all clippings provided by Chuck Harter


by Yardena Arar

HOLLYWOOD: NBC-TV, seeking new and different ways to boost itself out of the ratings cellar, has come up with something not so new but definitely different. The not so new aspect of "Pink Lady and Jeff" is that it's a variety series ---five Friday night shows. (Friday's show will be locally at 8 p.,., channel 33 with guests Donny Osmond, Larry Hagman, Sid Caesar and Teddy Pendergrass)

Now, there have been no huge variety successes lately. In fact, some very big stars have found the format rather inhospitable; ask Mary Tyler Moore. But this is where the different part comes in. No stars are risking their reputations on "Pink Lady and Jeff", at least no American stars. The "Pink Lady" of the title actually is two Japanese ladies. They go by their first names only --- Mie and Kei (pronounced Me and Kay) --- and they are huge celebrities in Japan.

They are primarily singers who have sold millions of records there, not to mention sausages and noodles and other products they hawk in commercials. Their live appearances, with cute and energetic dance routines, attract enormous crowds and they are immensely popular TV personalities.Their first American venture, an album released last summer amid heavy promotion didn't sell very well here. But this obviously didn't matter much to NBC's president Fred Silverman who saw the act on tape.

"He called us about seven months ago and said, 'Do you know who Pink lady is?'" recalls Sid Krofft, who is co-producing the show with his brother Marty. "He said, 'I'm going to try and negoitiate a deal because I want to do a television show with them' He didn't say what, how. That was the only clue he gave us." Silverman does have an eye for a pretty lady. He gave TV "Charlie's Angels" and various Susan Anton specials. But what he may not have known when he made the phone call ---and what the Kroffts quickly found out--- was that Pink Lady's English is almost non-existant.

You might think that would be an obstacle to having them as hosts for a show. But it didn't faze the Kroffts, who turned two kids named Donnie and Marie Osmond into accomplished variety show hosts. The Kroffts did think they ought to supplant Mie and Kei with someone having a working command of English. So they hired Jeff Altman, a Los Angeles comic who has had only limited TV exposure, but who reportedly wowed affiliates with his takeoff of Richard Nixon at a disco. But Krofft says Mie and Kei do more than sing, dance, smile and show off their legs.

"I would say it's about 25 percent music and 75 percent comedy, and they're involved in at least 60 percent of the comedy. They studied Berlitz in Japan for six months. We have an interpreter, we have a coach for them, we have a comedy director. We don't have cue cards. They memorized everything. And I have never worked with stars that are so nice. They work so hard."

You sort of wonder what's in it for Mie and Kei, who already have all the money they can use from their homeland achievements. At age 20 and 21, they describe themselves as traditional Japanese women who will drop their careers the minute one of them gets married. To ward off any homesickness during the production of the show, they asked ---and got---the Kroffts to pay for them to return home for several visits.

"As I understand it, it's been their ultimate dream, to be stars here the way they are at home." he says. The two girls ---who look very much like college students in their street clothes--- nod in agreement. And as far as the hard work goes, they say American TV is relaxed compared to what they do at home.

"Jeff really makes them feel at home," explains the interpreter. "Also, in Japan, they do three shows a day."



Their names are Mie and Kei, but in Japan, they're "Pink Lady". The black haired duo has sold 17 million records and endorsed about 350 products ---ranging from underwear to bicycles---and so far, they've generated about $70 million in sales. Most Pink Lady fans are under 13, and it's that age group that snaps up their songs and products---with a little help from their parents' wallets. Now, with Japan saturated, Mie and Kei are invading America. They were in New York Tuesday to meet the press and they say they're ready. They've practiced their English, acquired a high-priced Hollywood publicity man and they'll hit the United States with a single record and a spot ona Lief Garrett TV special this spring. Watch out, "Sesame Street".

THE ANNISTON STAR (Anniston, Alabama), May 11, 1979

by Sam Jameso, Los Angeles Times writer

TOKYO: Either Mitsuyo Nemoto or Keiko Masuda, both 21, could be the "girl next door" in Japan. Instead, they have become a living symbol of the impact of television upon society. Packaged collectively into a singular entity called "The Pink Lady" and pushed to the top of the popular music charts, the pair have produced an act the likes of which has not been seen before in Japan. They have attracted a following that borders upon the fanatic among preschool-age and elementary school children.

