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Music Geekery: Ellie, My Love and the song of three cultures

November 24, 2010

 

I’m a music lover at heart, and one of the things I did when I started a general blog for myself was to make a write-up on Japanese Enka music featuring Jero. Recently, a post on a Philippine anti-Cosplay blog (The trolling attempts are hilarious in their failure to get the authors to become angry, and some of the anti-Philippine cosplay posts have some justifiable basis) made me take notice of how some Philippine songs actually have a Japanese basis or are potentially ripped off.

I did a bit more digging, however, and found that some songs really do have foreign covers with different lyrics, so I suppose a little artistic license is alright. Let’s take a look at one song from Japan that has made its way into American and Philippine culture. It’s called Itoshi no Ellie in Japan, and is otherwise known as Ellie, My Love in America and Honey My Love (So Sweet) in the Philippines.

The above is Itoshi no Ellie by Southern All Stars. Southern All Stars is a rather prolific and famous group in Japan, with their music spanning decades. I personally have a few SAS favorites myself, and for the record, Itoshi no Ellie is the first in this cultural trio to be created.

Since I don’t understand much Japanese, I can’t translate the lyrics for you, so let’s move on to America.

This cover of Itoshi no Ellie, Ellie My Love, is done by Ray Charles and was reportedly done in 1989 for a Suntory commercial, if Wikipedia’s information is an accurate basis. The lyrics for this cover suggest that this was a song about attempting to reconcile with Ellie.

In any event, this song went on to sell 400,000 copies becoming 1989′s best selling single performed by a Western Artist for the Japanese market.

April Boy Regino’s Honey My Love (So Sweet) appears to be the last of the covers, as the song came out on the singer’s Megahits album in 1999 and has remained a staple of Philippine Karaoke Music (I wouldn’t exactly call it OPM, original Philippine music given the facts) to this day.

Below, you’ll find my loose translation of the song, which takes a bit of word maneuvering since the original Philippine lyrics are a bit unwieldy as a straight sentence, even for native speakers.

Why am I always like this?
You never notice me
It’s like I always
Follow what you say
I always think of you
Even if you don’t think of me
Honey my love so sweet.

Even though you don’t notice* me
I’m not mad at you.
Because I know
what you feel for me
You just don’t know
What I feel when I’m with you
Honey my love so sweet

No matter who you are as long as I love you
I’ll always follow you.
I love you and that’s the truth
Honey My Love so sweet.

Even though you don’t notice* me
I’m not mad at you.
Because I know
what you feel for me
You just don’t know
What I feel when I’m with you
Honey my love so sweet

No matter who you are as long as I love you
I’ll always follow you.
I love you and that’s the truth
Honey My Love so sweet.

I’ve got no other love than you
Tell me you love me too
Oh dear, please listen to me
Honey my love so sweet (x3)

*”Notice” can potentially be “pay attention to” depending on meaning.

As you can see, very different lyrics from the American one, though they do have a similar plea for the girl to listen to them. I like how that plays out, actually.

Anyway, as you can see, this bit of geekery has little point other than to compare three songs by listening to them. No matter what genre or musical styling you listen to, you have to admit, the song is annoyingly catchy now, since you’ve heard it thrice. :) Cheers!

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