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, February 4, 2021

Spoons -- Nova Heart


Welcome to another Thursday ROY article to start things off for this broadcasting day.

From the time that I've started this category of Reminiscings of Youth where I talk about some of the non-Japanese pop songs that came into my ears and life, and make that superficial comparison with what was showing up on Oricon or being released as singles in Japan, I've been covering a lot of my favourite 70s and 80s tunes from the United States and the United Kingdom. However, strangely enough, I had yet to do anything about the songs of my youth from my own country of Canada.

Well, one of the finest examples of our Canadian humour came from the beloved show "SCTV" that had its run in those 70s and 80s. In a long-running satirical gag about fulfilling the need to provide Canadian content on the show, the producers and cast came up with "Great White North" (which is why I've often referred to my nation as the Great White North in past articles from time to time), a two-minute vignette featuring a couple of hoseheads, the brothers Bob and Doug McKenzie, spouting off on various Canadian concepts. Even surprising the guys who had played the McKenzies, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, the skit became a huge hit on both sides of the US/Canada border, and for a while at least, terms such as the aforementioned "hosehead", "beauty, eh?" and "take off" merged into the pop culture vernacular. Up to my final days in Japan, there were people meeting me for the first time who when discovering where I was from, gave the secondary greeting of "How's it going, eh?" along with "Must be cold up there".

In the interests of providing Canadian content then, I bring you Spoons' "Nova Heart", a May 1982 release. Now, who are the Spoons? Well, the original band formed in 1979 in Burlington, Ontario, just to the west of Toronto and consisted of guitarist/lead vocalist Gordon Deppe, bassist Sandy Horne, keyboardist Brett Wickens and drummer Peter Shepherd, and I found out through their Wikipedia entry that they got the name for the band from all of the members sharing some alphabet soup and then suddenly staring at their spoons (ahhh...the magic of alphabet soup!).

Apparently, Spoons initially reflected their love for prog rock band such as Genesis (in the 1970s) but due to a lack of interest from audiences, they decided to go for something more pop and New Wave, and that's where I first found "Nova Heart". At the time, I'd just fallen for kayo kyoku after the trip to Japan in 1981 along with a suddenly ravenous interest in pop music (especially songs that included those analog synthesizers) in general thanks to music videos. So, the video for "Nova Heart" with its dreamy images (and the dreamy beauty of bassist Horne), the distinctive delivery by vocalist Deppe, and the mesmerizing synthpop arrangement immediately got my attention. 

For a fellow who got all into technopop (Soft Cell, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, etc.) thanks to Yellow Magic Orchestra, hearing a local band embracing a somewhat similar sound was manna from heaven for me. "Nova Heart" did moderately well on the RPM charts by coming in at No. 40, but the song itself has lasted in my memories for about 40 years now. The song was also a track on Spoons' 1982 album "Arias & Symphonies".

Now, what got released in May 1982 in Japan?

Meiko Nakahara - Konya Dake Dance Dance Dance (今夜だけDance Dance Dance)

Motoharu Sano -- Sugar Time

Chiemi Manabe -- Nerawareta Shoujo(ねれわれた少女)

To finish off, here's some more Canadiana with "Hinterland Who's Who", an animal-based PSA that was playing throughout my childhood on the television in the 1960s and 1970s. You have a good day, eh?

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