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WINK

Admittedly, it's rather hard to call Sachiko Suzuki and Shoko Aida, a.k.a. Wink as contemporaries of Pink Lady since they debuted six years AFTER Mie and Kei broke up, but, just as the Ladies ruled the J-Pop scene in the latter half of the 1970's, Wink were the top of the pops in the late 1980's. Wink was formed in 1987 when Sachiko and Shoko entered a beauty contest given by the magazine "Up To Boy". Sachiko (on the left) won the grand prize while Shoko was one of the runners-up, then they formed their group. The duo took the name Wink when the music office first then suggested "Kirakira Kagayaku" and then the English equivalent, "Twinkle", where they found the group's name, Wink, in the middle of the word. The duo's first single, "Sugar Baby Love", was in April 1988 and a cover of the same song by The Rubettes. In fact, many Wink songs were covers of Western songs, but with different lyrics in Japanese. Wink's first hit single, their third release was "Ai ga Tomaranai-Turn It into Love", which helped to popularize eurobeat in Japan in the late 80's. It quickly became No. 1 on the Oricon charts, along with many of the singles that followed it and they became just as much a juggernaut as Mie and Kei were during the 70's. My favorite Wink song was "One Night In Heaven" which was a sexy, smoky tune that I found remarkable. During this time, Wink even had their own chain of stores, "Winkers", which sold Wink memorabilia. There were three stores in the Harajuku area of Tokyo alone. Pretty impressive in itself, something not even Pink Lady had. Now, what made Wink uniquely different from many other J-pop idols of the day who focused on a being cute with sugar coated lyrics, Sachiko and Shoko went the other way, they had emotionless facial expressions while singing, and almost never smiled, something I found most intriguing from videos I had seen. They also dressed in extravagant lolita fashions, and almost looked doll-like. This uniqueness helped make them popular. And, in my humble opinion, the girls also wore some of the most amazing hats I had ever seen, like in the picture above. But, in the early 90's, Wink ran out of steam as tastes in music turned to genres like Euro dance, and by 1996, the girls called it quits. In the aftermath of Wink, Sachiko and Shoko became TV personalities and released solo albums, in fact, one album Shoko released in 2003, "Paris, je t'aime d'amour", she sang most of the songs in French, just like Kei-chan had on "Voice Cologne" back in 1990. The legacy of Wink was one of ethereal elegance in their presentation and smooth sounding music that made them one of the true giants from the silver age of J-Pop music.

Sugar Baby Love

Turn It Into Love

One Night In Heaven

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