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.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Zuutorubi -- Mikan Iro no Koi(みかん色の恋)

TV Japan has the venerable rakugo comedy battle series "Shoten"(笑点)on Sunday nights at 9:15 as opposed to its original running time of 5:30 on that same day (the TV Japan broadcasts are about 3 months behind). I do watch it and although there are times when I don't quite understand the humour due to language difficulties, it's still pretty fun. Of course, along with the regular rakugo storytellers and the host Shota Shunpuutei(春風亭昇太), there is the frizzy-headed man in red, rakugo-ka Takao Yamada(山田隆夫), who is always introduced last, as the smiling guy who takes care of the giving and taking away of the zabuton cushions depending on how his fellows do. Occasionally, Yamada even throws in some punishment if one of them takes a verbal poke at him.

Basically, that's all I had known about Tanaka up to now.

But then I discovered this song on YouTube recently and realized that Yamada had been a 1970s teenybopper in his own aidoru group called Zuutorubi(ずうとるび). Incidentally, the idea for this group to form came straight from an old segment right in "Shoten". Apparently, Yamada had actually been part of the junior brigade of the joking rakugo-ka lineup and since he earned the win with ten zabuton literally under him, he got to make his own aidoru group.

In February 1974, Yamada as side guitar/vocal along with lead guitar/lead vocal Hirotoshi Eto(江藤博利), drummer Yasuhiro Arai(新井康弘), and bassist/vocal Yoshiki Imamura(今村良樹)released their debut single, "Toumei Ningen"(透明人間...Invisible Man)which was written and composed by Yamada. The above here, though, is their 3rd single, "Mikan Iro no Koi" (Orange Love) which came out in November the same year. Written by Fumiko Okada(岡田冨美子)and composed by Juichi Sase(佐瀬寿一), "Mikan Iro no Koi" is a sparkly and cheerful 70s pop tune about a fellow pretty much promising the moon and perhaps several other planetary bodies for the love of his life. It did quite well on the charts, hitting No. 14 on Oricon. 

Yamada actually left Zuutorubi in 1977 after which he was replaced by Yoshihiko Ikeda(池田善彦). Up to their final days in 1980, the group released 18 singles and 9 original albums with 4 BEST compilations. They even appeared on the Kohaku Utagassen once in 1975. As for the weird name, the group said that it was formed by just sorta flipping around the kana in the Japanese transcription of The Beatles(ビートルズ). Personally, I had been a bit excited since I'd thought that Zuutorubi was going to end up as the final word in Labels, but alas, I forgot that the band ZYYG was there.

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