Showing posts with label Kyu Sakamoto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kyu Sakamoto. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Foreign Songs Become English Hits (Part I)

It is a well-known fact that countless 60s popular and classical music from foreign countries become English language hits in the UK, US and other parts of the world. This posting will focus on some of these classics. We start in Asia.

MANDARIN: Rose, Rose, I Love You is an English adaptation of the Mandarin song, Méigui Méigui Wǒ Ai Ni by Yao Li (1940s), the only song written by a Chinese to become a major English language chart hit.

The English lyrics were written by a British DJ, Wilfred Thomas and recorded by 50s pop singer Frankie Laine and the Norman Luboff Choir, with Paul Weston and his Orchestra in 1951. The song, with different English lyrics, was also covered in the UK by Petula Clark (1951) and by Kyu Sakamoto (1960s).

JAPANESE: The second Asian song, Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto went to the top in 1963. So far, this is the only song by a Japanese singer to hit the ceiling in the U.S. The Japanese title is Ue O Muite Aruko, which means I Look Up When I Walk. It is definitely a Singaporean favourite even till today. The Blue Diamonds (Holland) recorded it with English lyrics in 1963 and personally, is one of the best versions!

FILIPINO: Another Asian pop classic, the very famous, Anak (1971) or child is a Tagalog song written and sung by Filipino folk-singer Freddie Aguilar. It has been translated to over a hundred local and international languages. The English version, by Aguilar, is a direct translation of the original and should not be missed by anyone who loves a beautiful rendition of an exceptionally sad song.

Image: google

Information: Wikipedia Songs

Original Article: Andy Lim

Thursday, September 17, 2009

(H) Hotel Reservations Ariverdeci Roma Brazil Auf Weidersehn'n

The montage above comes from an EMI/Electrola Long Play F665 524 called, Dance Around The World In SRS Hotels. According to the back cover the reservation service connects customers to more than 100 leadings hotels. The music, from 22 selections, features some of the most popular melodies in the 50s and 60s.

The songs, some of which are familiar with Singaporeans include, Zorba's Dance, The Kangaroo Flop, Limbo Rock, Hare Krishna, Arrividerci Roma, Brazil, French Cancan, Auf Weidersehn'n, Pata Pata and surprise, surprise, Kyu Sakamoto's (image), Sukiyaki and Singapura sung by one Imca Marina and composed by John Mohring.

The Orchestras are pretty well-known in Europe then, Hugo Strasser's and Harry Roche's. It may take a while to sort out the other faces on the montage. Anyone familiar with the personalities?

Image/original article: Andy Lim Collection.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Sukiyaki Kyu Sakamoto US/Japanese 60s Music

Singaporeans still remember the song today but some do not know the history behind this international 60s hit. It was number one in 1963 for Kyu Sakamoto and 6 weeks on the US Chart.

The song was initially released in Japan in 1961, and after a British record company heard the Japanese version, had one of their artistes record it under the title Sukiyaki, a title which had absolutely nothing to do with the song. Again, the yearning for anything Eastern struck a chord with the West because Sukiyaki is actually a Japanese beef meal, popular in the west.

The actual title is Ueo Muite Arukou which means, "I Look Up When I Walk". It tipped the US chart because a disc jockey, Rich Osborne (KORD radio) in Washington State, who heard the British version, had started playing the original record by Sakamoto.

Sakamoto, born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1941, died in a crash on Japan Airlines 747, flight 123 near Tokyo on August 12, 1985. He called his wife two minutes before the crash to say goodbye. 43 years old at the time of his death, he made his debut in show business in 1960.

Sakamoto was also known as Kyu Chan for his charming smile and sincere nature. He recorded many other songs which became just as popular at home and internationally but Sukiyaki remains the biggest international hit by a Japanese singer to this day.

Many artistes have covered it in Japanese, English, French, Dutch and the artistes include, The Blue Diamonds, The Fabulous Echoes and others. Lyricist is Rokusuke Ei and music by Hachidai Nakamura.
(1) Info: Kazuyo Yoshida/Yumiko Hosokawa Website - 1995.
(2) Image:
Original article: Andy Lim Collection.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Ruud de Wolff (12.5.41) and Riem de Wolff (15.4.43) who were born in Indonesia migrated to Holland in 1949 and made their first recording (image above) singing, 'I Kissed You'. They scored many hits until 1971 and performed all the way to the 90s until elder brother Ruud died on 18th December, 2000. He was about 60. Younger brother Riem is still recording with a supporting band and son Steffen calling themselves The New Diamonds.

One thing is certain the brothers have a distinctive sound and it made all the difference. Although they have appeared on numerous occasions in Singapore, I never had the opportunity to see or hear them perform live but the first time I heard 'Ramona' I went all the way to Kwang Sia Record Shop at North Bridge Road to buy it.

These important years for Singapore pop had vocal groups of duets, trios and even quartets on stage. I remember The Three Bambinos. Do you?

Why were the brothers' names never revealed on the Fontana Records cover of the above pressing? Just starting out perhaps?

*'Ramona' reached American Billboard Hot 100.

* lst on Dutch & German charts.

*'Little Ship' (1961, Doc Pomus/Doug Shuman) is an original. Never recorded by others.

* 'Sukiyaki' (Kyu Sakamoto's Jap hit but sung in English).