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The Weekend Needle Drop Week 4: JAPAN


Week Four of the New Year JAPAN-Tin Drum V2209
By Middagh Goodwin

Tin Drum, Japan’s fifth and final studio album was released in November of 1981 on Virgin Records.

On this release the band continued to use electronic elements along side traditional instrumentation with David Sylvian’s stellar baritone voice and Mick Karn’s fretless bass . The songs on Tin Drum all had much more of a Far Eastern influence than any of the earlier albums. Half the album tracks 4 our of 8 were released as singles with “Ghosts” reached #12 and “Visions of China” reached #32 in the UK Charts. The album reached #12 in the charts. BBC would later consider Tin Drum the best album of 1981.

Steve Nye(not the science guy) produced the album along with one of Chris Murphy’s college favorites(Frank Zappa-Joe’s Garage). He would later work with Sylvian on his solo albums Brilliant Trees, Gone to Earth and Secrets of the Beehive.

A self titled album Japan-Japan with the songs from Tin Drum and 3 tracks from Gentlemen take Polaroids was released in the US in 1982. This compilation reached #204 on the Billboard charts introducing Japan to America just as the band was beginning it’s end. Japan broke up in December of 1982 after a show in the country that they shared a name with and just at the height of the band’s success.
In 1986 I tried to but wasn’t given the go ahead until it was to late, to book David Sylvian on his solo tour at Modesto Junior College. I hear that the Program for the Tour has MJC listed.

In 1991 I was giving a radio promo CD by a band called Rain Tree Crow when I put it on I could immediately recognize David Sylvian’s voice and Mick Karn’s dynamic fretless bass playing. On checking out the liner notes I would find out that Rain Tree Crow was a reformed Japan(playing together for the first time since 1982.)

The Weekend Needle Drop 2016 52 Weeks 52 Albums

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About the Author:

Middagh Goodwin LIVES Music. He has been booking and promoting Music, Art and Comedy for years in the Central Valley. He ran the award winning Plea for Peace Center in Stockton for 5 Years and has booked bands from A-Z. Middagh is beginning 2016 with a new position at the Gallo Center for the Arts and celebrating Beat Happy! Music's 30th Anniversary. Read the MAMAView every month and a the Needle Drop 52 Records 52 Weeks.