Throwback: Yellow Magic Orchestra-Firecracker
Yellow Magic Orchestra covered Martin Denny’s “Firecracker” to topple Denny’s Western ideas about the exotic. They took Denny’s melody and reinvigorated it with powerful synth lines and a funky keyed-in bass. The trio of Japanese musicians was assembled by member Haruomi Hosono to be a one-time only project but the success of their first album at home and abroad turned them into pop stars. “Firecracker” traveled from Japan to the United States and influenced techno, electro-pop, hip-hop, video games and pretty much every form of electronic music to emerge after its appearance. Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi had successful individual careers on their own before forming the Yellow Magic Orchestra in the early ’70’s. By 1980, they were as big in their native Japan as The Beatles were in their prime. Their influence and popularity gave them the rare opportunity to possibly be the only Japanese group to perform on Soul Train. They also get credit for having the first album (Technodelic) to feature samples and loops and being the first group of computer geeks to become stars They broke-up in 1984 and reunited last in 2007 and have performed at Japan’s World Happiness Festival and at KRCW’s World Festival in the United States.