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Big in Japan (Alphaville song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Big in Japan"
Alphaville - Big in Japan Cover.jpg
Single by Alphaville
from the album Forever Young
B-side"Seeds"
Released1984
Format
GenreSynth-pop[1]
Length
  • 3:52 (single edit)
  • 4:43 (album version)
LabelWEA
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Orlando (Wolfgang Loos)
Alphaville singles chronology
"Big in Japan"
(1984)
"Sounds Like a Melody"
(1984)
Music video
"Big in Japan" on YouTube

"Big in Japan" is the debut single of the German synth-pop band Alphaville. It was taken from their 1984 album Forever Young.

The single was a success in many countries, including Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. It was also the group's only UK Top 75 hit, reaching No. 8 on the UK Singles chart. The song also reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Play in December 1984.

Lyrics, music and theme

The group had a Roland System-100M which they first used to create the bassline. The timing of the song was influenced by "The Safety Dance", changing the speed to double-time, halfway through the song. The melody was developed by all three members of the band, working in their provincial home studio.[2]

Marian Gold developed most of the lyrics while going to a dentist. The theme was based on two friends who were involved in the sordid drug scene of Berlin's Zoo station. The song tells of such lovers who fantasize about being drug-free. The refrain "big in Japan" symbolises this idea of being successful in another world.

That line has a certain meaning. It means that if you're a complete loser, you're telling other people, 'I'm not a loser because in Japan I'm really big.' It's the lie of the loser and it fitted perfectly into the story of these junkies, which the song is about, in a very tragic way.[2]

— Marian Gold

The phrase was inspired by the name of the real band, Big in Japan, whose album Gold had recently bought.

As you know, there's a considerable musical market in Japan. If you wanted to become famous, what you should do was to form a hard rock group and then release an album over there; it would definitely sell well... so the story went ...[3]

— Marian Gold

Later, when the song was reaching the top of the German charts, the number one song which had to be displaced was "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood whose lead singer, Holly Johnson, had formerly been in Big in Japan – a remarkable coincidence, according to Gold.[2]

The video was directed by Yello's Dieter Meier.

Original 1984 release

Track listings

7" single
  1. "Big in Japan" (7" Version) – 3:52
  2. "Seeds" – 3:15
12" maxi
  1. "Big in Japan" (7" Version) – 3:52
  2. "Seeds" – 3:15
12" maxi Germany & France WEA 249417-0
  1. "Big in Japan" (Extended Remix) – 7:25
  2. "Big in Japan" (Extended Instrumental) – 6:10
12" maxi US WEA 0-86947
  1. "Big in Japan" (Extended Vocal) – 7:25
  2. "Big in Japan" (Instrumental Version) – 6:10
  3. "Big in Japan" (7" Version) – 3:58
  • The "Extended Vocal" is the same as the "Extended Remix" and the "Extended Instrumental" is the same as the "Instrumental Version."
  • The 7" version is a different studio recording from the one released later on the album.

Other Alphaville versions and releases

  • The original 7" version was also made available on Alphaville's First Harvest 1984–92 best-of release.
  • Two newly remixed versions were made available on 1988's Alphaville: The Singles Collection.
  • In 1999, Alphaville released Dreamscapes, which included an early demo version of this song as well as the "FFF Time Warp" mix.
  • 2001's Forever Pop contained two more newly remixed versions (the "Roland Spremberg" and "Eiffel 65" mixes).
  • The original 12" and instrumental version were made available for the first time on CD on the So80s presents Alphaville (2014).
  • "Seeds", the B-side to this single, appears on Dreamscapes and History as "Leben Ohne Ende" (sung in its original German demo form). A new remix of "Seeds" also appears on Dreamscapes. The original version of the song also appears on So80s presents Alphaville.

Charts and sales

1992 Re-release

"Big in Japan 1992 A.D."
Big in Japan 1992 A.D. CD cover
Big in Japan 1992 A.D. CD cover
Single by Alphaville
A-side"Big in Japan 1992 A.D."
Released1992
FormatCD
LabelWarner Music
Songwriter(s)
Alphaville singles chronology
"The Mysteries of Love"
(1990)
"Big in Japan 1992 A.D."
(1992)
"Fools"
(1994)
Marian Gold singles chronology
""Big in Japan 1992 A.D.""
(1992)
""And I Wonder""
(1992)
"Swemix Remix" Single Cover
Alphaville - Big In Japan Swemix Cover.jpg

Alphaville re-released the song, with new remixes, in 1992 to coincide with the release of their compilation album First Harvest 1984–92.