About 81 Pink Lady products, each bearinga likeness of the two women have been marketed. They include everything from "Pink Lady Notebooks" to "Pink Lady Dolls" to "Pink Lady Bicycles". Advertising posters featuring The Pink Lady and plugging products ranging from mosquito spray to underwear are seen throughout the country. And when the stars are not singing on TV, they are appearing in countless commercials. In a word, Japan is saturated with The Pink Lady, and now new sights have been set for the pair --- in the United States. Their first single is to be released by Elektra-Curb Records in May. Plans are underway to follow it up with an LP. The pair will visit Los Angeles for about three weeks to prerecord the TV show and work on the LP. Spare time is to be filled making more commercials for Japanese TV.

Both Miss Nemoto, who is known by her nickname, "Mie" (pronounced as in "me") and Miss Masuda, who is called "Kei" (pronounced "kay") acknowledged that TV gave them their break in Japan and enabled them to become stars overnight two and a half years ago. Both also acknowledge that it was TV which gave them the adulation of children in a nation where every home has a TV set. And both say it is TV which keeps them going in the wild world of Japanese popluar music in which overnight stars can quickly become overnight has-beens.

On stage, Mie and Kei go through more gestures than a Navy signalman and bump. grind, and twirl away while singing. Both tint their black hair slightly and adorn their trim figures with dazzling costumes designed to emphasize their youthful zest rather than their figures (32-24-32 for Mie and 32-21-32 for Kei). Critics call their songs "sweet, saccharine and dumpy", their act more of a gymnastics performance than a dance. The image that emerges, however, is one of sweetness and freshness, utterly lacking sexual suggestiveness.

Children, many of them hardly out of diapers, love it, and have taken to mimicking The Pink Lady. Children's "Pink Lady Dance Contests" have become the latest addition to the plethora of Pink Lady TV programs. Some schools have included Pink Lady dancing as part of the daily gym class. Mie and Kei, in an interview, said that they don't perform with an audience of children in mind and don't believe that children form the main body of their fans. "The small children stand out because they express themselves freely. Adults are more calm, and react overtly," Mie said.

Obviously, a lot of adults are financing the purchase of Pink Lady records in Japan, whoever may be listeninfg to them. Not counting their latest record, which was released on march 9, nine of the 10 singles they have recorded since August 1976, made it to the top of the Japanese hit parade. The most "disappointing" showing was for their debut record which made it as far as two on the charts ad sold 750,000 copies----in a nation where 300,000 sales constitutes a hit.

Both admit, however, that TV has so firmly implanted as images of Pink Lady as a cute, humorous pair of childlike singers that they have bceome locked into one fixed style of songs---a phenomenon not at all unusal for any singer in Japan.

"Up to now, all the songs we have sung have been comical, cute and funny,", Mie said.

"Our fans, including the small children, would be bewildered if we suddenly started singing adult-like songs," Kei added.

But, that is exactly what they will be doing in their American debut with a song called "Kiss in the Dark". With words and music by Mike Lloyd, it's a disco number which Kei said had "weight" and Mie described as "adult-like".

"We're very happy to have a chance to do that kind of of song," Mie said. She added that the pair hoped that a success in the United States would open the door in Japan to add a new style to their present type-cast image. Paul Drew of Paul Drew Enterprises Inc. of Los Angeles thinks The Pink Lady can succeed where other Japanese have because "They sing well. They won't be singing in Japanese, they're very talented, they're charming, and they have me." They also will retain the gymnastic-like dancing as part of their performance, Drew said during a visit to Tokyo.

Although they may not be singing in Japanese in their American recordings, there appeared to be some question about their ability to handle English pronounciation. In an interview conducted in Japanese, neither Mie or Kei could pronounce correctly the name of rhe composer of their debut record, "Lloyd". And both of them stumbled over both 'w's' inn the title of another song, "Walk Away Renee" which they recorded for the upcoming LP. So far, however, Mie and Kei have succeeded in every task given them by their Japanese promoters, Trust and Confidence Music Co., a firm their earnings pulled out of debt.

Packaging has been at the heart of everything The Pink Lady has done so far. First, there was the name. The composer of their Japanese songs took the name "Pink Lady" from the cocktail because, "He thought a PinkLady was a drink that was sweet, strong, a colorful drink that is cute and has a great mixture of contents," Kei said.

"The name was repulsive to us," Mie said. "It soundedawful. particularly if translated into Japanese." {The color pink, when used to describe a man or a woman, inevitably refers to sex in Japanese)

Next were the gestures. "From the begining, we ourselves did not want just to stand, holding a microphone while singing. We wanted to have a certain amount of gestures. But the gestures turned into dancing and escalated more and more severely," Kei said.

"When we made out debut," Mie added. "I complained that we couldn't possibly sing while doing the kind of dance they instructed us to do. But they wouldn't listen to us."

The escalation, Mie said, has reached it's peak. :If we do any more than now, we couldn't possibly sing," she added.

