Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hibari Misora

Artist: Hibari Misora
LP: 7" single
Song: "The Soba Song" 
[ listen ]

This 1954 various-artists 7" EP containing Japanese hits of the time is another one of the things I found at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Bremerton a few weeks ago. "The Soba Song" by Hibari Misora provides a glimpse into what American country music might have sounded like in the 1950s if the Mayflower had been filled with Japanese pilgrims instead of British ones. (Anyone know how to say "Manifest Destiny" in Japanese?) Born in Yokohama, Japan in 1937, Hibari Misora (meaning "lark in the beautiful sky") became a national sensation in Japan after WWII with the help of her hit single "Kappa Boogie-Woogie" (河童ブギウギ) in 1949. She went on to a brilliant musical recording career, and also starred in over 160 motion pictures! Like other celebrities before her and after, Hibari had to endure the ritual of being attacked by an over-zealous fan who threw hydrochloric acid on her—a sort of rite-of-passage, I suppose. Sadly, Hibari died from pneumonia in 1989 at the age of 52. Each year on her birthday as a show of respect, Japanese TV and radio stations play 川の流れのように, one of her most popular songs. You can read more about Hibari Misora on Wikipedia here and "The Soba Song" lyrics are included below.

[ Hibari Misora: May 29, 1937 — June 24, 1989 ]

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