Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Decisive Battle (of Musical Trivia)

Fellow nerds, help me out.

So I like Pink Lady, the Japanese duo who scored big in the late 70s and early 80s and, as I noted in a now-years-old post, ultimately wound up on a variety show on NBC despite the fact that neither member spoke English. (It’s quite the story, actually. Do click through to the original post, if you value from truly bizarre east-meets-west pop culture fusion.) And I recently happened upon a cache of Pink Lady videos on YouTube and caught the follwing rendition of “Southpaw.”

The music at the beginning — from 0:07 onward especially — reminded me of a Final Fantasy battle theme, but I can’t remember which. I can hear it in my head, but I just can’t place the game it came from. I poked around some more on YouTube and ended up with what seems to be a remade, hyped-up version of one of the original NES Final Fantasy tracks.

And this is pretty close, I guess, but the thing is I never played this glossy version of the original Final Fantasy. So is this it? Or is it a different battle theme I’m thinking of? If it is, in fact, this Final Fantasy 1 song, I’m guessing that the game music was a tribute to Pink Lady, since “Southpaw” came out in 1978, nine years before Final Fantasy taught the world about Red Mages and Bahamut. I eagerly await your thoughtful responses on this most urgent matter.

In testament to the greatness of Pink Lady, I’ll point out that they’re one of only two Japanese artists to ever appear on the American Billboard Top 40, the other being Kyu Sakamoto, whose 1961 globe-spanning hit found considerable success in the U.S. as “Sukiyaki.” (The song’s path from a tearful Japanese song to an American hit about a stewed beef dish made for another previous post on this blog, by the way.) Here’s that one American-approved Pink Lady song, “Kiss in the Dark”:

Clearly, it did well with the disco crowd. It’s all the more impressive to me because the Pink Lady singers were singing the translated, English lyrics phonetically. Truthfully, they hadn’t a clue what they were saying, not that their performance reflects this.

But yes — nerds? What say you?

Video games and pop music, previously:

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