Alien in Tokyo
This is a recorded document by Alan Merrill, a foreigner who was a lone pioneer in the early Japanese rock scene. It starts with his entrance into the Japanese 'Group Sounds' in 1968 to his exit from Japan to the UK music world in the winter of 1973. These tracks are chronologically sequenced from the start of Merrill's journey through the local Japanese music business, and the tracks were recorded in Tokyo between 1968 and 1971. The album is entirely in Japanese except for tracks #14 and #15, which are in English. The CD begins with a unique never before released TV track recording of the 1968 chart hit 'Blue Rose' (Aoi Bara) by Alan Merrill's first band in Japan, The Lead. After the Lead split up, Alan went solo and became the biggest domestic market resident foreign pop star in Japan. The following 12 songs appeared in different mixes as the Alan Merrill solo LP "Alone In Tokyo," and yielded the top ten hit single "Teadrops" (Japanese title: 'Namida'). "Of The People" (track 14) is a duet and co-write by Alan and the legendary Monsieur Kamayatsu. Track 15, the Merrill power pop composition "Everyday All Night Stand" appeared on his 'Merrill 1' album, recorded in 1970. Those two are the only songs in English on this recording. The last two songs (tracks 16 and 17) on this album were chart hits written by Alan Merrill (with drummer Hiroshi Oguchi providing the Japanese lyrics) for his band Vodka Collins in 1971. The 45 rpm single 'Automatic Pilot' and 'Sands Of Time' was a massive double A-sided hit. These are slightly different mixes than appear on the Vodka Collins "Tokyo-New York" LP, which was a groundbreaking glam rock album in Japan. A thoughtful and varied collection of Merrill's early career in Japan from his teens through his early 20's, this is a fairly complete sample of his recordings during those years. It clearly documents the struggle he had with his management to break away from the pop mould they wanted to box him into. By the end of this album, after much struggling and several label changes, he got to record the more rock oriented songs that were his natural leaning. Merrill finally left Japan to form the pop-rock band The Arrows in London in 1974, and had several UK and European hits with that band as lead singer, including writing and singing the first version of the oft covered classic rock standard 'I love rock 'n roll' in 1975. Alien In Tokyo is an unusual recording, and a must have for Merrill completists.