samedi 29 juillet 2017

B. B. Queens (Eng)

When the Major Being, which meets success over success in these 80s, decides to participate in a "small" all-public Japanese anime called Chibi Maruko-chan, they probably don't figure out that the patchwork-like band they gathered to sing the ending, strangely called B.B. Queens (B.B.クィーンズ), is about to meet too an amazing fame, yet a bit shorter !

B.B. Queens

Chibi Success-chan ! 

1st publication: 29/07/2017
Last updated: 05/08/2017


This J-Pop and Anison band is formed in 1990 by the Major Being for the needs of the anime Chibi Maruko-chan, adapted from a manga of biographical inspiration. There were then 8 members :

1990-1993 then 2011-... (from the right on the following picture) :
  • Masuzaki Takashi (増崎 孝司) : Guitar - born in 1962, he is hired by Being in the 1980s as a support musician.
  • Tsubokura Yuiko (坪倉唯子) : Vocal - born in 1963, she is mostly known in the West for her songs in Kimagure Orange road  and Bubble crisis 😉.
  • Kondo Fusanosuke (近藤 房之助) : Vocal and guitar - born in 1951, he sings soul and blues since 1975 in an indies band, Breakdown, and had just released his 1st singles solo at that time (including a cover of Ue wo muite arukou - Sukiyaki).
      Until 2013:
  • Utoku Keiko (宇徳 敬子) : Chorus - born in 1967, she is then a member of the brand new Idol trio Mi-Ke.

1990-1993 only:
  • Murakami Haruka (村上 遙) : Chorus - born in 1969, she is also a member of Mi-Ke.
  • Watanabe Mami (渡辺真美) : Chorus - born in 1969, she is the 3rd member of the Idol band Mi-Ke. She spent her childhood in France and in Malaysia.
  • Kuribayashi Seiichirô (栗林誠一郎) : Bass - born in 1965, he spent his highschool period in Los Angeles and was initially hired as... keyboard player and composer, in particular for Tube after he sent a demo tape when he had returned in Japan.
  • Mochizuki Eisuke (望月衛介) : Keyboard - born in 1970, pianist and composer, he debutes on this occasion.

Most of them are thus chosen among the support members of other main acts or through an audition. Both lead vocals aren't yet beginners. Yuiko has already sung some animes songs and performed chorus for several stars of Being in particular (TubeB'z...). Regarding Fusanosuke, he is not very reknown among a large public because he spends an indies career in a barely mediatic musical genre in Japan, but he has a long experience. He is probably at the origin of the band's name, a reference to B.B. King.

Their 1st song is then the ending of Chibi Maruko-chan, Odoru Ponpokorin, written by the manga author, Sakura Momoko. Unexpectedly, this simple ending released in single in 1990 reaches n°1 of the weekly Oricon chart and is sold to around 2 millions units ! Afterward, the B.B. Queens will self-cover it as an opening, especially for the 25th  anniversary of the paper first release.
A clue behind this success, in addition to the anime itself : as composer, there was a "hit-maker" of the time, Oda Tetsurô (織田 哲郎) !

This track n°1 of the charts open the door to the famous NHK's Kouhaku Uta Gassen (41th edition), and to many promotion show. They released some other songs but without the same trend. Among them, 夢のENDはいつも目覚まし! (Yume no end wa itsumo mezamashi !), is an opening of the not-less famous "colleague" of Maruko, the anime of Crayon Shin-chan, in 1992, which is their last single until... 2011 where 4 of them reband for the anniversary of the paper version of Chibi Maruko-chan.

Individually, the members have followed different paths after 1992. 
Yuiko focuses again on her career as chorist, for ZARD, Yaen... and mainly Nakajima Miyuki with who she had already worked before.
Funosuke returns in the underground world of Japanese blues while staying chorist or support musician for the stars of Being.
The Idol trio Mi-Ke takes fully advantage of the highlight from B.B.Queens and appears alone on stage at the 2 following Kouhaku (42 and 43e), yet disband as soon as 1993; Keiko goes on then in solo with some success until 2000. She notably performed in the video game Sonic CD where she dubbed and sang some tunes. Then she alternates Live Houses and chorus for Being. Mami follows a small indies career under the name JanMei in the 2010s. Haruka ceased her musical activities.
Masuzaki Takashi has then continued to compose or play in support to EXILE, BoA, some Johnny's...
Kuribayashi Seiichirô pursued composing and supporting occasionally at keyboard or guitar TUBE, ZARD... In 1995-1996 notably, he creates the project Barbier (sic) to cover himself the hits composed for his colleagues of Being (including Mi-Ke) and the singer of ZARD participated to his lone album.
Mochizuki Eisuke went on mainly a solo pianist career; he too played and composed for ZARD among others.


This band gives a blink to the making of anime songs in Japan at the turn of the 80s-90s, and still now a bit. Here a Major company in music invests as coproductor in order to advertise its singers and musicians. In this case it was supposed to be a low-cost family anime (adapted from a "slice-of-life" manga, simple design...) and the Major chooses a minimal investment, creating from scratch a band from its line-up of barely known artists and seizing the occasion to test new talents. By the way, it is remarkable that the legendary Sakai Izumi, the singer behind ZARD, was scouted during an audition for this very band !
This band is also a good summary of the J-pop scene at that time as it gathers an experimented indies musician from the blues and rock n'roll world, a young Anison singer, some Idols and even a classical pianist ! This proves a widely open-minded musical scene in Japan where such collaborations aren't rare at all, and don't provocate strong rejection from the public and the media.

If they can be qualified of "one-hit wonder" band, Odoru Ponpokorin, as much as the anime, impacted several generations, and B.B. Queens, who weren't supposed to long, will get stuck to it ^^ : it is there only true hit, even if they have been invited on other animes or dramas later, and 4 of the members will even reband 20 years later to self-cover it !
The music of the band is generally a well-balanced mix of nursery rhyme, festive pop-rock with a touch of soul.

Similar Artists:

Japan: King Cream-Soda, Dream5...
World: I don't have much knowledge outside France (see French version) of bands aiming a young public; maybe some Disney singers... Don't hesitate to leave a comment with your ideas 😉

Great Standards:

First performers:

Odoru Ponpokorin

Discography (selection) :

Affiliate Links to CDJapan, please authorize the cookies if you appreciated this article m(_ _)m.

Odoru Ponpokorin - Chibimaruko-chan Tanjo 25th Version - / B B QUEENS
05/2011: single with both versions, original and 25th anniversary of the paper edition, of Odoru Pompokorin.

Repress of a Best of released in 2002 with the originel members; includes in particular the theme songs of Chibi Maruko-chan and Crayon Shin-chan.

Royal Straight / B.B. Queens
B.B. Queens
07/2011: self-cover of the previous tunes and other covers (Ue wo muite arukou...)

B.B.QUEENS Legend -See you someday- / B B QUEENS
09/2012: doesn't include Odoru Ponpokorin on CD but new songs and 1 DVD live of 2012.


Other sources: wikipedia JP, TV shows...

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire