Song CHART FOR 1998 according to Yorumo Hippare
1. Yozora no Mukou by SMAP
2. Yuuwaku by GLAY
3. My Graduation by SPEED
4. Stamina by Black Biscuits
5. Soul Love by GLAY
6. Nagai Aida by Kiroro
7. Honey by L'Arc~en~Ciel
8. Time goes by by Every Little Thing
9. Zenbu Dakishimete by KinKi Kids
10. All My True Love by SPEED
AMURO NAMIE'S NEWS
VOTE 4 UR FAV. CELEB.
--B'z info BELOW
From Neo-Tokyo Magazine:
Celebrate Ten Years as Japan's No.1 Selling Band
text JON SCOTT HARP
FOR AN INDUSTRY that has yet to claim the degree of global influence enjoyed by its American and European counterparts, Japanese pop music nevertheless has some of the most impressive statistics anywhere in the world when it comes to overall sales of CD singles and albums. In the Japanese domestic market alone, CD sales for dozens of top pop-rock artists easily outstrip the total worldwide sales for many British and American artists.
Japan's top five music acts, for example, have to their credit combined sales of more than 164 million CDs, an average of roughly 32 million discs per act. Thus, going purely by the numbers, Japanese pop music easily meets global standards no matter how you calculate it. And what band tops this list of mind-blowing sales figures? The super-popular rock duo
Their sales data is nothing short of astonishing.
in sales for CD singles and
million in sales for CD albums, B'z rank as the all-time top selling act in Japan, eclipsing even the hugely popular trio "Dreams Come True", and unbelievably, the prolific singer-songwriter Matsutoya Yumi, a veteran with over two decades of popularity in Japan. All twenty of B'z CD singles have debuted at No.1 on the Oricon music chart as have all nine of their CD albums. Their concerts, numbering as high as eighty-seven shows a year, are always sold out within mere hours after tickets go on sale. So, what makes B'z so hot, so consistently for so many fans? The music, yes, but a lot more is at work here.
Most importantly, B'z, comprised of Matsumoto Takahiro (guitarist and composer) and Inaba Kohshi (vocalist and lyricist) have, in no uncertain terms, demolished the myth that Japanese men lack sex appeal. Former adult video queen and current-day TV celeb Iijima Ai once went on record in the mid-90s in an high-profile interview by saying, "Japanese men are missing only one thing: Sex appeal." Ms. Iijima's busy TV career, has obviously not afforded her the time to see a B'z concert and observe the effect that front-man Inaba, in particular, has on his multitudes of females fans in packed arenas across Japan. At a B'z concert that this writer went to at Budokan, Inaba brought the show to a climax by first lying face up on the stage floor, then, lifting his torso acrobatically skyward by propping himself on the tips of his fingers and toes, began thrusting his pelvis repeatedly and indefatigably to the beating of the music and the orgasmic shrieks of teenage girls soaked in their own profusion of sweat. That kind of confidence in front on thousands of young women is not what I'd call lacking in anything, least of all sex appeal.
Denny Fongheiser, a California drummer that often appears as guest performer with B'z, says that while the good looks of Inaba come naturally, he works incredibly hard to maintain his ultra-lean physique. After Fongheiser and Matsumoto have stretched and lifted weights for a back-breaking two hours, Inaba is just getting warmed up. Inaba is known to finish a morning of working out by power-walking on the treadmill for another two hours! He, along with Matsumoto would be more accurately described not so much as people who are dedicated, but rather as people who are driven. They put every last drop of energy into every show. It is widely known that fans can always count on a B'z show as being performed as though it were the last.
But this is not to say that B'z stir their crowds with energy alone. Matsumoto is a superior guitarist whose skills, ranging from lightening-fast solos complete with tapping, sliding and harmonics to catchy rock chord riff playing and clean arpeggio work, have earned him the fitting title of "genius guitarist." As an admirer of 90s guitarists who have taken guitar playing seemingly beyond human abilities, I would rank Matsumoto alongside Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt and Yngwie Malmsteen, the leading masters of guitar wizardry today.
As composer, Matsumoto relies fairly heavily on formula drawing liberally from J-pop influences, American hardrock and to an extent, funky rhythm and blues. Where he excels is his ability to craft his songs as the backdrop for a well-balanced tradeoff between his guitar work and Inaba's vocals which tend to be mid-range, not impressively powerful, but very energetic and full of a sort of give-it-all-you've-got quality.
In 1988, after several years as a studio session guitarist and touring musician in very high demand, Matsumoto (originally from Osaka) was hungry to set out upon a career as a solo artist. On May 21, he released his first solo album "Thousand Wave," and began searching for a partner who could do the type of vocal work he hoped would complement his musicianship. Matsumoto auditioned several singers, but after just one session with Inaba Kohshi, a native of Okayama, he knew that the two of them were meant to form a very special musical entity that would form a powerful unit combining the digital sounds of Matsumoto's guitar with the deeply human sounds of Inaba's voice. Matsumoto and Inaba realized that Japanese rock was beginning to blossom in the late 80s and that it wasn't enough to be a great rock band. They wanted to transcend all definitions of what it meant to be good as both recording band and performing band. With the release of their debut album "B'z" on September 21, they proved their mettle in the studio.
Running contrary to industry trends in the late 80s, the B'z did not immediately set out on the road for touring either in large arenas or small clubs. Wanting to wait until their repertoire had grown large enough to give fans 90-minute concerts, B'z continued to compose and accumulate songs and to continue recording. On May 21, 1989, they released their second album "Off the Lock" and their second single "Kimi no Naka de Odoritai" (I Want to Dance Inside You). Fully stocked with plenty of great material (and a tantalizing offer as suggested in their second single), B'z took off on a 16-date tour, which by reviews of most critics, set the standard for top-of-the-line concerts in Japan for the 90s. B'z concerts were evaluated as fiercely energetic, musically captivating and "sparkling with moments of magic as the musicians in the band often display an uncanny clairvoyance of each other's every move and note." Adding to this exquisitely decorated stages complete with both dynamic and at times moody lighting techniques, B'z also proved that they were as good in concert as they were in the studio. Pushing that standard to the limit, B'z increased their tour dates by a factor of two every year reaching a peak of eighty-seven concerts in 1994.
As the 90s rapidly come to a close, Matsumoto and Inaba can look back on a busy ten-year career in which they've released at least two singles a year and nearly one album each year. Their album "Survive," released on November 19, 1997 is still on the best-selling charts and represents their first CD release in two years after their highly-successful album "Loose" and accompanying series of nationwide tours. Although it is easy to imagine the B'z burning themselves out as they now approach their mid-30s, it will be interesting to see if they can maintain their outstanding standards for record sales and concert performance during the upcoming decade. If they can duplicate their achievements of the 90s (even if in a less energetic manner), they will find themselves, at least in statistical terms, as successful as Elvis and the Beatles.
Jon Scott Harp has lived in the Tokyo Bay Area for over 20 years writing about various aspects of Japan's social evolution. He is a leading music critic of the Japanese pop/rock music scene and until recently wrote for Japan's top English-language magazine on Japanese entertainment, "Eye-Ai".