Biography

Linda Yamamoto(山本リンダ - Yamamoto, Linda) is a Japanese pop star whose greatest hit was “Nerai uchi” (“狙いうち”, meaning “Sharpshoot”) in 1973. Yamamoto was born March 4, 1951 in Fukuoka, but moved to Yokohama as a child. She began modeling when just eleven years old, first becoming known after an appearance in the popular fashion magazine Soen. She was scouted to become a singer, and in 1966 made her debut single “Komacchauna”, which promptly sold over a million copies. While most models in such a situation would drop modeling, Yamamoto continued, and as such her modeling career rocketed. A contemporary of Twiggy, she began to be called “the Japanese Twiggy”, and in fact the two made some appearances together. About a year after her debut, Yamamoto did a six show tour of the States, which included stops in New York and San Francisco. However all attempts at a follow-up hit fizzled.

She stayed busy however appearing in musicals and on TV, but was not getting near the top of the charts. In 1972 she made the first of her numerous comebacks, with the smash hit single “Donimo Tomaranai”, which became the second biggest hit of her career. The song was written by the accomplished writing team of Yu Aku and Shunichi Tokora, who also wrote hits for Pink Lady, The Finger Five and Momoe Yamaguchi. They also subsequently wrote more hits for Yamamoto, including “Jin Jin Sasete”, “Kuruwasetaino” and “Neraiuchi”.

However good her songs and singing might have been, what people talked about most was the way she looked. Her stage costume of the time revealed her bellybutton, which became known as “heso dashi”. For the times it was considered a very sexy, provocative look, bordering on scandalous, and “heso dashi” became the topic of much media discussion. In the 1970s she began spending a good deal of time doing a stage revue type show, often at famed the Crystal Room in Akasaka. Her shows were consistently popular and the media started calling her “queen of revue”. In 1989 she also started adding chanson to her repertoire, for which she won critical and popular acclaim. However as the 1990s rolled around Yamamoto was mostly coasting on her successful past. Even a photo book of nudes only caused a small ripple of new interest. The durable star’s career however was once again revived, this time by an animated little girl named Chibi Maruko-chan. In her popular TV program Maruko-chan would sometimes imitate Yamamoto’s songs and dance routines, which again spurred interest, and what finally became another full-fledged Yamamoto revival boom.

In 2001 Yamamoto tied up with the popular Harajuku toy store Kiddyland to make a line of Linda goods. Also that year, at the age of 50, she married for the first time, a college professor seven years her senior. In 2005 she became the “image character” for Wanda coffee. Throughout her roller coaster career Yamamoto has managed to appear on Kohaku Uta Gassen five times. Her greatest hit, “Neraiuchi”, was featured prominently in episode 48 of Ultraman Taro and is one of the songs in the Nintendo DS game Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan (Japanese: 押忍!闘え!応援団).

Edited by denpachan on 9 Aug 2011, 16:09

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