, they were used again for Morning Musume's(モーニング娘。)"Koi no Dance Site"(恋のダンスサイト).

"Ai no Toubousha" was written by Tony Weddington and Wayne Bickerton, and composed by Arthur Greenslade with the single released not only in Japan but also throughout Europe. I can only describe it as one cool song with a layer of mystique, and who better to sing of the life of a fugitive than a rebel like Sawada? The single went as high as No. 12 while the album peaked at No. 22.

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