When thinking about were idol genre is today ,where it is heading ,you can`t forget where it once was and for me that is the 80`s a time when there were countless of idols engaged in rivalries ,high record sales battles over chart numbers.
Very little of today’s idol genre is an original thought by a producer ,the foundation for everything happening today ,first took place in the 80s .Keep in mind that many of the current producers or musicians who are in music today ,either grew up in the 80s watching idols or were starting a career in the mid-late 80s to early 90s. While the foundation is the same today as in yesterday, the producers and groups are becoming more creative and creating a new vision for the genre. Vision is what this post is about.
One such 80s group that in their time were leaders in creating the 80s vision of idol genre was Wink.
Wink were the duo of Sachiko Suzuki, who normally was positioned on the left side and Shoko Aida and when they made their debut with “Sugar Baby Love” they immediately found themselves in the middle of an idol rivalry with the likes of popular groups BaBe and Pumpkin.
Despite the risk of becoming overshadowed by BaBe and Pumpkin the duo showed they could face any challenge that awaited them when they hit the top ten in 1987 with their single “Namida o Misenai de (Boys Don’t Cry).
When Wink arrived they entered a genre that like them was filled with cute ,young and innocent faced idols ,all loaded with smiles that could sink an naval armada . Wink were no exception to this rule as their smiles and charm captured the hearts of many men and earned the loyalty of thousands of fans, and young idol hopefuls with their era trend setting fashions.
However looks were not the only thing this unit had going for them ,they could sing ,something that you had to be able to do at that time as dance stage performances had not yet taken hold, like today’s idol genre.
Wink showed that they could battle the likes of BaBe and Pumpkin with their blend of charm, sweetly melodic vocals and upbeat dance-pop singles. These singles were hits in the nightclubs and included the likes of “Ai ga Tomaranai”, “Atsui Kuchibiru”, “One Night in Heaven”, “Yoru ni Hagurete”, “Sexy Music” and “Itsumademo Suki de Itakute”
One Night in Heaven by the way is one of my favorite Wink songs and their PV costumes, makes me wonder what they may have looked like if this was a unit in today’s era.
Wink was what you may call “youthful sophistication idols” and their image very much reflected this as their photo sessions and videos captured this concept. Their singles booklets were filled with model shots of Suzuki and Aida wearing elegant clothing and accessories, while their PVs focused on fashion and choreography, while some of their rivals dashed off to more exotic locations or even risked showing a more sexy side of themselves.
When it came to collectable merchandise Wink had three stores in Harajuku alone and many more across Tokyo and Japan.
Wink would see their success go well into the 90`s as the duo made highly successful solo albums in 1992 [Shoko’s “Delphinium” and Sachiko’s “Mode”]. Wink would continue their success as a duo until 1996, when they called it a day and as a result brought the end to the most successful idol group of the silver age and the end of Idol silver age.
For many fans they regard Wink`s ending as the darkest day of Idol genre. I however disagree, the darkest day in my opinion was the day Yukiko Okada became sad and jumped from her agency’s building at the age of 18 and the high number of fans that in their grief followed her into the afterlife.
The ending of Wink ,marked the end of one age of the genre and the birth of a new age as groups like Morning Musume and other large member units were about to arrive in the late 90s to create a new age only to be followed by the rise of more idol ages.
While the genre may not reach the level of record sales battles that idols saw in the 80s and early/mid 90s, if it was not for groups like Wink, we would not have the genre we have today.
Wink`s catalog is more than this post can handle, so here is a few to close this out.
This PV captured their concept very well
A solo song from that time period that I liked
For their time Wink was just awesome in every way, there is much that could be said about this group that could fill pages on this site, I`ll just simply end with they were one the best duo`s the Idol genre ever produced.