Sunday, September 1, 2013

"Sukiyaki" by A Taste of Honey

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  0521
Date:  03/07/1981
Debut:  83
Peak:  3
Weeks:  24
Genre:  Pop, R&B, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  This LA group floated around the club scene and did USO tours before finally landing a contract with Capitol Records. The two woman/two man group hit huge immediately with their classic disco song "Boogie Oogie Oogie" (#1, 1978), which secured them the Grammy for Best New Artist (beating out nominees like Elvis Costello, The Cars, and Toto). Unfortunately, things quickly cooled for the group and their next album couldn't maintain the momentum. As 1980 came in, the group pared down to just the two ladies and they released the album "Twice As Sweet." Initially, the platter couldn't muster up a hit, but then this ballad was issued and it got them back near the top of the chart (and #1 R&B).

ReduxReview:  I thought it was a brilliant idea to take the mid-tempo original (see below) and turn it into this lovely ballad. The arrangement evokes the original's origins and makes it sound fresh. I still think it sounds great doesn't really scream the 80s. It's not a song you hear often these days and I think it kind of got lost along the way. It's too bad because it is quite a nice song.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of Kyu Sakamoto's #1 hit in 1963. That original version, sung in Japanese, still remains the only Japanese language song to hit #1. The real title of the song is "Ue O Muite Aruko," but for English speaking countries it was changed to "Sukiyaki" because it was catchy and a Japanese word most folks had heard. However, the word has nothing to do with the song lyrics (especially since sukiyaki is a Japanese food entree). The Taste of Honey version is not a translation of the original song either, but new lyrics written by group member Janice Johnson.


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