Song of the Day: Quincy Jones, “Ai No Corrida” (1981)

In 1981, Quincy Jones scored a major hit with the song “Ai No Corrida” and to this day, not many people know he wasn’t among the original songwriters of the tune: that credit goes to British songwriting team Kenny Young and Chaz Jankel. In fact, it was the latter who recorded the first version of “Ai No Corrida” for his 1980 near-self-titled debut LP, Chas Jankel.

Jankel gained recognition as the jazz and funk-man of Ian Drury and the Blockheads and the melody for “Ai No Corrida” had been in his head for some time before he decided to give it to Young. The story goes it was Young who finally came up with the concept for the lyrics, which at first befuddled Jankel and even made him a little uncomfortable.

The lyrics would be loosely based around “In the Realm of the Senses” – and its title would actually be the original title of this movie, which was a controversial arthouse hit structured around the act of strangulation in lovemaking. One wouldn’t immediately get the references from listening to the song. Furthermore, Jankel admitted that once Jones asked to record it, he felt “Ai No Corrida” slip out of his hands. Nevertheless, to remember this story is to give some credit to Britain’s contribution to American funk-soul.

“You see girl, you thrill me, half kill me / That’s what you do.”

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