Pink Lady (band)

Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Pink Lady


Img_capt = Mitsuyo Nemoto and Keiko Masuda
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Instrument =
Genre = Dance, Pop, Disco
Occupation =
Years_active = 1970–1981
Label = Jvc Victor, Vivid Sound, VAP Records, Elektra Records, Curb Records
Associated_acts =
URL = [http://www.pinkladyamerica.com/ Pink Lady America]
Current_members =
Past_members = Mitsuyo Nemoto (1970–1981) Keiko Masuda (1970–1981)

nihongo|Pink Lady|ピンク・レディー|Pinku Redī was a Japanese female pop music duo of the late 1970s and early 1980s, featuring Mitsuyo Nemoto ("Mie") and Keiko Masuda ("Kei"). In Japan, they are fondly remembered for the incredible run of pop-chart hits they enjoyed from roughly 1976 to 1979, but in the United States, they are best known for their infamously failed 1980 NBC-TV variety show, "Pink Lady and Jeff."

Biography

Mie and Kei were childhood friends who grew up and attended school together in Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture. They first captured the hearts of the Japanese public in March 1976 when they appeared on a prime-time TV talent show called "Star Tanjo ("A Star Is Born")" (similar to America's "Star Search"). Mie and Kei's first TV appearance, showcased them as a cute, fresh-faced folk duo dressed in bib overalls. By the time the girls re-appeared on the show a few months later, their image had completely changed - they were now dressed in slinky, beaded, short-skirted white dresses, performing upbeat pop tunes. A few years later, they capitalised on the disco trend, with songs like "Monday Mona Lisa Club".

Mie and Kei came to epitomize the Japanese concept of the "aidoru" or pop-star "idol," cementing their fame through singing catchy, hook-filled pop songs, often with a disco flavor (in later years especially), and performing almost perfectly-synchronized dances, in unison with each other, to accompany the songs. During the late 1970s, they enjoyed a staggering streak of nine No.1 hits. Among their No.1 singles, five of them are consecutive million-selling singles, including "Peppa Keibu" ("Inspector Pepper", their debut single in 1976), "Wanted," "UFO" (their biggest-selling single, with 1.95 million copies sold), "Chameleon Army" (a term proudly co-opted by the duo's fan base around the world), and "SOS" (not the ABBA hit of the same name). Mie and Kei became commercial pitchwomen for various products, ranging from shampoo to radios to children's books to ramen noodles. Just about every product Mie and Kei endorsed enjoyed a massive uptick in sales.

1978 is often chronicled as Pink Lady's "Miracle Year"; it was also the year they made their first concert appearance in the United States (in Las Vegas), starred in their first major full-length motion picture, and released their first song in English ("Love Showdown"). That year, Mie and Kei also became cartoon stars with the airing of "Pink Lady Monogatari: Eiko no Tenshitachi (The Story of Pink Lady: Angels of Splendid Fame)," a 35-episode TV anime series directed by Katsuhiko Taguchi and aired on Tokyo 12 Channel (now TV Tokyo). The series was commissioned by T&C (Trust and Confidence), the duo's managing firm, with animation production by Toei Animation. (Mie and Kei did not play themselves in the anime; their voices were provided by other actresses.)

However, New Year's Eve 1978 proved to be the beginning of the end for Pink Lady. Mie and Kei turned down an invitation to perform on the long-running annual New Year's Eve television music spectacular, "Kohaku Uta Gassen (Red-and-White Song Contest)," to host their own TV special on another network. It backfired, as "Kohaku" trounced Pink Lady's special, garnering ratings nine times higher than Mie and Kei. In addition, the girls' managers announced that they had invited students from a school for the blind to the studio for the taping of the show, but the school denied that any such arrangement had been made. Critics accused Pink Lady of using blind children to promote their own TV special, and the duo's previously squeaky-clean reputation was dealt permanent damage.Fact|date=March 2007 (They were not invited to perform again on "Kohaku" the following year, and in fact didn't perform on the annual special until 1988 - well after the duo had disbanded.)

