Following his membership as lead singer in the British band Jigsaw from 1966 to 1983, Des Dyer continued to work in the music business as a solo artist. His solo disc titled “Don’t Forget Me” is a collection of cover songs written by Shogo Hamada, translated from the original Japanese lyrics to English by Des. Released in 1992 by Teichiku Records, “Don’t Forget Me” is a collection of melodic pop songs in the same vein as the mainstream material Jigsaw recorded in the 1970s following their early psychedelic years. Even though these are all cover songs, Des Dyer has a set of vocal chords that literally shine on any song he touches.
The cover art on the disc is of a young looking blond man sitting by himself in a rowboat who closely resembles Des himself at the time he recorded this disc in 1992 – his hair now cropped short from the longish locks that he wore back in the 1970’s. He is 44 years old at the time he did “Don’t Forget Me” but his vocal range has not diminished in the least. If one were to listen to this disc immediately following “Sky High” (1975), the listener could easily mistake the former as being recorded during the same time period.
Considering the music style of melodic pop, plus his vocal range, Des Dyer’s transition from Jigsaw to Japanese pop music certainly seems natural enough, considering the British pop band was very popular in Japan during the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Shogo Hamada proves to be among the most talented Japanese songwriters of the 20th century. The love songs in this collection – such as “Another Saturday” and “Goodbye Love” – deal with everlasting love and heartbreak, as do love songs in the western world. Surprisingly, though, the most unusual feature of Japanese love songs is their tenderness, intimacy, and sensitivity, born in a culture not traditionally well known for the external display of emotional intimacy. Listening to Des sing “Don’t Forget Me” is like sitting outside on the first day of spring, the last traces of snow melted with the crocuses and hyacinths in full bloom. Shogo also explores puppy love in “That First Taste of Love”, a song about falling in love at the age of seventeen. “J.Boy” is the most upbeat song on this disc, originally released by Shogo in 1986 when Japan was still a global economic power. This song is a lament about the rat race, complete with a punchy saxophone played by Tim Saunders. “Everybody Cries” is reminiscent of a 1960’s doo-wop song, while “Last Show” is an appropriate final song – the performance may be over with, but the songs last forever.
Clive Scott, the other half of the Jigsaw songwriting team, plays keyboards on the disc as well as provides backing vocals. Produced by Clive Scott and Ray Hedges, “Don’t Forget Me” is a must for all Des Dyer fans, or anyone who appreciates Japanese pop songs in translation.