Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids

 

36 Years Ago Today…

Way back in the late 70’s to early 80’s a truly superb band existed making highly original music seemingly following no particular style. They were amongst a small numberjapan-gentlemen-take-polaroids-1 of similar bands that the press at the time labelled the New Romantics. Japan competed against the likes of Duran Duran, Visage & Spandau Ballet etc but being much less commercial in sound they tended to hover in the shadows. For me, Japan were, and still are, the true kings of the genre, the real leaders who deserved the crown purely for cool, originality and ability.

Exactly 36 years ago today, October 24th 1980, ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ was the first Japan album released on Virgin. It received moderate success reaching 51 in the album charts and the single of the same name reaching 60. Two years later in 82, ‘Night Porter’ reached 29 in the UK singles chart.  For me, this album is one of the best there has ever been, admittedly, it is a matter of taste, all music is but something stirred real deep inside when I first listened. Something so refreshingly different, it really hit a nerve.

By 1983 the japan-gentlemen-take-polaroids-2band was no more, disintegrating into history. I had the real fortune of seeing them live not just once but twice during two different tours, the last of which was promoting their final album ‘Tin Drum’. Another great album and tour but that first gig, one year before remains to this day the best band & live experience I have ever seen and this album being amongst the best of the best.

If you have never heard Japan you could be in for a treat, maybe dive straight in and play ‘Night Porter’ with its haunting aura, just simply wow, what a song, a timeless classic beyond belief.

Track Listing –

  1. Gentlemen Take Polaroids
  2. Swing
  3. Burning Bridges
  4. My New Career
  5. Methods of Dance
  6. Ain’t The Peculiar
  7. Nightporter
  8. Taking Islands in Africa
Advertisements

12 Comments

  1. I loved Japan. I saw them live at Sheffield City Hall and they were outstanding. No other band sounded like them. I often find myself trawling through You Tube on virgin media to find their videos – there are quite a lot on there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If I was on a desert Island this is definitely one of the albums I would want with me, and a record player.
    Music plays a massive part in our past and the beautiful memories they invoke.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw them at the Hammersmith odeon . I was sad to hear of mick khans passing to cancer a few years back. They were my favourite band and nightporter still gives me shivers

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Their best for many reasons, many already stated for sure. But not least of which is the Album cover and title. Pretentious & OTT? A little…..Unique & Innovative? Well YES…..Attention grabbing? ABSOLUTELY. An Icon for all that was 1980s British music then?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Living in US in 1981 I had the good luck of being exposed to this album when I was at the impressionable age of 13.When your at this age music is so much part of how you see the world and hearing this beautiful and hunting music like no other I had heard in my life and have yet to hear was life changing. Everything from look of the band to the esthetic of the music to the vocal styling of David Sylvan was so unique and truly alien. It was like I was hearing music from another planet. The non western syncopated beats to the micro-tonal qualities of the music.Even though I was 13 years old at the time I knew what I was hearing was like a religious experience if not better.I’m 49 years old now and have yet to hear anything that comes close to what Gentlemen Takes….represents.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Living in US in 1981 I had the pure good luck of being exposed to this album when I was at the impressionable age of 13.When your at this age music is so much part of how you see the world and hearing this beautiful and hunting music like no other I had heard in my life and have yet to hear was life changing. Everything from look of the band to the esthetic of the music to the vocal styling of David Sylvan was so unique and truly alien. It was like I was hearing music from another planet. The non western syncopated beats to the micro-tonal qualities of the music.Even though I was 13 years old at the time I knew what I was hearing was like a religious experience if not better.I’m 49 years old now and have yet to hear anything that comes close to what Gentlemen Takes….represents.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I saw them twice too, once at the Limit Club in Leeds and then at Sheffield City Hall, goose bumps everytime I play their records…amazing band!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bar none the most influential band for me! It kills be to know I will never see them reform. Even though it was always unlikely over the years. Mick Karn’s passing makes that a certainty now!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a crying shame their journey ended so soon, all you lovely people understand this too. I still have the ticket stub from the second time I saw them at the Birmingham Odeon, Friday 18th December 1981 price £4. At only 16 years old, I traveled alone from Yorkshire on a train to meet my brother who was then studying at Aston University, he had the tickets and upon my arrival we headed straight for the venue. That was the Tin Drum tour, I still have the concert program too… Anyone invented a time machine yet?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s