Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mieko "Mico" Hirota performs "SUNNY"

Here's a very rare "Sunny" from Japan, purportedly recorded before Bobby's own American version

Bobby told me that Ben Tucker brought the sheet music and a cassette to Japan.  That would make Mieko's rendition and David Pike's 1965 vibraphone rendition on Atlantic Records in America the first two released versions of "Sunny" on the marketplace.

Recording: Sunny

Performed by
First release
On audio album Hit Kit Miko, Vol. 2 (October 20, 1965)
Title in Japanese: サニー. 

I was listening to Bobby's version today at 4:08 P.M. Eastern time while on the rotary in Medford to South Border Road, Winchester, and a van pulled up to the yield sign with "SONNY'S" painted across it!

A definite sign!

Mieko Hirota

Written by
First release
Sunny by Mieko Hirota on audio album Hit Kit Miko, Vol. 2 (October 20, 1965)

Here's a fascinating website:
The most interesting thing I discovered is that Hirota apparently recorded the first version of ‘Sunny’ in 1966, one of about a half dozen versions (including one by vibist Dave Pike) that preceded the huge hit by the song’s composer Bobby Hebb. Hebb had recorded a demo version of the song, which made an impression on a number of artists, including Mieko Hirota who recorded and released her version (a hit in Japan) prior to Hebb’s version being released on Philips in the US.
Hirota’s version of ‘Unwind Yourself’ – for some reason retitled ‘On a Sorrowful Day’ rolls along at a brisk pace with a nice horn chart (with just a hint of the baritone sax figure from Marva Whitney’s OG) and some cool guitar. As I said before, it can’t really compare to the power of the original, but it is an interesting window into the international reach of the James Brown sound.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Mico was considered the "Connie Francis of Japan."  She covered "Vacation" which is the first 45 RPM that I ever purchased...the Connie Francis version in America, of course.

Atlantic 45-5073

Ben Tucker discovered Bobby Hebb and the song


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