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A Boy on the Backstreet

Release: 1986
Artist: Shogo Hamada 
Lyrics and composition: Shogo Hamada
Album: J.BOY

This is the debut song of Shogo Hamada, a representative track that holds deep personal significance. It portrays his emotions and experiences from the time he moved to Tokyo until around the age of 22. Originally released as his debut single in 1976, the song has been featured in multiple versions, including one recorded for the album ‘J.BOY’ in 1986.

The performance of this song during the legendary live concert ‘A PLACE IN THE SUN ’88 at Nagisaen’ held on August 20, 1988 was truly impressive! It is available for viewing on the official YouTube channel, so please check it out from the ‘Recommended LIVE VIDEO’ mentioned above.

Lyrics (translated)

On the white walls of the school building at midnight
I engraved a farewell poem
On the platform in the morning glow
I searched for his face, but tears obscured my view
A note left on the desk saying, “I’m setting off on a journey”
A harmonica and a handful of spare change in my pocket
Without even knowing the meaning of goodbye
Unintentionally, it shattered and fell from my palm
That was when I was sixteen
On the backstreet, yearning for the distant sky


By the time I finish my part-time job and ride the train back to Yokohama, it’s already midnight
With a worn-out folk guitar
Leaning against the window, I strummed along to the newly learned “Blown by the Wind”
In a cramped room, I dreamed with my companions
Someday, this country will wake up
Without even knowing the meaning of betrayal
Unintentionally, it shattered and fell from my palm
That was when I was eighteen
Hunched over, I kept waiting on the backstreet


On the weathered walls of the tall factory
On my way home, stumbling and weary
For the first time since leaving home
I wrote a letter to my mother in my hometown, saying “I’m doing well”
Amidst the bewildering heat of falling in love
With each night spent together, gradually
Without even knowing the meaning of tenderness
Unintentionally, it shattered and fell from my palm
That was when I was twenty-one
On the backstreet, embracing slender shoulders


If I hum, it’s always a sad song
My heart aches with unfulfilled feelings
Once again today, I respond to the calling voice
Unintentionally, it shatters and falls from my palm
Now I’m twenty-two
On a dead-end backstreet I’ve come to know for the first time

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