Sukisa, sukisa, sukisa I love you, I love you, I love you
Wasurerarenain'da, OMAE NO SUBETE!! I can't get you out of my mind, ALL OF YOU!!
It's been a grand while since I put up an article on a Group Sounds song, and I had thought that I put down all that I knew about the bands in that genre, but once in a while, something falls out of the folds of my cerebrum. Last night, it was this one.
The above lyrics are the prime ones that I remember from The Carnabeats' most successful song, "Sukisa Sukisa Sukisa". Way back when, I had thought that the tune was first provided by 80s aidoru rock band, CCB, since there was that high-pitched voice by the drummer yelling that last part of the lyrics I wrote above. I'd also assumed that it could have been the 70s family group, Finger Five. But I was wrong on both counts in terms of band and decade.
The Carnabeats（ザ・カーナビーツ）were formed from a fusion of folks from other bands in the 1960s. In 1967, Ai Takano (高野アイ...all of 16 years of age), who would become the drummer and vocalist, left The Freelancers for the purpose of creating a new band. In short order, he was joined by Jiro Kitamura（喜多村次郎）from another GS unit, Swing West, and another Freelancers bandmate Hiroshi Koshikawa（越川弘志）, along with (and I hope I've got the names correct) Keikichi Usui（臼井啓吉）and Tadao Oka（岡忠夫）. Initially, the lads had called themselves Robin Hood but once "Sukisa Sukisa Sukisa" was released as their launching single, the name was changed to The Carnabeats.
I've heard the name now and then over the decades, but I always thought of car navigation systems. But as it turned out, the probable derivation of The Carnabeats was from the Carnaby Sound that was part and parcel of the music of Swinging London in that same decade.
Speaking of the UK, the original version of "Sukisa Sukisa Sukisa" was from the British band The Zombies' "I Love You" that had been released in 1965. Chris White created the song and when it made the trip over to Japan, Kenji Sazanami（漣健児）provided the Japanese lyrics. Released in June 1967, Takano's delivery of those words apparently had the girls swooning and grabbing their faces in ecstasy. The Oricon charts were still yet to start but I'm pretty sure the song would have hit the top spot in a New York minute. Sales were between 1.2 and 1.5 million.
Sadly, Takano passed away at the age of 55 from heart failure in 2006.
"Sukisa Sukisa Sukisa" would not only echo through the decades via nostalgia tours by The Carnabeats, but through cover versions. One came out in November 1990 as the 4th and final single by singer-actress Ayako Kobayashi（小林彩子）.