Motoharu Sano “Angelina”

Happy New Year! To kick off 2024 with the first ‘CYCLE MUSIC,’ let’s introduce a song by a Japanese artist that represents a cornerstone of my life as a music lover, which is fitting for the start of a new year. It’s ‘Angelina’ by Motoharu Sano, a song that marked the beginning of the 1980s and my youth.

This song, released as his debut single in the spring of 1980, had me picturing it with a bicycle jacket right from the start of this series. I’m delighted to have the perfect moment to write about it. During my student days, there’s a nostalgic memory of visiting a store called ‘Akaikutsu’ in Yokohama (where the cover photo for the first album ‘BACK TO THE STREET’ was taken) almost like a pilgrimage to a sacred place due to the jacket photo being shot there.

Motoharu Sano, alongside Paul Weller and others, was one of the most influential artists during my middle teenage years. I remember tuning in every Monday night to his show “Sound Street” on NHK-FM, where I discovered various wonderful music and became engrossed in collecting records. One vivid memory was the cultural festival theme song during my second year of high school, “SOMEDAY,” one of his representative songs from the early days of his career. Singing it with friends in the auditorium at night remains an unforgettable scene from my youth, transcending 40 years without fading from memory.

There are several songs in Motoharu Sano’s repertoire that I adore, but “Angelina” stands out as his debut single that I can’t help but consider the best. Even now, when I listen to it, it grips my heart and touches my soul profoundly. It’s an unforgettable piece that resonates with an exhilarating “Born To Run” sense, overflowing with lyrical sensibilities. The speedy synergy between the lyrics, beat, and melody captivated my younger self like an electric shock. On a side note, personally, I’ve always struggled with singing slow-paced ballads or songs at karaoke, finding them too embarrassing. However, “Angelina” has become a valuable part of my repertoire that I can confidently perform despite those challenges.

Motoharu Sano「Angelina」


Toru Hashimoto (SUBURBIA)
Editor / Music Selector / DJ / Producer. Founder of Suburbia Factory. Owner of Shibuya’s “Cafe Apres-midi” and “Apres-midi Selecao.” Over 350 compilation CDs, including series like ‘Free Soul,’ ‘Mellow Beats,’ ‘Cafe Apres-midi,’ ‘Jazz Supreme,’ ‘Music With A View,’ and many others, have been curated, making him the world’s foremost selector. He oversees and produces music broadcast channels “usen for Cafe Apres-midi” and “usen for Free Soul” on USEN, wielding significant influence in Japanese music scene since the 1990s. In recent years, his ‘Good Mellows’ series with a focus on mellow chillout has gained great popularity both domestically and internationally.

Art Work_spoken words project

Georgie Fame”Happiness”

Ever since this column started, when I listen to music, I somehow become conscious of cycling jackets, music videos related to bicycles, titles, and lyrics related to cycling. But when I thought of this song, I was delighted. It’s Georgie Fame’s beloved groovy tune “Happiness.” This song is from the 1971 masterpiece album “Going Home” is known to those in the know, and on the back cover, you can see Georgie Fame wrapped in a boa leather blouson, riding a bicycle.

Corinne Bailey Rae
“Put Your Records On”

Alongside “My Ever Changing Moods” by The Style Council, which I introduced in the first installment of this column two months ago, one of the most memorable music videos featuring cycling that comes to mind is “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae, the singer-songwriter born in Leeds, UK, in 1979. I can’t forget the fresh excitement I felt the first time I watched this music video. It was reminiscent of the bittersweet feeling I experienced when I watched early short films by François Truffaut (his films often feature memorable bicycle scenes) during my younger days.

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