Japanese Song of the Day – “U.F.O” by Pink Lady

…and you knew THIS was coming too, right? Pink Lady were huge in the latter half of the 70’s, and “U.F.O,” released in December 1977, was their best selling single.

I’m not ashamed to say I know most of those dance moves. Of course that’s part of Pink Lady’s charm – their easy-to-learn dances. They have one for pretty much every big hit, and they were a very novel and interesting addition to their act at the time. “Para Para” dances for concert participation are pretty common these days, but we probably have the popularity of Mie and Kei’s routines to thank for that.

Two years after their peak and the release of “U.F.O,” the girl released an album in the USA. The disco album was released during the disco era’s death rattle, and the only single – “Kiss In The Dark” – peaked at #37. While this is no great accomplishment compared to “Sukiyaki”‘s number one position, it did mark Pink Lady’s place in history as the second (and so far last) Japanese artist to make the American Top 40.

What happened next was… well, quite frankly, very very stupid. Sid & Marty Krofft, famed producers for variety shows like Sonny & Cher, decided these girls should be TV stars, without realizing they’d only learned their English song lyrics phonetically. They were given a short-lived variety series called “Pink Lady” and a cohost, comedian Jeff Altman. Jeff’s job was to carry the jokes and make the girls’ Japaneseness absolutely hilarious.

The show was an unmitigated disaster. It wasn’t funny. I try to be fairly neutral on this blog but… everyone knows it. Whenever you read a list of the Worst TV Shows Ever, it’s probably pretty high on that list. It lasted 6 episodes, and by then they were already recycling material & guests. On top of that, the girls performed disco covers on the show most of the time in stifled, unenthusiastic stagings.

But the one time the crowd really seemed to get into the girls’ performance was also the only time they performed one of their own songs… Oh hey, look at that! It’s “U.F.O!”

Enjoy, and I will see you next time. 🙂

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