Essay- TAKUYA SAKAGUCHI (Summer 1979)

A fool under the sun

How I have met LAFMS in summer 1979
Takuya Sakaguchi

Summer 1979

I was a fool without any doubt.
Los Angeles was a place where I spent a hot and hectic summer in 1979.
I stayed there for a week and have never encountered a rainy day.
It might have been a typical summer weather in L.A.
My foolishness was reflected in a fact that I tried to visit everywhere around L.A. using bus system.

I bought a local map at a glossary store nearby a motel where I stayed throughout.
A room where I stayed had a tiny square space for shower but no bath.
Then I found a problem in toilet.
An employee came and did something.
But any dramatic improvement did not happen.
I stayed there for a week.

I do not remember clearly location of the motel.
It was at some distance from downtown L.A.
I spent 20-30 minutes to reach the motel from the downtown by walk.
I recognized that there were some record shops dealing with Indian music between the motel and the downtown.
But I never visited them since almost all people in such shops seemed to be Indian.
It was not difficult for me to imagine that I would have numerous language problems in such shops.
This visitation to L.A. was in my first trip to the United States of America (and foreign countries).
I spent almost a month for the trip to abroad.
I was 24 years old at the time.

A fool under the sun

How I have met LAFMS in summer 1979
Takuya Sakaguchi

‘GS’ – That was a trigger in teenage

Pop music has stimulated me throughout my teenage.
I can state so without any doubt.
I experienced various types of music through radios.
Especially ‘germanium radio’ was so convenient and economical equipment to provide me pop music.
The radio was as simple as it was constructed with a few parts
– a germanium diode, a variable condenser and an earphone.

The simple system of radio had an incredible advantage.
No battery or other way of electricity supplement was required to provide music.
It helped me to spend incredible time for musical listening of course.

My teenage covered 1965 through 1975.
I was not a sensitive guy to rock music revolution at all.
I am so average individual from primary to junior high-school.

I preferred pop music.
Friends seemed impressed by The Beatles.
I remember that Beatles came to Japan, played music and appeared in Japanese television in 1966.
I did not have any specific interest in them but remember well a song that they played on television.
They were in military costume and played ‘Hello Goodbye’.

The memory confuses me at present because the song was published in a single record in 1968.
Anyway it interests me that I was not interested in them at all but remember what they did on the television.
The period 1965 through 1975 was innovative phase for rock revolution in the USA and the UK of course.
I have been able to see a music programs showing T-Rex, Cream,
Uriah Heep (Mick Box was totally stoned in their performance) and others from abroad on Japanese television.

But I preferred Japanese pop especially a genre called group sounds (GS).
The GS was a twisted form of reaction to The Beatles and other foreign bands.
Typical format of the GS was band.
They seemed to mimic style of rock band.
But their music was just amalgam of various kinds of music
that even included Japanese traditional style of pop “Enka”.

GS included The Blue Comets, The Tigers, The Spiders, The Jaegers, and blues-oriented The Golden Cups.
Such a wave of GS has definitively contributed to a rise of underground bands into commercial media.
Happenings Four and The Jacks were pretty good examples.

Appearance of underground folk music is still important in Japanese pop history also.
It was a hectic period and Japanese pop music incredibly developed 1965-1975.
My interest turned to rock music around 1973-74 at last. I liked keyboard music.
I bought musical magazines and learnt about Elton John and Leon Russel.
I bought Elton’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” double LP
and interested in sounds generated from synthesizer (or melotron?).
Honky-tonk piano by Leon was not bad at same time.
I was also interested in a free and noisy way of guitar playing by Neil Young.


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