Track listings

EU CD single "Big in Japan 1992 A.D."
  1. "Big in Japan 1992 A.D. Freedom Mix (Single Edit)" – 3:14
  2. "Big in Japan The Mix (Single Edit)" – 4:14
  3. "Big in Japan 1992 A.D. Freedom Mix (Extended Version)" – 4:51
  4. "Big in Japan The Mix (Extended Version)" – 6:05
  • "The Mix (Extended Version)" is the same as the "Culture Mix" from First Harvest 1984–92.
EU CD single "Big in Japan Swemix Remix"
  1. "Big in Japan (Swemix Remix 7")" – 3:57
  2. "Big in Japan (Swemix Remix 12")" – 8:27
  3. "Big in Japan (Swemix DUB)" – 6:44
EU 12" vinyl single "Big in Japan 1992 A.D."
  1. "Big in Japan 1992 A.D. Freedom Mix (Extended Version)" – 4:51
  2. "Big in Japan 1992 A.D. Freedom Dub" – 4:56
  3. "Big in Japan The Mix (Extended Version)" – 6:05
  • The 12" single was printed on white vinyl and contains the unique "Dub" version of the Freedom remix

Charts

"Big in Japan 1992 AD" reached number two in Finland and number 15 in Sweden.[32]

Guano Apes version

"Big in Japan"
Guano apes -- big in japan -- singlecover.jpg
Single by Guano Apes
from the album Don't Give Me Names
B-side
  • "I Want It"
  • "Gogan"
  • "La Noix"
Released2000
FormatCD single
Length2:49
LabelSupersonic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Guano Apes
  • Wolfgang Stach
  • Fabio Trentini
Guano Apes singles chronology
"Don't You Turn Your Back on Me"
(1999)
"Big in Japan"
(2000)
"No Speech"
(2000)

In 2000, Guano Apes released a cover version as their lead single for their second album Don't Give Me Names[33] on 12 April 2000. The music video shows the band performing in an empty arena, followed by a fan trying to locate the band.

Track listing

CD single

  1. Big In Japan – 2:49
  2. Gogan – 2:47
  3. I Want It – 3:17

7" single

  1. Big In Japan – 2:48
  2. I Want It – 3:15

Maxi single

  1. Big In Japan – 2:49
  2. Gogan – 2:47
  3. I Want It – 3:17
  4. La Noix – 2:19
  5. Big In Japan (Space Jazz Dubmen Mix) – 4:32

Charts

Chart (2000) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[34] 19
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[35] 4
Germany (Official German Charts)[36] 9
Italy (FIMI)[37] 5
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[38] 82
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 24

See also

References

  1. ^ Mason, Stewart. "Big in Japan – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Gold, Marian; Lloyd, Bernhard (15 March 2019). "How I wrote 'Big in Japan' by Alphaville". Songwriting Magazine (Interview). Interviewed by Duncan Haskell. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  3. ^ so80s presents Alphaville (CD liner notes). Alphaville. Blank & Jones (So 80s). 2014. SC0344.CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Alphaville – Big In Japan" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Alphaville – Big In Japan" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6792." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  8. ^ "MusicSeek.info – UK, Eurochart, Billboard & Cashbox No.1 Hits". Archived from the original on 14 June 2006.. MusicSeek.info.
  9. ^ "Lescharts.com – Alphaville – Big In Japan" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Alphaville – Big In Japan". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  11. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Big In Japan". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  12. ^ a b "I singoli più venduti del 1984" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Alphaville - Big In Japan" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  14. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Alphaville – Big In Japan" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Alphaville – Big In Japan". VG-lista. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  16. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (A)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  17. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  18. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Alphaville – Big In Japan". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Alphaville – Big In Japan". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  21. ^ a b "Alphaville – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1984" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  24. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1984" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  25. ^ "TOP – 1984" (in French). Top-france.fr. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  26. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1984" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  27. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1984" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  28. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1984". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  29. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1984" (in German). Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  30. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes "Tout Temps" de 45 T. / Singles / Téléchargement" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  31. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Alphaville; 'Big in Japan')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  32. ^ "swedishcharts.com – Alphaville – Big In Japan 1992 A.D." Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  33. ^ a b "Swisscharts.com – Guano Apes – Big in Japan". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  34. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Guano Apes – Big in Japan" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  35. ^ "Ultratop.be – Guano Apes – Big in Japan" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  36. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Guano Apes – Big in Japan". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  37. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Guano Apes – Big in Japan". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  38. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Guano Apes – Big in Japan" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
This page was last edited on 7 March 2020, at 15:01
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