Saturday, September 18, 2010

Japanese Beatles: The Tigers (1967)

When the Beatles hit the scene in the early sixties they were a smash all over the world. Japan was no different. When the Japanese "economic miracle" hit the world they were a hit at copying things western and making them just a bit better.

There were some things though, that the Japanese copied that were, well, hard to describe...

In the mid-1960's the Japanese public couldn't get enough of the Fab Four. What to do? Well, what would any enterprising company (record company, that is) do? Well, if they can't have the real Beatles, and, if this is Japan, then they'll make their own Beatles.

It wasn't only the Beatles though. When the British Invasion got into full swing, the Japanese upped their "copy machine" several notches and created their own version with what was called, "Group Sounds." In a nutshell Group Sounds was a "movement" of Japanese labels and artists copying the British Invasion.

Wikipedia says about "Group Sounds":

Group Sounds (G.S.) is a genre of Japanese rock music. Inspired by The Beatles, Group Sounds became popular in the mid to late 1960s. Group Sounds initiated fusion of Japanese kayōkyoku music and rock music. Their music production techniques were regarded as a pioneer of modern Japanese popular music.

The Spiders

The most famous of the Group Sounds artists were:

▪ The Tigers (aka The Funnys)
▪ The Tempters
▪ The Spiders
▪ The Wild Ones
▪ The Golden Cups
▪ The Mops
▪ The Carnabeats

The Tigers were, in my opinion, the best of these groups.

Wikipedia says this about the Tigers:

The Tigers were arguably Japan's most popular band of the Group Sounds era. The group featured Kenji Sawada as their lead singer, and were signed by Watanabe Productions.
The group was first named Funnys and was formed in 1966. They changed their name to "The Tigers" on their first TV performance on 15 November 1966.

I have always thought that the best of all Group Sounds songs was, "Seaside Band" by the Tigers. The Tigers had a guy in it named Sawada Kenji who would later on go on to become a superstar in Japan... I will blog about him sometime in the near future (of course, in a sort of twisted manner, of course!) But for now, let's check out the Tigers first hit song! This is totally Cool & Strange Music and I think you'll think this song is really groovy too! The Japanese even copied the Ed Sullivan show too!

Now! (In my best Ed Sullivan imitation): "So, here they are ladies and gentlemen, The Tigers doing, "Seaside Band"...


Keywords: Beatles, The Tigers, Tigers, Mike in Tokyo Rogers, The Tigers (Japanese Band), the Spiders, Group Sounds, British Invasion Japan, British invasion in Japan, Marketing Japan, Mike Rogers, Sawada Kenji, Kenji Sawada


Andy Rogers said...

I didn't know that Japan had their own Beatles alike band, and they have a nice songs though i hardly understand their language but it sounds cool. Thanks for sharing.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

There were a few other cool ones. I'll try to to find them and post. Thanks!

細釘 (nail) said...

Hey, I'm glad to see an English article about Group Sounds! I'm a big fan of Julie (Sawada Kenji)!!!!!!

btw, The Tigers' song was called "Seaside Bound", not "Seaside Band". They kept singing "Seaside Bound, Go Bound....."

And also I think u missed one of the most outstanding GS band Blue Comet.
Before The Tigers' debut, Blue Comet and The Spiders were the top 2 groups in Japan. Then, The Tigers signed to Watanabe and The Tempters signed to Spiduction which was founded by the leader of The Spiders. These 2 new groups became teens idols, esp girls! The popularity of Blue Comet and The Spiders was replaced by theirs, mostly The Tigers'.
The Tigers was also regard as The King of Group Sounds.

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