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Kyu Sakamoto

Kyu Sakamoto holds the record for the first number one pop record performed entirely in Japanese, 1963's "Sukiyaki." Though that's a sweet distinction to have, the translated lyrics to the million-selling song are anything but: "Sadness hides in the shadows of the stars/I look up when I walk so the tears wont fall...."

Kyu Sakamoto (pronounced "cue") was born in 1941 in Kawasaki, Japan, the son of a restaurateur. He began singing in jazz clubs as a teenager, before being signed to Toshiba Records in 1959. He had several Japanese pop hits and appeared in movies and on TV and radio programs. On a business trip to Japan, Louis Benjamin, president of U.K. label Pye Records, Ltd, heard Sakamoto's "Ue O Muite Aruko" (I Look up When I Walk). Renaming it after his favorite Japanese cuisine, sukiyaki, Benjamin had a Pye jazz artist record the tune, a Top Ten U.K. hit. Sakamoto's original version began getting airplay on DJ Richard Osborne's show on Pasco, WA, radio station KORD, which due to listener demand put the song in heavy rotation. Capitol Records bought the U.S. distribution rights for the record. Sakamoto's "Sukiyaki" went gold and charted on three of Billboard's charts: number one Pop for three weeks, number 18 R&B, and number one adult contemporary during the summer of 1963. On the flip side was "Anoko No Namaewa Nantenkana." The follow-up single, "China Nights" b/w "Benkyo No Cha Cha Cha" peaked at number 58 pop in late summer 1963. Other Sakamoto singles are "Elimo" b/w "Why" and "Tankobushi" b/w "Olympics Song." His only U.S. LP, Sukiyaki and Other Japanese Hits, was released that same year. "Sukiyaki," now a standard, has been a hit for A Taste of Honey and for '90s R&B group Four P.M. At the age of 43, Kyu Sakamoto died in a plane crash that killed 520 people on August 12, 1985, near Tokyo, Japan. ~ Ed Hogan
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: '50s & '60s Lost & Found Records Vol. 3

Disc 1

1. Plaything

2. The Big Heavy

3. Swinging Sweethearts

4. Starry Eyed

5. Journey To Love

6. Mister Fire Eyes

7. I See A Star

8. Roberta

9. Kookie Little Paradise

10. Ruby Duby Du From Key Witness

11. Someone Loves You, Joe

12. Bobby

13. Little Sister Beware

14. Forever Ambrose

15. How Will It End?

16. Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)

17. The Teacher

18. Bridge Of Love

19. Little Dipper

20. Gonna Get Some Records

21. Magic Star (Telstar)

22. The Girl On The Billboard

23. Dedicated (To The Songs I Love)

24. I Could Have Loved You So Well

25. (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me

26. Waitin' For The Evenin' Train

27. Soul Dance

28. Roses Are Red My Love

29. Let Me Through

30. Hot Pepper

31. Bonnie Do

32. Sippin' 'n Chippin'

33. Monster Swim

34. Just For Tonight

35. Cheryl's Goin' Home

36. Cowboy Boots

37. Stand By Me

38. Devotion

39. I Want My Baby Back

40. Band Of Gold

Disc 2

1. Kerry Pipers Rock

2. Anyway That You Want Me

3. Enamorado

4. Rockin' Johnny Home

5. Give Me One More Chance

6. Sealed With A Kiss

7. Young Abe Lincoln

8. Pollyanna

9. Contract On Love

10. Little Eeefin Annie

11. Drums

12. For You Alone

13. My Baby's Just Crazy 'bout Elvis

14. Don't Wanna Think About Paula

15. In The Mood

16. Don't Go

17. That's It

18. If You Can't Rock Me

19. Philadelphia U.S.A.

20. (Gary, Please Don't Sell) My Diamond Ring

21. The Fortune Teller

22. Hootenanny Granny

23. Blue Guitar

24. Teenage Meeting

25. The Ballad Of Davy Crockett

26. China Nights (Shina No Yoru)

27. Little Miss U.S.A.

28. Everlovin'

29. Gallant Men

30. Billy

31. I Looked At Heaven

32. In The Midnight Hour

33. Cry On My Shoulder

34. Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter From Camp)

35. Lullabye From Rosemary's Baby

36. Big Bruce

37. Words

38. Happy

39. Kay

40. I Hear You Say (I Love You Baby)

x

Track List: Complete Sixties

Disc 1

1. You Got What It Takes

2. Little Boy Lost

3. Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport

5. Let's Have A Party

6. Brontosaurus Stomp

7. You're Sixteen

8. You Talk Too Much

9. Perfidia

10. Goodness Gracious Me

12. Rubber Ball

13. Wings Of A Dove

15. Exodus

16. Blue Moon

17. A Scottish Soldier

18. A Hundred Pounds Of Clay

19. Mother-In-Law

20. Dream Girl

Disc 2

1. Time

2. Goodbye Cruel World

3. My Boomerang Won't Come Back

4. Let There Be Drums

5. Peppermint Twist

6. Wanderer

7. Old Rivers

8. I Remember You

9. Locomotion

10. From A Jack To A King

11. Boys

12. Surfside

13. Tell Him

14. Proud Of You

15. Sukiyaki

16. Surf City

17. Danke Schoen

18. Painted, Tainted Rose

19. Not Responsible

20. You'll Never Walk Alone

Disc 3

1. He's My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy

2. He Walks Like A Man

3. Hippy Hippy Shake

4. Little Children

6. The House Of The Rising Sun

7. Do Wah Diddy Diddy

8. Tobacco Road

10. Come A Little Bit Closer

11. I'll Never Find Another You

12. This Diamond Ring

13. It's Alright

16. Mission Bell

17. The Hucklebuck

18. I Live For The Sun

19. A Lover's Concerto

20. Tears

Disc 4

1. Girls, Girls, Girls

2. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

4. Tar And Cement

5. Born Free

6. Bus Stop

10. Good Vibrations

11. What Am I Doing Here With You

12. I've Been A Bad, Bad Boy

14. You Made Me What I Am

15. Hi Ho Silver Lining

17. Ode To Billie Joe

18. To Sir With Love

20. Different Drum

Disc 5

2. She Wears My Ring

3. Honey

4. On The Road Again

5. The Weight

6. Kentucky Woman

7. Try To Remember

8. Lily The Pink

9. I'm The Urban Spaceman

10. Crimson And Clover

11. Games People Play

12. Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)

