Eiichi Ohtaki (July 28, 1948 – December 30, 2013) was a Japanese musician, songwriter and record producer. He first became known as a member of the rock band Happy End, but was better known for his solo work. In 2003, Ohtaki was ranked by HMV Japan at number 9 on their list of the 100 most important Japanese pop acts.
Ohtaki used three different ways to spell his name in Japanese, all pronounced the same way. Born as Eiichi Ohtaki (Japanese: 大瀧 榮一, Hepburn: Ōtaki Eiichi), he used the characters 大瀧 詠一 to spell his name in songwriting credits, and 大滝 詠一 as a singer.
Ohtaki was born in Esashi District, in what is now part of Ōshū. Before joining Happy End, Ohtaki was guitarist in a group called Taboo with future Blues Creation singer Fumio Nunoya. Happy End produced three albums before officially disbanding on New Year's Eve 1972. Ohtaki had already released his first self-titled solo album back in November.
He produced the rock band Sugar Babe, and continued to produce its members Taeko Onuki and Tatsuro Yamashita after the group's break up. Their only album Songs was the first release on Ohtaki's record label Niagara Records in 1975.
Ohtaki, Yamashita and brief Sugar Babe member Ginji Ito released an album titled Niagara Triangle Vol. 1 in 1976. The collaboration was cited by MTV as one of the six Japanese supergroups that changed the history of Japanese music. Six years later Ohtaki released Niagara Triangle Vol. 2 in 1982, this time collaborating with Motoharu Sano and Masamichi Sugi.
Ohtaki's 1981 solo album A Long Vacation is particularly well-known and highly acclaimed. It was one of the first albums to be issued on CD, was named "Best Album" at the 23rd Japan Record Awards, certified double platinum by the RIAJ and has been re-released in 20th anniversary and 30th anniversary editions. In 2007, it was named the 7th greatest Japanese rock album of all time by Rolling Stone Japan; the list was topped by Happy End's Kazemachi Roman.
Following his 1984 album Each Time and 1985 single "Fjord Girl" (フィヨルドの少女), Ohtaki largely retired from activities as a solo artist. Instead he focused on composing for and producing other acts. In 1997, he released the single "Shiawase na Ketsumatsu" (幸せな結末), which was used as the theme song for the TV drama Love Generation and sold over a million copies. The single "Koisuru Futari" (恋するふたり) was released in 2003 and used as the theme song for Tokyo Love Cinema.
After choking on an apple and collapsing in his Tokyo home at 5 p.m. on December 30, 2013, Ohtaki was rushed to a hospital but died shortly afterwards. His official cause of death was a dissecting aneurysm.
Ohtaki was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 56th Japan Record Awards in 2014. In March 2016, an album of previously unreleased material titled Debut Again was released posthumously. Referred to as his first album in 32 years, it features Ohtaki singing songs that he composed but which were originally released by other artists.Studio albums
Eiichi Ohtaki (大瀧詠一, 1972)
Niagara Moon (1975)
Go! Go! Niagara (1976)
Niagara Calendar (1977)
Let's Ondo Again (1978) credited to "Niagara Fallin' Stars"
A Long Vacation (1981)
Each Time (1984)
Debut Again (2016)
Niagara Triangle albums
Niagara Triangle Vol. 1 (1976) with Tatsuro Yamashita and Ginji Ito
Niagara Triangle Vol. 2 (1982) with Motoharu Sano and Masamichi Sugi