Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Canton (live) - Japan

Japan performed live for the last time in the UK during a six night stint at London's Hammersmith Odeon in November 1982. These performances, which were sold out, were recorded in order to put together the live album 'Oil on canvas'.

From this album, Japan's final single 'Canton (live)' was released in June 1983. The single was released in a gatefold sleeve and featured a live version of the earlier single 'Visions of China' on the B-side. As the band had decided to split up, they were just beginning to get some commercial success in the UK. 'Oil on canvas' became their highest charting album in the UK, reaching number 5. This single reached number 42 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 1020
Found: Record Exchange, London, October 17, 1989
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Canton (live)' / 'Visions of China (live)'

Friday, 16 October 2009

Ghosts - Japan

'Ghosts' was a single taken from Japan's 1981 album 'Tin drum'. Bereft of drums, the minimalist track would not be described as a 'commercially viable' single in most circumstances. However, Japan's popularity at the time allowed the single to become unexpectedly popular. It reached number 5 in the UK singles chart.

Although it was their biggest hit, Japan split up just months after this single. In 2000 David Sylvian re-recorded 'Ghosts' using the original Japan backing track and included it on his compilation 'Everything and nothing'.

My collection: 7" single no. 2847
Found: Record fair, February 1997
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Ghosts' / 'The art of parties (version)'

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Visions of China - Japan

'Visions of China' was a single released by Japan in 1981. I discovered the track a few years later, when the music video appeared on television quite regularly. It was a strange music video, which stuck in my head. Later on, the song became a happy obsession for a while.

I finally found the single in 1996, after I'd found the live version on single in 1989. This single peaked at number 32 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 2685
Found: Beanos, East Croydon, London, July 3, 1996
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Visions of China' / 'Taking island in Africa'

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Adolescent sex - Japan

Taken from their debut album of the same name, 'Adolescent sex' was the first hit for Japan, reaching number 27 in the Netherlands and number 20 in Japan. The single did not chart in the UK, where it was not played on the radio because of the title.

The song sounds very different from Japan's later material, and these days many people find it hard to believe that this is actually a track sung by David Sylvian.

My collection: 7" single no. 2942
Found: Record fair, Leiden, January 31, 1998
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Adolescent sex' / 'Sometimes I feel so low'

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Nightporter - Japan

So this is the 12" single of Japan's 'Nightporter', on which the track appears in its full glory. While on the 7" single the track was edited, this is the full album version which is longer and slightly more intense.

The B-side is 'Methods of dance', also taken from Japan's 1980 album 'Gentlemen take Polaroids'. Although not a huge chart hit upon its initial release in the UK (where it peaked at number 51), the album was later certified gold by the BPI in 1986 for 100,000 copies sold.

My collection: 12" single no. 238
Found: Record fair, 1993
Cost: 15 guilders
Tracks: 'Nightporter' / 'Methods of dance'

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

I second that emotion - Japan

'I second that emotion' was originally a hit for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles in 1967. Written by Smokey Robinson and Al Cleveland, the title of the song came to Robinson when his friend and Motown colleague Al Cleveland mispronounced the phrase 'I second that motion' as 'I second that emotion' while the pair were Christmas shopping in late 1966.

Japan recorded a cover version of the song as a standalone single released in 1980. This remixed version was released two years later, reaching number 9 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 3971
Found: Record Exchange, London, August 5, 2009
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'I second that emotion' / 'Halloween'

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Cantonese boy - Japan

'Cantonese boy' was the third single taken from Japan's 1981 album 'Tin drum'. The album continued their now developed use of electronic elements coupled with traditional instrumentation, but leans a lot more towards far-eastern influences than any of their previous albums. This single was released as a double single set, including a track called 'Gentlemen take Polaroids', taken from their previous album of the same name.

'Cantonese boy' reached number 24 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 2095
Found: London, 1994
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Cantonese boy' / 'Burning bridges' // 'Gentlemen take Polaroids' / 'The experience of swimming'

Monday, 2 February 2009

Quiet life - Japan

'Quiet life' was Japan's first big chart hit, peaking at number 19 in the autumn of 1981. The album of the same name saw the band change from glam rockers to futuristic synthpop performers. They were rewarded with an ever greater following.

I didn't get to know Japan until they had disbanded. First I heard 'Nightporter', then 'Adolescent sex', and then this synthpop track. And all this after I'd heard David Sylvian's early solo work. Even when you follow pop music from an early age, you get to miss something every once in a while.

My collection: 7" single no. 2883
Found: House of Rhythm, London, October 28, 1997
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Quiet life' / 'A foreign place'

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Nightporter - Japan

Japan released their first album for Virgin Records, 'Gentlemen take polaroids', on November 15, 1980. Only the title track was released as a single, a month earlier. It was only in 1982 that another track from this album appeared as a single, the classic 'Nightporter'. As anyone can hear, the track was influenced by the works of French composer Erik Satie's 'Gymnopédies'.

For the single release, the track was remixed and edited. The B-side was a cover version of Marvin Gaye's 1965 song 'Ain't that peculiar', also taken from 'Gentlemen take polaroids'. The single peaked at number 29 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 1543
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, October 27, 1991
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Nightporter [edit]' / 'Ain't that peculiar'
Download: here
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