Yazawa Eikichi

biography - 13.02.2014 12:00

Known primarily in the West for the ending theme to the anime "Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge", Yazawa Eikichi is one of Japan's musical gods. Even in his 60s, his long and successful career shows no signs of coming to an end.

A true legend and pioneer of rock 'n roll, Yazawa Eikichi is one of Japan's most popular and highly-regarded rock musicians. Despite a career spanning five decades, Yazawa has shown no signs of slowing down. Many of his hits, such as 1978's Jikan yo Tomare have become Japanese rock standards. Boasting a total of thirty-eight albums and seventeen "best of" compilations, no one can deny that Yazawa has made a strong impression on the Japanese public.

Yazawa Eikichi was originally a member of the rockabilly band Carol. Strongly influenced by Western music groups such as The Rolling Stones, Carol had some success before the band broke up in 1975. Later that year, Yazawa released his first solo album, I Love You, OK, which was recorded in California.

Musically, this rock 'n roll singer shows interest in creating songs towards the more jazzy side of rock. His songs are easy to connect with and one can listen to his music at any time of day. True to his rockabilly roots, his trademark slicked-back hair presents a rebellious image that is reflected in his music. Yazawa's Western influences are always present, but his songs touch upon emotions in a uniquely Japanese way that's enabled him to reach the highest echelon of rock royalty.

He was the first Japanese solo rock musician to hold a concert in the Nippon Budokan with a splendid ceremony in 1977. Since then, he's always sold out his shows there and currently holds the record for the most performances held at the Budokan with the number nearing 100. Shortly after his album Gold Rush topped the charts, he held a concert at the baseball stadium Korakuen (which has since been replaced by the Tokyo Dome), with an audience of roughly 45,000 people. The immense success of Yazawa's career even allowed him to branch out to the West, releasing three albums overseas and having seven of his albums produced by the famous Andrew Gold. To today's foreign fans of Japanese music, Yazawa is perhaps best known for providing the ending theme song to the anime Night Warriors: Dark Stalkers' Revenge.

In 2008, once his contract with EMI Music Japan ended, Yazawa founded his own record label by the name of GARURU RECORDS. Also signed to the label is Yazawa's daughter Yoko Yazawa, an up-and-coming rock star in her own right.

With the 2013 release of his latest compilation, ALL TIME BEST ALBUM as well as a tour in the same year, Yazawa's made it clear he has the same energy and enthusiasm for music that he had decades ago. He's still at the top of his game, and intends to stay that way. As a pioneer of Japanese rock, Yazawa occupies a place in the culture of an entire nation that can never be filled by anyone else. There is no doubt he will continue to inspire musicians of all ages for generations to come.
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