Another 70s Star - It's You (그건 너) and A Shot of Memories (한 잔의 추억) by Lee Jang Hee

Mountain Verdure

The early 1970s saw the coming of another talented new kid in the music scene. Lee Jang Hee (이장희) dropped on to the pop music world one day seemingly out of nowhere. Despite no special affinity to music in his family and having taken no musical training, he had a deep fountain of creative idea. As one of the early singer songwriters together with Kim Min Gi and Hahn Dae Soo, he produced quite a few big hits in the pop arena. His music seemed to have no boundaries, ranging from personal and melancholy, poetic and introspective, to energetic light rock.

그건 너


모두들 잠들은 고요한 이밤에
어이 해 나홀로 잠 못 이루나
넘기는 책 속에 수많은 글들이
어이 해 한자도 보이질 않나

그건 너 그건 너 바로 너 때문이야
그건 너 그건 너 바로 너 때문이야

어제는 비가오는 종로거리를
우산도 안받고 혼자 걸었네
우연히 마주친 동창생 녀석이
너 미쳤니 하면서 껄껄 웃더군

그건 너 그건 너 바로 너 때문이야
그건 너 그건 너 바로 너 때문이야

전화를 걸려고 동전 바꿨네
종일토록 번호판과 씨름했었네
그러다가 당신이 받으면 끊었네
웬일인지 바보처럼 울고 말았네

그건 너 그건 너 바로 너 때문이야
그건 너 그건 너 바로 너 때문이야

그건 너 .. 그건 너 .. 그건 너

It's You


In the dead of night when all are asleep
How come I still struggle to go to sleep
In the book I'm barely thumbing through
How come all the words go right past me

It's you, it's you, it's all because of you
It's you, it's you, it's all because of you

Yesterday I was on Chongro boulevard
Walking alone soaked through in the rain 
An old friend from school I ran across
Laughed out loud saying are you crazy

It's you, it's you, it's all because of you
It's you, it's you, it's all because of you

Went and got change to make a call
Wrestled with the dial pad all day long
Then hung up when you finally answered
Bursting out crying like a hopeless fool

It's you, it's you, it's all because of you
It's you, it's you, it's all because of you

It's you .. it's you .. it's you


한 잔 의 추 억


늦은 밤 쓸쓸히 창가에 앉아
꺼져가는 불빛을 바라보면은
어디선가 날 부르는 소리가 들려
취한 눈 크게 뜨고 바라보면은
반쯤 찬 술잔 위에 어리는 얼굴

마시자 한 잔의 추억
마시자 한 잔의 술
마시자 마셔버리자

기나긴 겨울밤을 함께 지내며
소리없는 흐느낌을 서로 달래며
마주치는 술잔 위에 흐르던 사연
흔들리는 불빛 위에 어리는 모습
그리운 그 얼굴을 술잔에 담네

마시자 한 잔의 추억
마시자 한 잔의 술
마시자 마셔버리자

어두운 밤거리에 나 홀로 서서
희미한 가로등을 바라보면은
어디선가 날 부르는 소리가 들려
행여 하는 마음에 뒤돌아보면
보이는 건 외로운 내 그림자

마시자 한 잔의 추억
마시자 한 잔의 술
마시자 마셔버리자

A shot of Memories


Late night, sitting forlornly by the window
I'm watching the lights go dim one by one
When I hear someone calling me somewhere
Widening my drunken eyes I look around
Only to find a face up on the half full glass

Let's drink it, a shot of memories
Let's drink it, a shot of liquor
Let's drink it, let's drink it all up

Staying the long winter night together
While soothing each other's silent wails
Sweet stories flowing over clinking glasses
Her figure flickering in the shaky light
I pour the fond face in the glass

Let's drink it, a shot of memories
Let's drink it, a shot of liquor
Let's drink it, let's drink it all up

Standing alone on a darkened boulevard
I'm staring up at the dimming street lamp
When I hear someone calling me somewhere
Half doubting I turn around to see who
Only to find a lonely shadow of myself

Let's drink it, a shot of memories
Let's drink it, a shot of liquor
Let's drink it, let's drink it all up


Spring In Korea

The legend has it that Lee Jang Hee (이장희, 1947-) listened to a song on the radio, the title of which eludes me, and thought he wanted to write songs like that, which started everything. He got a guitar and taught himself to compose songs. It was the creativity lurking in him and nothing else that started the whole chain of events. After dropping out of college to pursue music, he started make headway in the early 1970s. It’s You (그건 너) which was released in 1973, was a major hit that solidified his position as a major artist. It was quite a feat even in the new era that saw many new songwriters and lyricists such as Kim Min Gi and Hahn Dae Soo as it was such a huge mainstream hit. While Kim and Hahn’s songs were modest hits that gained popularity over time and especially among the followers and aficionados, Lee’s pop hits were massive ones that immediately dominated the media and generated huge record sales. It was a phenomenon that no one thought possible, that a virtually known newcomer could be a major star in such a short span of time through nothing but his self composed songs and passion. Remarkably, Lee did not have good looks or even above average voice to help him in his quest, as is often the case with the recent K-pop artists. Lee’s music was very diverse and did not limit him in one genre, which he once said had a strong influence of Hank Williams Jr. Lee’s inexhaustible output continued for several years, putting out more chart hits for himself, doing movie theme songs, and writing songs for other artists as well. He was another happy story of pure artistic sensitivities trumping the trappings of the industry.

Spring In Korea

It’s You was a high octane light rock that was especially popular with the youth. About a youngster lost and thrashing about in the city, it was in a way an anthem for the youths, a sound track of their lives done in an apt and compelling mainstream pop with lyrics that depict them in a cool and honest way. It seemed break all the records among the self penned, new artist songs, reaching a level even the well established singers would be envious of.

A Shot of Memories (한 잔의 추억) a year or two later follows in the same spirit. It is all about the young souls lurching and wandering for love and a direction in life, at a time Korea was a place exciting and oppressive at the same time. As the title suggests, nothing beat relaxing and letting loose with friends over a drink in the many youth friendly taverns and joints. With their susceptible and sentimental young mind, they were drinking shots of memories out of the shot glass, albeit at an age not really ripe at all to have accumulated many memories.

After a whirlwind career of a decade or so, the eccentric Lee left the music scene and went over to the United States to run an ethnic radio station in Los Angeles. A couple of decades later he called it quits and came back to Korea, settling into a hermit-like life nestled deep in nature. While making media appearances on the side and performing for old time fans occasionally, he seems to be happy with his lot living on the remote island in the East Sea, acquiring the nickname Keeper of the Ullung-do.

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