Credits

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.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Eikichi Yazawa -- Jikan yo Tomare (時間よ止まれ)


Earlier today, I wrote my own article on the works of lyricist Keisuke Yamakawa(山川啓介)who had passed away late last month and mentioned that there were a few songs of his that I wanted to devote full articles to instead of just inserting them into the tribute since they were so good.


This is one of them. Furthermore, it's the one other song that was mentioned in the news reports as one of Yamakawa's representative works alongside Hiromi Iwasaki's(岩崎宏美)hit "Madonna Tachi no Lullaby"(聖母たちのララバイ). As I mentioned in the only article that I had ever devoted to Eikichi Yazawa(矢沢永吉), "Somebody's Night", that was the only Yazawa song that I knew up to now and it rather defined my impression of him: cool and tough with a predilection for nighttime activities.

So it was a tad surprising and refreshing to find out that a little over a decade before that song came out, Yazawa had an even bigger hit with his 5th single from March 1978, "Jikan yo Tomare" ( Hey Time, Stop!). I may have heard it before briefly way back in the past....I'm not sure. However, the important thing is that hearing it (again) now, I really like this one.


Even back then, Yazawa had that cool and caressing voice. But for "Jikan yo Tomare", there is indeed that summery daytime atmosphere attached compared to the evening of "Somebody's Night". In fact, the setting for the song has got to be the beach under clear skies. Yazawa himself came up with the oh-so-relaxing melody with Yamakawa writing the lyrics of pleading for time to stop at this perfect moment of weather, place and the girl of one's dreams. Can't say it's a rock tune...it's more on some mellow Margueritaville pop trip.

According to the J-Wiki write-up, Yazawa was backed up by some heavy duty musicians: Ryuichi Sakamoto(坂本龍一)on keyboards, Yukihiro Takahashi(高橋幸宏)on drums (both from Yellow Magic Orchestra) and Tsugutoshi Goto(後藤次利)on bass. "Jikan yo Tomare" hit some good vibes among the listeners since it would hit No. 1 and stay there for 3 straight weeks, eventually becoming a million-seller and ending up as the 9th-ranked single of the year.

The song was also a track on his 4th album "Gold Rush" from June 1978. It also hit No. 1 on Oricon and according to Daisuke Kawasaki's(川崎大助)2015 book "Nihon no Rock Meiban Best 100"(日本のロック名盤ベスト100...Japan's Famous Rock Recordings Best 100), "Gold Rush" was selected as No. 5 on the list.

To wrap up, according to the J-Wiki article (originally from an NHK-FM program on May 5th 2014) for "Jikan yo Tomare", Yamakawa had received the demo tape of Yazawa singing the song in English for which Yamakawa and a few other lyricists changed the lyrics into Japanese. Yamakawa remarked on hearing the Japanese version that he would have loved to have sung it himself, and realizing that feeling, he also realized that coming up with the lyrics was hard but enjoyable. Perhaps that was how he had felt when it came to his whole career.

5 comments:

  1. Yazawa is a legend.

    Anyway, I wanted to ask if you have ever written something about Akihiro Miwa...

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    1. Hello there.

      Indeed, Yazawa merely holding that mike stand with the scarf draped around his neck is legendary.:) Are you a big fan of Miwa?

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  2. not a fan, I barely know him. I was looking for a guide, because his production is huge and it covers such a big time lapse... I don't know where to start. Are you planning to write something about him?

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    1. Hi again. I hadn't been planning to write anything about him since I'm not a fan of any of his songs. However, I did come across something that might be interesting...one of his early singles, actually.

      To be honest, I think he's a bit of an acquired taste. He has appeared on the Kohaku Utagassen a few times, and for me, whenever he has appeared, he basically brought any energy on the show to a screeching halt. I actually prefer his straight-and-simple chanson tunes.

      I usually see him on Japanese variety shows where he doesn't hesitate to give straight opinions on anything. And even on one show, he very angrily chastised one young TV personality for an opinion he found blatantly stupid, although I think that's fairly rare.

      If you can punch in his kanji name 美輪明宏 into YouTube, you'll come across a few of his songs such as "Méqué méqué" (メケ・メケ) that you can try out.

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  3. Well, there goes another songwriter. Not very familiar with Keisuke Yamakawa's works, but I do recall seeing his name from time to time. May he rest in peace.

    As for "Jikan yo Tomare", I don't know Eikichi Yazawa that well either but, from my impression of the guy, I wasn't expecting to hear something as mellow as this from him. Perhaps its because of the smooth notes from the sax, but "Jikan yo Tomare" feels more like a dusk song to me. It gives me the image of a couple watching the sunset with the orangey sky and sea. Nevertheless, I think this is a good find.

    Gotta say Yazawa's aged well. He looks pretty fine in that second video.

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