From the beginning, the pair have sung the songs given them to sing, dance the dances they were instructed to dance and carried out the schedule they were instructed to carry out. For their first several records, all of them hits, they received a flat $250 apiece. The rest of the profits went to the music company which promoted them. Even today, the pair remain on contract and receive no precentage of anything they sell. the pay, which they would not reveal, however has improved. Kei acknowledged that of their salaries were put together, the probably would top the list of incomes of Japanese singers.

DAILY PRESS (Newport News, Virginia), May 13, 1979


From out of thee Orient comes a new "Pink" that has captured the pop music world of Japan. Two girls, known as "Pink Lady" have become Japan's leading recording duo. They will make their American television debut on "The Leif Garrett Special" Friday, May 18 on CBS. They will sing "Kiss in the Dark", their first English-langauage recording. Mitsuyo Nemoto and Keiko Masuda, each 21 have been close friends since they were schoolchildren in the small town of Shizuoka, near Tokyo.

THE SALINA JOURNAL (Salina, Kansas), June 17, 1979


There's a musical phenomenon sweeping Japan that is the closest thing to Beatlemania the Orient has ever known. It's a group called Pink Lady and appear to have struck gold.In less than three years, the pop-rock duo---two very attractive 21 year old women---have compiled a string of musical achievements unprecedented in the history of contemporary Japanese music, the second largest music market in the world.

Pink Lady, namely Mie and Kei, has already grossed $72 million in record sales of 17 million records. They have had 10 consecutive number 1 hit singles as well as eight successive albums that hit the top of the charts. Their "U.F.O." single captured the 1978 Japan Popular Song Award, regarded as one of the top music awards on the international scene, and they've won every other major Japanese music award to boot. That's some staggering set of statistics for a couple of singers who are still an unknown quantity in the U.S. and Canada---but they have every intention of changing that status.

They were introduced to North America as geus performers on a recent Leif Garrett TV special when they previewed their first record to be distrubuted on Western shores. The single, "Kiss in the Dark" has just been released by Elektra-Curb and was written and produced by Michael Lloyd who helped mold the sound of Debbie Boone and Shawn Cassidy.

I had an opportunity to experience the Pink Lady phenomenon, along with a crowd of 15,000 at a UNICEF benefit concert in Osaka, Japan. Several hours before the concert was scheduled to begin, cars lined up for three miles bumper to bumper in front of the amusement park where the concert was staged. Adoring fans ranging in age from 3-year olds on their parents' laps to throings of teenagers who wore pink headbands and shouted Japanese phrases through pink megaphones.

The duo's success is not limited to record sales and massive displays of adoration however. The cult spills over into merchandise sales: more than 100 items from clothing and posters, to cosmetics and dance acessories. Some Japanese schools even include Pink Lady dancing as part of their athletic curruculum. The concert itself was a slick, colorful production, complete with six backup dancers and three backup singers. Mie, pronounced "Me" and Kei, pronounced "Kay" performed most of their hits and even a few songs that were recognizable to Occidental ears such as "Yesterday" and "Last Dance" which they sung in phonetic English.

Since their English is extremely limited, they do interviews through an interpreter. Offstage, they are shy and reserved, a far cry from the vitality they exhibit before a large audience. It was through their interpreter that the revealed that they had both attended the same schools, belonged to the same dramatic group, studied voice together, and at the suggestion of their vocal teacher, auditioned together for a local TV show called "A Star Is Born"---which is exactly what happened. Following their appearance on the show, the girls were signed to Japan's Victor Records and went on to become national treasures.

Following their rise to super-stardom, the singers made their motion picture debut in "Pink Lady Walkie Talkie", a science fiction-western adventure that was a huge box offic ehit in Japan. Although the girls' parents would have prefered that they had attended college, they have given them their blessings, particularly since the duo is making a serious affort to study English. This, of course, is not only for their edification, but beause it si a prerequisite to their making a career for themselves outside of Japan.

As Mie says, "We enjoy singing in English but must work harder and become more confident in speaking before we can make a tour of North America." In the meantime, they made an exploratory visit in New York and Los Angeles last fall, liked what they saw in their crystal ball, and recorded their first U.S. album to be released this summer.

THE HONOLULU ADVERTISER (Honolulu, Hawaii), July 27, 1979

by Wayne Harada

Pink Lady, a duo consisting of two attractive Japanese singers-dancers, reportedly is the ranking female group in the world today, with disc sales totally $40 million last year. Mie (Mitsuyo Nemoto) and Kei (Keiko Masuda) are leggy 21-year olds who have won every major major award in Japan. With a new Album, "Pink Lady" (Elektra 6E-209), just out---capped by a vigorous disco-flavored hit, "Kiss in the Dark" (which is scaling the singles list)---Mie and Kei are making a dent on the American public.