14. Galveston

16. Good Morning Starshine

17. Put A Little Love In Your Heart

19. Arkansas Grass

20. Think About Tomorrow Today

x

Track List: Golden Oldies

Disc 1

1. Young At Heart

2. All I Have To Do Is Dream

3. Just Walkin' In The Rain

4. Dreamboat

5. Come Outside

6. Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat

7. I Remember You

8. The Locomotion

9. Walkin' Back To Happiness

10. How Do You Do It

11. Congratulations

12. Georgy Girl

13. We're Gonna Change The World

15. This Ole House

16. You're Sixteen, You're Beautiful (And You're Mine)

17. What Do You Want

18. What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For?

19. Sixteen Tons

20. The Story Of My Life

21. Memories Are Made Of This

22. Standing On The Corner

23. Wheels Cha Cha

24. Up Up And Away

25. Downtown

26. Lollipop

27. Pickin' A Chicken

28. You Belong To Me

30. Secret Love

Disc 2

1. Lipstick On Your Collar

2. Move It

3. The Wanderer

4. Runaway

5. Telstar

6. Take Good Care Of My Baby

7. Nut Rocker

8. Hippy Hippy Shake

9. C'mon Everybody

10. Hello Mary Lou (Goodbye Heart)

11. Wonderful Land

12. Why Do Fools Fall In Love

13. Witch Doctor

14. Ain't Misbehavin'

15. Bye Bye Love

16. Rock Island Line

17. The Cumberland Gap

19. Be Bop A Lula

20. Papa Loves Mambo

22. Right Said Fred

23. Bring Me Sunshine

24. Lily The Pink

25. Happiness

26. I'm Into Something Good

27. Don't Throw Your Love Away

28. California Girls

29. Do Wah Diddy Diddy

30. Ma (He's Makin' Eyes At Me)

32. When I'm Sixty-Four

Comments

Report as inappropriate
... DJ Osborne thought it may have some interest with GI's that had been stationed in Japan an Korea it was teenagers and kids that kept requesting it making it a runaway hit on KORD who had the only copy. After several weeks it had run its course and went out of regular rotation only to reemerge on other local stations when Columbia released it nationally as Sukiyaki, using the name given in England ( remember the KORD DJ's stumbling over the original Japanese title. Billboard credits Osborne.
Report as inappropriate
According to DJ Richard Osborne (KORD radio Pasco WA) he received the Ue O Muite Aruko record from a teenage boy from Richland WA and that boy got it by swapping a stack of Elvis records for records that included it from a Japanese boy staying in Richland. This may have happened in the summer of 62 with a Japanese summer exchange program, or believed to be less likely a Kyoto youth Choir that stayed in the Tri-Cities in early 63.
Report as inappropriate
apollo1953da . 2 0 0 6
When I heard the song of test of honey my 1st I like it so much and I didn't know that person died on a plan crash . but I didn't know it was a guy singing that song at all . I thought it was a Asian girl singing that song and it should be the top number one song ( taste of honey ) should be no. 1 hit for the memory of the person who died . that year .OK
Report as inappropriate
Here's a YouTube link for those wanting to know what Kyu Sakamoto looked like and what Ue o Muite Aruko was about: https://www. y o u t u b e . c o m / w a t c h ? v = C 3 5 D r t P l U b c
Report as inappropriate
This song brings back so many good memories. I even learned how to sing it in Japanese! Love it!
Report as inappropriate
I grew up in the 60s to this song, introduced to us by my late father I think at the American Legion restaurant in Wheaton, IL. I still LOVE hearing it.
Report as inappropriate
mlicavoli2
A true classic
Report as inappropriate
This song is of love requited. Later done by Taste of Honey...
Report as inappropriate
An all time favorite!!!
Report as inappropriate
alissajoycru z
Love this Song! Very beautiful and haunting! Very romantik as well! Take me away Kyu!
Report as inappropriate
jamesr.oneal
Great memories!
Report as inappropriate
I've always loved this song; love if could be translated in English for me.
Report as inappropriate
On August 12, 1985, Kyu Sakamoto died in the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123, the deadliest single-aircr a f t accident in Japan's history, and the third deadliest plane crash in history in terms of fatalities behind the September 11, 2001, attacks and the Tenerife airport disaster. He is interred at Chōkoku-ji Temple in Minato, Tokyo. As a young girl in the 60’s I was told that this singer was considered the Japanese Frank Sinatra.
Report as inappropriate
I lived in Japan for a bit in the mid-90's and I heard this song about 4 times each day at my job. I can't get tired of it. Love it!
Report as inappropriate
Great Stuff- North Jersey loved it, in its day. google him there are pictures.
Report as inappropriate
hildaj33
Wasent he killed when the Koreans shot down a plane some 40-50 years ago?
Report as inappropriate
kathybullock 6
I've never seen his picture any place.
Report as inappropriate
Love this song, but what the heck does this guy look like?

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