July 26, 2018

Kazuya Kosaka

One of the rewards of listening to the Gold(en oldies) channel on J1 Radio is hearing covers of songs that catch you totally by surprise. Flash back to the late 1950s and early 1960s when Japan's first television stations were going on the air. They licensed Hollywood productions to fill in their program schedules. And still do.

(I've had trouble of late getting the J1 Radio app to work on my Roku. J1 Radio is also available on the free version of the TuneIn app.)

Westerns were a staple of American television at the time, and so the genre naturally became a staple of Japanese television. Rawhide was a big hit. During a February 1962 publicity tour, Clint Eastwood, Paul Brinegar, and Eric Fleming met the Japanese press at the Palace Hotel in Tokyo.

It was only a matter of time before Japanese musicians began performing Western music and rockabilly. Kazuya Kosaka & The Wagon Masters not only covered the hits but reinterpreted them as well. I can't find Kosaka's cover of the Rawhide theme song (in Japanese) on YouTube. Here is his version of "Jailhouse Rock."

Kazuya Kosaka is probably better remembered today in Japan for his long career in movies and television.

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