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Gomen Nasai

Discussion in 'Disney Recordings' started by RobertKilbride, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. RobertKilbride

    RobertKilbride New Member

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    I have recordings of the song Gomen Nasai by Harry Belafonte and Eddie Howard and noticed that both say the song is written by Benedict Mayers and Raymond Hattori and is published by Walt Disney Music Co. Does anyone know what the connection is from this song to Disney? I haven't been able to find anything online about it. As a side note, on the same CD as Belafonte's version of Gomen Nasai, there is a version of Jamaica Farewell that is a little slower than the version on the album Calypso and has no harmony vocal on the chorus. Does anyone know if this is the single version or perhaps just an alternate unreleased version? There is no discographical info on the cd.
     
  2. RobertKilbride

    RobertKilbride New Member

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  3. eyore

    eyore DLRP explorer Premium Member Playlist Author

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    http://www.akh.se/lyrics/gomen_nasai.htm

    That's about it I'm afraid. I wonder (as it's Japanese) if there is a TDL connection?
    Can't find anything for Gomen Nasai released by HB before 1993 though apart from that original recording in 1953.
    Harry Belafonte recorded stuff several times during his career rather than just re-release previous versions - especially his earlier stuff (I suppose he reckoned he'd got better so would rather re-record them).
    Jamaica Farewell is one of those so there could be numerous versions out there. I don't think I have that version though. The compilation discs appear to use the original,
    The original single (on 78) did have the harmony as far as I can tell by what I have. The modern releases of it appear to be a lot shorter than listed though.
    He did do a live TV show without the harmony and a little slower than the original.
    Have a browse through this site:
    http://www.whosdatedwho.com/tpx_4873/harry-belafonte/songs
    If you click on the song name, it gives all the release dates and release history - all released on RCA..
     
  4. eyore

    eyore DLRP explorer Premium Member Playlist Author

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    I wonder if the tune was acquired by Disney (or TDL). They have obviously used it somewhere as that picture shows. I would think that that is more "property of" rather than ownership though (no mention of copyright on that page - I'd love to see the first page of the manuscript)..
     
  5. RobertKilbride

    RobertKilbride New Member

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    I'm guessing this must have been owned by Disney prior to the opening of TDL because the sheet music cover looks older than 1983. To me it looks like it could be contemporaneous to the composition in the 50's. The phone number is listed as MAYFAIR 7600 which seems like it would predate the 80's when in the US at least it would have been listed as a 7 or 10 digit number. I think of the combination of words and numbers as going pretty far back, but I'm not an expert. I was kind of expecting that it might be from some obscure TV show or movie but I'm wondering if perhaps Disney published works outside of its own TV shows and films as purely a business.
     
  6. Magic Music

    Magic Music Administrator Playlist Author

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    Walt Disney Music published Gomen-Nasai in 1951. There is no connection to any of the Disney films or theme parks. It it just one of the many outside songs that were sought after by Fred Raphael, who started Walt Disney Music in 1949. Walt gave Fred free reign to go after songwriters, performers, etc.

    Here is some background on Gomen-Nasai for you...


    Hit Song Changes Life of Former Army Draftee

    By Bob Thomas

    Hollywood, Feb. 26, 1953 (AP) — Home from a two-year stretch as an army draftee, Richard Bowers settled down last month to civilian life in his home town, Vaux Hall, N.J.

    He got a job as a drill press operator in an electrical plant in the Newark suburb. He also applied for a civil service job with the government. Then things started popping.

    One day he came home from work, and his sister excitedly reported that someone had telephoned him from California. Dick thought it was merely one of the army buddies he had known in Japan. But it turned out to be Fred Raphael of the Walt Disney music organization. After a few minutes' conversation, Dick was on his way to fame and fortune.

    The 25-year-old Negro was lifted from obscurity because of a change happening on the other side of the continent. A chaplain's assistant named Dean Taylor stepped off a naval ship with a record he had picked up in Japan. It was called "Gomen-Nasai" ("Forgive Me.") The haunting, Japanese-shaded tune retells the tragic "Madam Butterfly" theme of an American serviceman who asks forgiveness from the Japanese girl he is deserting.

    Taylor took the record to a Los Angeles disc jockey, Ralph Storey, who introduced it on the radio. The disc caused a stir and was replayed many times. It started a rush in the music industry to find out who owned the rights to the tune and who recorded it.

    Investigators in Tokyo finally cleared up the mystery. The music was written by Raymond Hattori, a Japanese composer. The lyrics were the work of an ex-soldier, Benedict Mayers, now a professor of political science at Roosevelt College, Chicago. The voice on the record was that of Corp. Richard Bowers.

    Columbia records, which made the disc in Japan, quickly waxed if for this country. Some 6,800 platters were sold in the first two days in Los Angeles. Variety reported the record "should clean up in the U.S. market."

    When Bowers was finally located in New Jersey, he was instructed to report to the Disney office in New York. Disney's, which manages entertainers among its many other functions, signed him to a contract.

    The handsome singer's future life began to shape up. He signed a pact with Columbia records for eight sides a year, unusual for a newcomer. Columbia Pictures flew him to Hollywood to sing "Gomen-Nasai" in a picture called "Mission over Korea." When I talked with him here, he seemed to be taking his new life in stride.

    He is now caught up in a whirl of TV and radio appearances to plug the song. I asked if he would be singing in night clubs and theaters.

    "If the song catches on nationally, I suppose I will," he replied modestly. "But that's up to Disney's."

    He said that he had sung before only on an amateur basis. He spent 19 months in Japan as a clerk-typist in personnel. He recorded nine sides for Japanese labels, but never expected anything to come of them.

    "Sure, I wanted to be a singer," he remarked. "But I figured it would be too tough to start in the business at my age."

    Bowers was at a loss to describe his signing style, but said he generally likes to sing ballads. Raphael of Disney's gave a hint as to his appeal: "Dick has an intimate quality that makes it sound as though he's signing just for you."
     
  7. eyore

    eyore DLRP explorer Premium Member Playlist Author

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    As a little "extra" to the sheet music, subscriber trunk dialling (STD) started in the UK back in 1958 and was completed in 1979. Before std, you dialled (locally) three letters followed by four numbers (when phones had both letters and numbers on the dial). Locally, that phone number would have been MAY7600 (MAY being the Mayfair exchange) but outside of London, you would have had to go via an operator to be connected to the London exchange (all manual). There was no facility for dialling direct outside a local area or city. Most numbers were just converted (by using the number in the same finger hole as the letter - thus a,b and c became 1, d,e and f, became 2 and so on).
    This collapsed in the 60's when the automatic exchanges couldn't tell the difference between the local digits and the new local codes and the long distance numbers (1 for London). Generally, Mayfair 2600 would be pre circa 1970 (as telephones still had the alpha on the dial, many companies left them as they were until the ceased to make sense or the phones went to numbers only).
    Seems off topic but can be handy to know when dealing with older documents and especially vinyl disc covers where dates may not be shown. If you find a cover showing an alpha-numeric telephone number, you know it's before that date and not a later pressing.
    My telephone number went all numeric in the late 60's (Liverpool SEF 9825 became 051-733-9825). Don't worry, number long since gone and I moved in 1998).
     
  8. RobertKilbride

    RobertKilbride New Member

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    Thanks for the info guys! Jay, it seems you have confirmed my suspicions that this was only connected to Disney as a music publishing company.
     
  9. DexterRiley

    DexterRiley New Member

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    There were other titles that would pop up in Disney sheet music compilations that had no connection to Disney along with Gomen Nasai. I remember "Shrimp Boats" being one of them.
     

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