With their record sales in Japan in decline, Pink Lady set their sights on conquering the American market. Mie and Kei appeared as guest stars on a Leif Garrett TV special in the spring of 1979 performing what was to be their first American single, a disco tune called "Kiss In The Dark," recorded phonetically in English and released by Curb Records, followed by an entire English-language album (a collection of disco tunes and ballads, including a cover of the 1966 Left Banke classic "Walk Away Renee"). When "Kiss In The Dark" debuted on the "Billboard" charts that summer, Pink Lady became the first Japanese recording act to chart in America since Kyu Sakamoto (of "Sukiyaki" fame) 16 years earlier. "Kiss In The Dark" snaked into Billboard magazine's top 40, reaching #37 (#49 on the "Cash Box" magazine chart), but the duo's follow-up singles failed, and Pink Lady had no U.S. chart success afterward.

Then came "Pink Lady and Jeff", which teamed Mie and Kei with comedian Jeff Altman for a mixture of musical numbers and sketch comedy. The fact that Mie and Kei knew very little English limited their potential as comediennes, and also caused them a great amount of stress, since they were essentially forced to memorize dialogue they couldn't understand. On top of that, they weren't allowed to perform any of their Japanese hits until late in the show's run, being forced to struggle through English-language disco and pop hits such as "Yesterday" and "Knock On Wood." The show lasted only six weeks in prime time on NBC before being pulled off the air, and to this day is celebrated by many as one of the worst television shows in history, as well as single-handedly killing off the variety show format that had been a staple of American television since its early days.Fact|date=March 2007 Mie and Kei went home to Japan afterwards and never again attempted a run at the U.S. market. The albums and singles they released in America are now out of print, and the only way for U.S. fans to get a hold of Pink Lady's music is through Japanese imports.

Mie and Kei's lack of visibility at home while they were filming the show in America, as well as the decline of disco music, hurt their record sales even in Japan, and in 1981, after making an unsuccessful attempt to update their sound to appeal more to adults, Pink Lady disbanded. Mie and Kei have reunited a few times since for concerts and new recordings, and have also kept busy with successful solo careers as singers and actresses.

Pink Lady's Japanese Top 20 hits

* Pepper Keibu (August 1976) - #4
* S.O.S. (November 1976) - 1 week at #1
* Carmen '77 (March 1977) - 5 weeks at #1
* Nagisa No Sindbad (June 1977) - sold 1 million, 8 weeks at #1
* Wanted (Shimei Tehai) (September 1977) - sold 1.2 million, 12 weeks at #1
* UFO (December 1977) - sold 1.55 million, 10 weeks at #1
* Southpaw (March 1978) - sold 1.46 million, 9 weeks at #1
* Monster (June 1978) - sold 1.1 million, 8 weeks at #1
* Toumei Ningen (September 1978) - 4 weeks at #1
* Chameleon Army (December 1978) - 6 weeks at #1
* Zipangu (March 1979) - #4
* Pink Typhoon (In the Navy) (May 1979) - #6
* Nami Nori Pirates (July 1979) - #4
* Kiss in the Dark (September 1979) - #19 Japan, #37 USA
* Monday Mona Lisa Club (September 1979) - #14

Trivia

* Pink Lady's "SOS" was used as background music in one episode of the Gainax anime TV series His and Her Circumstances, as a song that the female lead, Yukino Miyazawa, can't get out of her head.
* Pink Lady is one of only two Japanese artists who have reached the Billboard Top 40. Pink Lady reached #37 with the single "Kiss In The Dark". The other artist who reached Billboard Top 40 is Kyu Sakamoto with his #1 hit Sukiyaki, which is known as 上を向いて歩こう Ue o muite aruko in Japan as the original title.

External links

* [http://www.pinkladyamerica.com Pink Lady English-language fansite] maintained by an American fan
*


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