Saturday, 18 August 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: Japan - Quiet Life

A band who I probably wouldn't be into if it wasn't for the wonderful BBC 6Music. For some reason this seems to be the Japan track they play most often, and whilst browsing through the LPs in a Frome charity shop a few months ago, I came across the band's album 'Tin Drum' and thought that the record may have featured the track I had been hearing on 6Music, since at this I couldn't remember what the song was called. It turned out that the track in question was called 'Quiet Life' and featured on an earlier album of the same name... 

"Japan were a British rock/pop group that formed in 1974 in Catford, South London. The band achieved success in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when they were often associated with the burgeoning New Romantic fashion movement (though the band denied any such connection). They achieved several UK hits in the early 1980s, most notably "Ghosts" and their cover version of "I Second That Emotion", which were top ten hits in 1982. They have been cited as an important influence on 1980s synthpop bands such as Duran Duran and Camouflage. With personality conflicts leading to rising tensions within the band, Japan's last ever performance was on 16 December 1982 in Nagoya, Japan. The band's final Hammersmith concerts were recorded to produce Oil On Canvas, a live album and video released in June 1983. Ironically, the band decided to split just as they were beginning to obtain long-overdue commercial success both in their native UK and internationally, with Oil On Canvas becoming their highest charting UK album, reaching No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart. By this time, the band's back catalogue had begun to sell steadily and both Hansa-Ariola and Virgin Records continued to release Japan singles into 1983, ultimately earning the band a total of nine Top 40 hits in the UK.

All of the band members went on to work on other projects, with varying degrees of success. In 1990, the members of Japan (without Rob Dean) reunited under the name Rain Tree Crow. They released an eponymously titled album in April 1991, which was well received by music critics and reached the UK Top 25. However, once again, the band dissolved following frictions between frontman David Sylvian and the other members. Although band members would work with each other again on various individual projects (including Sylvian and drummer Steve Jansen's Nine Horses project), no further full Japan reunions were planned in any form. Twenty years after their reunion as Rain Tree Crow, bassist Mick Karn died in early 2011 following a battle with cancer."

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