Jan 29, 2010

The Story Of Pike

Pike, written by original member Yamashita Yasushi, has been one of the popular numbers for Hikashu.

Then, did you know, the tune was originally written for a veteran group called the Ventures?

It was 1980. As preparing a new album of the Ventures, Toshiba-EMI wanted to 'modernize' the sound of the band. The time was high. At that time, younger bands like the B-52's or the Ramones expressed the respect to the veteran combo and younger audience started to pay attention to them. So the record company decided to do a 'new-wave' album, of the Ventures.

The staff gathered for the album was quite remarkable. Kato Kazuhiko, of Sadistic Mika Band, was appointed to the producer. The songwriters were all three members of YMO, Suzuki Keiichi of the Moonriders, and Itoi Shigesato, the famous copywriter. Also there was a nondisclosure competition of composition for young writers. Asked for participating the event, Yamashita wrote a tune and applied. He won. His work was chosen. And that tune was, Pike.

Makigami adopted lyrics for the tune. Later Hikashu rearranged and recorded it for themselves. Also English lyrics was prepared and recorded for single release. The English version was also used on the American film called the Changling, for Japanese showing only. (Later Makigami said it was shameless tie-in, making the film pretty bad.)

As for Hikashu version, it was included in their 1980 album, Natsu. Since then, as ever a crowd-pleaser, the tune has been featured in the group's live performances. And younger bands like Polysics covered it. Certainly it is going to be one of Japanese rock anthem, passed from generation to generation. Long live Pike.

related entry:
The Ventures - Chameleon (1980)

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