Sunday, August 17, 2008

U.K. 1968: Congratulations, コングラチュレーションズ

Kyu Sakamoto (1941 - 1985) is one of the most popular singers of all times in Japan. Even though his life came to an early end in a plane crash over 20 years ago he is remembered as one of the most popular singers in Japanese pop music, and the first Japanese singer who took one of his songs to international fame.

The song Ue O Muite Arukō (上を向いて歩こう) originally from 1961, became Sukiyaki to the world and it was a world wide hit in 1963. It reached the #1 spot in the US Billboard top 100. There are many coverversions of the song including another US top 3 hit by Taste Of Honey (1981), A European hit for the Blue Diamonds who recorded Dutch and German, a version by Canadienne Lucille Starr and one by ill fated Selena (who also a tragic death, way too young, see comments).

But Sukiyaki isn't a Eurovision song, and even though Eurovision expands to the east faster than Usain Bolt, it's not likely Japan will be giving us their poing anytime soon.

So better get to the point: Kyu Sakamoto recorded a Japanese version of the happy birthday evergreen Congratulations, the #2 of the 1968 contest originally by Cliff Richard. Cliff was robbed of the first place by Massiel and her La La La and allegedly general Franco.
Sir Cliffs career is as old as Volare this year and he will kick off on a celebratory tour later this year. So Sir Cliff, here's to you, コングラチュレーションズ.

I've compiled another list (I love lists) of all the Japanese Eurovision covers I know of. It includes details on:
- all versions in Japanese by original Eurovision singers
- all coverversions in Japanese
- all coverversions by Japanese artists
with picture sleeves for your viewing pleasure
It has been an ongoing puzzle for several years and I don't claim it's in anyway conclusive or correct, so any additions, comments and corrections are very welcome.
You can download the file (word.doc) here: Big In Japan / Big In Japan


Maj said...

Selena did not die in a plane crash.

She was brutally shot in the back by the president of her fan club.

Eurocovers said...

Thanks for your comment, Sorry for that mix up, I changed it in the article.