For today's Throwback Thursday post, we will revisit my favorite period of idol music, the 80s! This era is otherwise known as the "Golden Age of Idols" and is one of my favorite periods of music of any genre. The song we will look at is "Dancing Hero" and it is performed by Japan's original dance queen, Yoko Oginome!
For those that don't know Yoko Oginome was one of the biggest idols of the 80s whose career was defined largely be a Eurobeat dance style. She started her career at a very young age in the three-member group, "Milk". Following the group's disbandment, she briefly tried her hand in both live and voice acting before debuting as a singer, at the age of fifteen, with the single "Mirai Kouka -Sailing-". Her early singles and albums were all under the major label Victor Entertainment and while she received large levels of promotion it wasn't until her seventh single, "Dancing Hero (Eat You Up)", that she truly achieved mainstream success. The song was a departure from her earlier style and featured an electronic sound that played well to her new image as a leader in popular dance music. It has that unique mix of 80s sound that is both retro and timeless at the same time. Her unique fashion and style in the promotional video for the song was also something that took the music and club scene by force. Some of the more sensational looks could also be seen as a precursor to the styles seen in some modern pop stars.
Following this hugely popular song, Yoko's career took off with hit single following hit single. She would win several awards before the decade was out and appear on Kouhaku Uta Gassen no less than five straight years. Her acting career took off again from this point and she would appear in many popular dramas and variety shows, including a host spot on the show "Young Studio 101". Like most idols who take a turn into acting, much of her later career would be focused there as opposed to music. That being said, her career never truly stopped and continues in limited form even today. Also, like many other Golden Era-idols, Yoko took a try at the US pop music scene with the English album "VERGE OF LOVE". While this album was produced by the great Narada Michael Walden, it nevertheless failed to create the waves everyone hoped for.
While her career had many ups and downs following this crucial point, it was the iconic "Dancing Hero" that would label her as Japan's "Dance Queen" (a title that would make its way over to contemporary idol, Chisato Moritaka) and also cement her place in the history of Japanese pop music and idol history. Check out the song and take a trip back to the Golden 80s...
◆ Rin Rigoni