30 Years of an “Overnight Success”

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January 21, 1985.

Do you remember what you were doing that day? Do you recall what you bought? Did you, by any chance, buy Teri DeSario’s new album “Overnight Success”? Probably not, if you lived in any part of the world that’s not Japan, as the album and its tie-in singles were only released there.

However, you might have heard of Teri DeSario as she is no stranger to the American music scene. In the late 1970s, she was popular at many dance clubs when her disco-themed debut album “Pleasure Train” was released. The first single from the album, “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Keep Me from You”, was a minor hit as it reached #77 on the US charts. “Pleasure Train” also marked the start of a long-standing musical relationship between DeSario and Joey Carbone (who I mentioned earlier this month with the Bay Canyons post).

A hit single came in 1980 when she released the single “Yes, I’m Ready” with K.C from the KC and the Sunshine Band. The single went to #2 on Billboard’s Top 100 chart, only being outranked by Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Sadly, disco music began to fade out from the American popular music scene soon after the single was released. Her record company persuaded DeSario to adapt to more of a female rock sound and copy the likes of Pat Benatar for her third album, “Caught”. With little promotion and a genre change, “Caught” was met with poor sales, causing DeSario to bounce from one musical genre to another.

When Desario started to work on her seventh studio album, she decided to go back to the genre that helped her to achieve fame; disco. Her record company knew that Japan was the place to make her a star once again. The reason was that disco didn’t really fade out from the Japanese music industry during that time, unlike in America. Instead, it kept on evolving and changing. However, the disco found in Japan during the mid-1980s wasn’t the same kind of disco that was found in the 1970s from the acts of Earth, Wind, and Fire, Donna Summers, Jackson 5, and so on. It was completely different as this type of disco came from the idea of Italo disco; which was a heavy electronic, high energy dance genre from Italy. Some famous Italo disco songs were Baltimora’s “Tarzan Boy”, Laura Branigan’s “Self Control”, and Sabrina’s “Boys”  If you don’t know these songs, you can get a taste of Italo disco with this wonderful compilation on Youtube.

DeSario asked Joey Carbone to help write and performed on several tracks for her new album. She also enlisted the aid of guitarist Richie Zito, who worked with artists like Toni Basil, Cheap Trick, Ratt, and others.* Released on January 21, 1985, “Overnight Success” was a huge hit in Japan as it charted #48 on the yearly Oricon chart.

To kick things off, the team picked the high energy, feel good title song to be the first track on the album  The song starts off with an innocent crystallized keyboard sound and a solid bass drum beat for a few seconds. Then, with a small lead in, the guitar and synthesizer come roaring in to set up the song. These instruments provide the energy while DeSario’s voice and the song’s uplifting lyrics supply the raw power. The lyrics are about dealing with the struggles and the hard times that one may face while not forgetting about the dreams and determinations that one holds. Because, these are “the key to your happiness” and gives anyone the power to succeed. Yes, you might have heard these themes countless times before in other songs. But, what makes “Overnight Success” a unique song is how the lyrics are interpreted by DeSario’s way of singing. You can feel the song’s passion, determination, dreams, and strength by just listening to Teri.

The music video’s story is very charming, inspiring, and even makes you experience nostalgia with that 80s fashion. Those workout outfit! Ahhh, the horror! Besides the video’s fashion, it  includes this “once young” actor who is now referred to as “McDreamy” and has starred in countless TV shows and movies like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Enchanted”.

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A cute video, right? Here is the 12″ remix of the title song:

Happy 30th Anniversary, “Overnight Success”! You may be a bit outdated. But, that has never stop you to be a rare find and an excellent album to listen to. May you continue to inspire others to never give up their dreams and find their “key to happiness”.

*Fun Fact for all those anime buffs out there: Joey Carbone and Richie Zito would later compose the soundtrack for the 1986 anime “Project A-Ko”. Isn’t that cool?

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Bay Canyons – “Runaway Emotion”

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Happy Saturday everyone! Let’s kick back and relax with the Japanese idol group Bay Canyons (ベイキャニオンズ). The all-female idol group was formed in 1997 to promote the Fuji TV show “dai ba:ba”. The meaning of the group’s name, according to Wikipedia, is about the “cleavage of Odaiba”. Woah, talk about being a bit risque there. However, at that time, most of the members were gravure idols; a type of idol that you will usually see in swimsuits on those racy magazines, books, and other printed media at the adult section of your local Seven Eleven or bookstore. The group did release their own photobook in 1997, titled “Bay Canyons Shashinshuu”. I don’t know if it’s really racy or not because I haven’t been able to track down that rare treasure. But, I could say that I have successfully found their only single, “Runway Emotion”, which was released a month earlier.

Bay Canyons were sadly a one-time group as they either broke up when their sponsorship with “dai ba:ba” ended or stopped activities whenever they finished promoting their single. Don’t get too sad! We can still enjoy their now “historical” official homepage. Putting all jokes beside, a few girls went on to do other family friendly entertainment after the end of Bay Canyons. Kokubu Sachiko has acted in various films and television dramas like “Nurse no Oshigoto” (with a legendary idol, Mizuki Alisa), SAI-REN, and others. Other members joined groups like Hipp’s (which was another TV idol group sponsored by “THE Yoru Hippare’), Liberty’s Girls, and VENUS.

“Runway Emotion” is one of those typical pop songs from the 90s. It has the unison group parts, non-group members’ harmonies, crushing guitar riffs from time to time, and the overuse of the crystallized keyboard sound. Not to mention that the song was composed by Joey Carbone, who has written many hit songs over the past twenty or so years for artists like Hello!Project, Johnny’s (remember KAT-TUN’S “Signal”?), Crystal Kay, Koyanagi Yuki, and many others. The height of his career was in the 90s, at the same as Bay Canyons’ formation. Maybe, the song carried a bit of Joey’s musical charm? I’m not sure exactly. But, I’m positive that the pre-chorus and chorus are pretty catchy with its cascading melodies and pleasant resolutions. Even though “Runway Emotion” is not a grade A song, it definitely has its own charms in a unique approach.

You can watch a small performance here:

http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm12936865

Don’t worry, there is nothing racy about the performance, It’s just a bunch of girls in black dresses, dancing and singing. And maybe swaying hips.

You can also listen to the song here.

More information can be found at:

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Japanese Wikipedia


Lyrics

Everytime itsudatte anata wo miteita

Hitokomi ni magirate mo sugu ni miteiru

⊗ Murime no koi datte minna warau kedo (Who knows)

Dokoka dakyou nanka shite hito wa aisenai

♥ Dakara Runaway Runaway Emotion Runaway

Dakedo Futari deatta koto sore ga unmei dakara Runaway

Everything sono koe ga kikenai yoru ni wa

Kimochi wa sora wo koe tsukamae ni yukou

Ima betsu no dareka wo anata ga suki demo (Oh boy)

Tatoe senaka nanka chotto mukerareta tte

Repeat ♥

@ Ai wa Runaway Runaway Emotion Runaway

Tsuyoku motto anata wo furimukasetai kara Runway

Runway

Repeat ⊗

Repeat ♥

Repeat @