CULTURAL REINTERPRETATION
OF POPULAR MUSIC : THE CASE
OF JAPANESE/AMERICAN COVER
SONGS
Judy Yoneoka
Kumamoto Gakuen University [email protected]
www.kumagaku.ac.jp/teacher/~judy
IAWE Oct. 7, 2006
Chukyo University
Introduction
♫ A short history of cover music in Japan
♫ Covering: copy or re-creation?
♫ Processes of hybridization in cover music
(with examples)
A brief history of cover music in
Japan
Rockabilly and Group Sounds
1950’s - 60’s
♫ 1950s- early 60s “Rockabilly”
♫ Tennessee Waltz
♫ Heartbreak Hotel
♫ Great Balls of Fire
♫ Que Sera Sera
♫ From 1964 “Group Sounds”
♫ Beatles cover groups = The Tigers, the Blue Comets,
the Spiders, the Carnabeats, etc.
♫ The Monkees = the Timers
•
http://nippop.com/artist/artist_id-204/artist_name-the_tempters/%3C!--DOC_ROOT-%3Eartist/artist_id-196/artist_name-the_tigers/
Kayokyoku and New music 1970’s80’s
♫Early 1970’s
♫Venus
♫A Bridge over Troubled Water
♫Your Song
♫Alone Again, Naturally, etc.
♫Late 70’s: Village People Covers
♫In the Navy “Pink Lady!”
♫YMCA
“1987 Stolen Pop Songs”
ドロボー歌謡曲 Stolen Pop Songs
by “Japan Committee for ethics in
Japanese pop music”
日本歌謡曲倫理委員会編集
J-pop 1990’s
• Go Hiromi
•
•
•
•
Bye Bye Baby (Bay City Rollers) 1975
Aishu no Casablanca 1982 (Berty Higgins)
Careless Whisper 1994 (George Michael)
Goldfinger 99 1999 (Ricky Martin’s Living the Vida
Loca).
• Seiko Matsuda
• Last Christmas (Wham) 1984
• Hold On (Wilson Phillips) 1991
• Was it the Future (Your Precious Love, Marvin Gaye
and Tammi Terrell) 1994.
Into the 21st century: “revival cover”
Hirai Ken
• Grandfather’s Clock (1876 Henry Clay Work)
• Desperado (1973 Eagles)
• The Rose (1980 Bette Midler)
Suga Shikao
• Only You (1955 The Platters)
• Just Like Starting Over
(1980 John Lennon)
GORIE
• 2003 Mickey (1981 Toni Basil)
• 2005 Pecori Night (Saturday Night, 198? Bay City Rollers)
• 2006 Koi no Pecori Lesson (I will Follow Him, 1964
Petula Clark)
Reverse cover: From Japan to the
world
♫Sukiyaki Song (Ue wo Muite Aruko,
Sakamoto Kyu)
♫Ray Charles’
“Ellie My Love”
(Southern All Stars)
♫Greg Irwin “Japan’s Best Loved Songs”
故郷=“My Country Home”
Cover music : copy or recreation?
Tradition of cover music
♫Originally to popularize a piece of music
rather than a singer -- “copying” was fine as
it gave the music publicity
♫“The process by which a song gets
promoted is predicated upon principles of
repetition and covering. “ (Yano 2004:4)
Covering as a virtue in Japan
♫ “Through [covering] an individual demonstrates
respect for one's teachers, acknowledgment of
one's place in a hierarchy, and mastery of an art
form up to a certain point. Within this cultural
context … covering is a moral act. “ (Yano
2005:2)
♫ Both “original” and “copy” are foreign loan words
that have no Japanese equivalent (Ugaya
2005:229)
Now: covering is acceptable with…
♫ 1. legal permission to cover the music, and
♫ 2. reinterpretation in a different style and/or
for a different audience.
“All cover songs are crosscultural”
But Japanese cover songs have often been
criticized as
♫ “pakuri”
♫ bowing to Western imperialism
♫ immoral
Cultural Hybridization
Cultural Hybridity
♫Hybridity (Bhabha, 1994) cultural change is
not simply “a linear diffusion model of ‘the
West to the rest’” .
♫=cover music can be reanalyzed as a
legitimate mode of creativity that “layers”
the original with different cultural elements
to produce a hybrid version.
cultural hybridization processes
Wang and Yeh (2005)propose that cultural
products may undergo three processes
‘deculturalization’ – culture-specific
elements are removed
‘acculturalization’ – culture-specific
elements are added
‘reculturalization’ – culture-specific
elements are changed
The Cultural Cline :
Universal to Specific
Universality
Specificity
Themes transcend time
and space:
Themes address specific
places or events
unrequited love
tragedy of war
joy of spring, etc.
references to cultural
norms of a certain era,
such as laws, dress,
housing, customs, etc.