Hawaii too is responding to this act. "Kiss in the Dark" is the first Japanese single to gain national airplay since the late Kyu Sakamoto went to No. 1 with "Sukiyaki" on the Capitol label. It is, in reality, nothing special---a chicly produced, singable, danceable ditty, hurled into the limelight by excellent promotion. Certainly, the curiosity factor works. Who is Pink Lady? The girls sing in English---but phonetically. Since 1976, they've sold $72 milliom worth of records---that about 17 million discs---resulting in 10 consecutive No. 1 singles ad eight No. 1 albums in Japan.

America has been an untested market for them, and radio impressario Paul Drew signed the group to Elektra/Curb Records, and got veteran composer-producer Michael Lloyd (who's done work with the likes of Debby Boone and Shaun Cassidy) to write songs and handle the session. Hence, Lloyd is equally a star on their first American issue, the LP is a collage of fashionable rock ballads and movers, some old (like "Walk Away Renee") and some new (like "Give Me Your Love")

Mostly, they sing of love---the common theme for any rock act today---and the results are quite savory. Check out "I Want To Give You My Everything", "Love Countdown", "Show Me The Way You Love", "Strangers When We Kiss", "Love Me Tonight". At best, Pink Lady---named after a drink---exudes a mystery, even musically, Mie and Kei could pass for Americans---lyrics to their songs are somewhat simplistic---and their initial appeal might be strictly for the teenyboppers.

Still, they are a visual act, with Japan-style choreographics. Elektra is going all out to put the Lady in the Pink, and Pink Lady should find out in the next few weeks if Americans really have a yen for Japanese rock.

BATON ROGUE STATE TIMES (Baton Rogue, Louisiana), August 1, 1979

Review of Pink Lady album

Pink Lady, consisting of an attractive pair of Japanese ladies named Mie and Kei, is the hottest thing on vinyl in Japan. And now they've arrived in the United States, courtesy of Curb Records. The songs are reasonably well-tooled disco items, produced with expected precision and all the personality of a wadded-up Leif Garrett poster. Who Pink Lady is does not matter, what Pink Lady is tells the whole story. The idea of Pink Lady was successfully marketed in Japan and the two young ladies involved---who look very nice on an album cover were selected to fulfill roles. Their voices are actually secondary to the sound. I constantly felt they were purposely being downgraded, kept in the middle range. As musicmaking goes, this stuff is aggressively dead. I don't care if I never hear it again. But cunning ideas like this make a lot of money. And a lot of money is really all one needs to market this week's pop sensation.

DAILY PRESS (Newport News, Virginia), August 3, 1979

Review of "Walk Away Renee/Kiss in the Dark"

I don't know what possessed me to put this thing on my turntable. It could have been the rice I had for dinner last night. I had just received an album by two very pretty Japanese girls who trade under the name Pink Lady. I thought it would add just the right spice to the meal. Wrong! Japan has gone disco---or at least that is what Pink Lady is all about. It was disco city from beginning to end. I know that there are millions of folks who love to get out on the floor and do the Latin Hustle and spend a week's pay for a disco suit by Gucci. Dancing is great fun---but why do it to disco music?

After listening to the album, I knew why the ladies were pink. You'd be embarrassed too if you had to rerecord all your best material in a foreign language. So being the understanding type I decided to review the disco single they sent instead of the whole album. Pink Lady has managed to to turn a hit by Left Banke into a sleepy, dozy bore. Their voice are lost somewhere in the syrupy production of Michael Lloyd. Mie and Kei are OK vocalists, but they would do better with a little less packaging and a little more voice. It doesn't matter that the have sold more than 17,000,000 records and grossed over $12,000,000 on tour in Japan. Disco lovers rejoice. This one's for you.

MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE (Minneapolis, Minnesota), August 3, 1979

Review of Pink Lady album

This could be one of the Motown female groups of the 60's, though without the sensuality. Soul-bubblegum may be the way to describe Pink Lady, a female duo that is the biggest thing to hit Japan since Commodore Perry docked there in the 19th century. Pink Lady, however, didn't come to Japan via the harbor. They grew up there ("they" is made up of Mie and Kei, two 21 year olds who went to Japan noir high together), and now they're going to reverse the good Commodore's route and invade the United States.

Mie and Kei have grossed more than $72 million in record sales the past two years, and apparently one can't walk through a department store these days without seeing Pink Lady underwear, purses and beach balls. The sound---production and vocals---is as smooth as Japanese silk. Least bland of the album's ten cuts is a bouncy opus called "Walk Away Renee" though it---and it is not easy to outguess these things---"Kiss in the Dark" is the single.

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