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X Japan was one of the most influential rock bands in Japanese history. Formed as a speed metal band in the early ‘80s, the group attracted attention not only for its music, but also its popularization of visual kei, a cultural/musical/fashion movement whose emphasis on outrageous hairstyles and androgynous makeup was similar to glam rock. By the early '90s, X had also woven power ballads, pop, and classical music into the band’s catalog, creating a sound that helped the group enter -- and, for several years, dominate -- the Japanese mainstream. Before signing with a major label in 1988, X was one of the country’s first independent acts to achieve national success. Childhood friends Yoshiki Hayashi and Toshimitsu Deyama formed the band as high school students, and Yoshiki established his own label, Extasy Records, to release the group’s material. With lead guitarist Hide (aka Hideto Matsumoto), rhythm guitarist Pata (aka Tomoaki Ishizuka), and bassist Taiji (aka Taiji Sawada) filling out the lineup, X released several singles and one full-length album, 1988’s Vanishing Vision, before signing with Sony toward the end of the decade. The group’s major-label debut, Blue Blood, appeared in 1989. Blue Blood went multi-platinum on the strength of three hit singles. The band’s follow-up effort, Jealousy, was similarly popular, becoming the 12th bestselling album of 1991 despite its mid-year release. With the intention of breaking into international markets, X lengthened its name to X Japan (a decision meant to distinguish the Japanese group from the similarly named American punk band) and signed a new contract with Atlantic Records. The guys also hired bass player Heath (aka Hiroshi Morie) to replace the departing Taiji. Drawing from the classical background of Yoshiki, who’d emerged as the band’s leader, X Japan returned in 1993 with Art of Life, a symphonic album consisting of one long, eclectic, 29-minute track. Yoshiki also released a second symphonic album in 1993, working with producer George Martin to produce classical arrangements of several X Japan songs. Released later that year, Eternal Melody became the best-selling classical record in Japanese history. Meanwhile, Hide, Heath, and Toshi all released their own solo discs, with Hide's Hide Your Face enjoying the most popularity. When X Japan returned in 1996 with Dahlia, the band both looked and sounded different. With the exception of Hide, who continued to favor the visual kei style, the musicians had largely abandoned the use of outrageous hairstyles and flashy costumes. They’d also pushed their sound into smoother territory, favoring ballads that highlighted Yoshiki’s piano playing and Toshi’s vocals over fast, furious rock songs. Even so, Dahlia proved to be one of X Japan’s most popular albums to date; four singles topping the Japanese charts, and another song, “Tears,” peaked at number two. X Japan had become a national institution by the mid-‘90s, but the band nevertheless pulled the plug in September 1997, with Toshi announcing his desire to leave the group and pursue music on a much smaller level. Several months later, the band held its final performance at the Tokyo Dome on New Year’s Eve. In the months that followed, Hide quietly emerged as the band’s busiest alum, playing shows in support of his second solo release and even forming an American-based side project named Zilch. He died in May 1998, however, the victim of an apparent suicide. Nearly ten years after Hide’s death, X Japan began laying the foundation for a reunion. Former Luna Sea guitarist Sugizo, who’d helped popularize the visual kei movement alongside X Japan during the '90s, was brought aboard as the group’s newest member, and the band began holding rehearsals in mid-2007. By the end of the year, they’d recorded a new song, “I.V.,” and an international tour followed. ~ Andrew Leahey
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Stations Featuring

Albums by

Top Songs by

  1.   Song
  2.   Kurenai
  3.   Silent Jealousy
  4.   I.V.
  5.   .Orgasm
  6.   Say Anything
  7.   Week End
  8.   Endless Rain
  9.   Love Replica
  10.   Desperate Angel
  11.   Rose of Pain
  12.   Voiceless Screaming
  13.   Unfinished
  14.   Easy Fight Rambling
  15.   Stab Me in the Back
  16.   Joker
  17.   Prologue (World Anthem)
  18.   White Wind from Mr. Martin
  19.   Es Dur
  20.   X Clamation
  21.   Celebration
  22.   Miscast
  23.   Blue Blood
  24.   X
  25.   Jade
  26.   20th Century Boy
  27.   Sadistic Desire
  28.   Standing Sex
  29.   Forever Love
  30.   Longing
  31.   Crucify My Love
  32.   Alive
  33.   Tears
  34.   Last Song
  35.   Dahlia
  36.   Scars
  37.   Rusty Nail
  38.   White Poem I
  39.   Wriggle
  40.   Drain
  41.   [Untranslated]
  42.   Art of Life (Radio Edit)
  43.   Forever Love
  44.   I'll Kill You
  45.   Orugazumu
  46.   Stub Me in the Back
  47.   Vanishing Love
  48.   20th Century Boy by X
  49.   Endless Rain
  50.   X
  51.   Week End
  52.   Sadistic Desire by X
  53.   Standing Sex by X
  54.   Joker
  55.   Say Anything

Artists Related to X-Japan


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