Grandfather’s Clock : an example
Universality
Specificity
My Grandfather’s Clock
Sequel to My Grandfather’s Clock
It was bought on the
morn of the day that he
was born,
And was always his
treasure and pride,
But it stopped short never
to go again,
When the old man died.
From the clock-peddler's cart to the
junk-shop it went,
Where its cog-wheels were sundered
one by one;
And the brass-founder joked as they
writhed in the flames
"Melt'em up," says he; "then they will
run.“
Processes of cultural
reinterpretation
(1) Deculturalization
(2) Acculturalization
(3) Reculturalization
specific
S
S
S
S
universal
U
U
(Wang and Yeh (2005) )
(4) (Maintenance)
U
U
Deculturalization
Tennessee Waltz
(Patti Page 1950Eri Chiemi 1951)
I was dancin' with my
darlin' to the
Tennessee waltz,
when an old friend I
happened to see.
Introduced her to my
loved one, and
while they were
dancin',
my friend stole my
sweetheart from
me.
去りにし夢 あのテネシー・ワルツ
A past dream…that Tennessee Waltz,
なつかし愛の唄
The old nostalgic love song
面影しのんで 今宵も歌う Shadows
creep in, and I sing it again,
うるわしテネシー・ワルツ
Beautiful Tennessee Waltz
思い出なつかし あのテネシー・ワルツ
Nostalgic memories, that Tennessee Waltz
今宵も流れ来る 別れたあの娘よ
I hear it again, the girl I parted with,
今はいずこ 呼べど帰らない
I call her now, but she will not return.
Acculturalization
Yellow Submarine (The Beatles 1966)
Yellow Submarine Ondo (Akiko Kanazawa 1982)
Ondo : A form of Japanese folk music that combines
Pop music with Japanese Traditional music. It is
typically played at summer festivals and in a 2/2
time signature. It's typically associated with the
Osaka area of Japan, although it's also
played/enjoyed in other parts of Japan.
http://www.talok.org/Music/ondo.htm
Now available on “Exotic Beatles” (2006)
Reculturalization
I’ve never been to me (Charlene 1982) 
Love is All ( Shiina Megumi 1982)
Hey lady, you lady,
cursing at your life,
You’re a discontented
mother and a
regimented wife,
I’ve no doubt you dream
about the things you’ll
never do
but I wish someone had
talked with me like I
wanna talk to you
Sweet fairy
l'm waiting what you just
take out me
lt's really my dream
l want the Wedding Bell
Tonight
Everything is you
Almost completely faithful
maintenance
Grandfather’s Clock Henry C. Work (1876)  大きな古時
計: Hirai Ken (2002)
• Only one cultural change:
It stood 90 years on the floor
= 100年いつも動いてた
= (It ran steadily for 100 years)
YMCA: Reculturalization goes full
circle
From Village
People
(1979) A
gay
statement
To Saijo Hideki
(1981) A
“wholesome”
mainstream
version
•
•
VILLAGE
PEOPLE VERSION (1979)
• Young man, there's a place
you can go. …you will find
Many ways to have a good
time.
….
You can hang out with all the
boys ...
• …
You can do whatever you
feel ...
SAIJYO
HIDEKI VERSION
(1981)
ヤングマン 楽しめること
があるんだから
Young man, There are
things you can enjoy
若いうちはやりたいこと
何でもできるのさ
You can do whatever
you want when you’re
young
“2006 HG version”
男なら腰を振り 話しのコシを折れ
Shake your hips if you’re a man,
break down the conversation
こびぬ ひかぬ かえりみぬ 空気は読まぬ
Don’t be afraid, don’t look back, don’t worry about
what others think
アドレナリン 出しまくれ 腰グラインドハイ
Get the adrenalin going, grind your hips, open your
arms and say fo--!
両手広げフォ~!
Final Words
From cover to “repack”
Otani, Y. (2001) J-POP REPACK! White Paper
• 2001 J-POP〈リパック!〉白書 歌ってみたらアラ不思議??
徳間書店、オタニユキノリ
• “repack” means recycling an older song and adding
new values to it. This guidebook introduces J-pop
“repacks” and their original versions not to criticize
them as “pakuri” but rather to enjoy their skill of adding
new elements. (translated from a Japanese explanation)
Parting Words
• In recognizing hybridization processes
(deculturalization, reculturalization,
acculturalization) in cover music
From condemnation of “pakuri “
to appreciation of creativity
References
• Bhabha, H. (1994) The Location of Desire,
London and New York: Routledge.
• Wang, G and EY Yeh (2005) Globalization and
hybridization in cultural products The cases of
Mulan and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,
International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 8,
No. 2, 175-193
• Ugaya, H. (2005) J-pop no Shinzo Fukei (in
Japanese), Bunshin Shinsho Publishing.
• Yano C. R. (2005) Covering disclosures: practices
of intimacy, hierarchy, and authenticity in a
Japanese popular music genre, Popular Music and
Society online
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