Big in Japan (Alphaville song)

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"Big in Japan"
Single by Alphaville
from the album Forever Young
B-side "Seeds"
Released January 1984
Format 7" single, 12" maxi
Recorded 1984
Genre Synthpop[1]
Length 3:52 (single edit)
4:43 (album version)
Label WEA
Writer(s) Bernhard Lloyd, Marian Gold, Frank Mertens
Producer(s) Orlando
Certification Gold (BVMI)
Alphaville singles chronology
"Big in Japan"
(1984)
"Sounds Like a Melody"
(1984)

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

The single was a great success in many countries, including Switzerland, Germany and Sweden. The song also reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Play in December 1984.

Song and video information[edit]

The title comes from a phrase Big in Japan, which was used to describe Western bands who are popular with Japanese audiences while garnering little attention in their home country.

In 1986, Marian Gold recalled that "I bought an album of an unknown British band named 'Big in Japan'. 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 ... The statement fitted well to my storyline about a couple of drug addicted lovers and moreover provided the title for the prospective song."[2]

The video was directed by Yello's Dieter Meier.

Original 1984 release[edit]

Track listings[edit]

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[edit]

  • 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 in 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) in 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[edit]

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
German number-one single
9 April 1984 – 23 April 1984 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"People Are People" by Depeche Mode
Preceded by
"Zu nah am Feuer" by Stefan Waggershausen and Alice
Switzerland number-one single
22 April 1984 – 13 May 1984 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Hello" by Lionel Richie
Preceded by
"Hello" by Lionel Richie
Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
26 May 1984 (1 week)
Preceded by
"Street Dance" by Break Machine
Swedish number-one single
29 May 1984 – 26 June 1984 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Self Control" by Laura Branigan
Preceded by
"Out of Touch" by Hall & Oates
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
1 December 1984 – 8 December 1984 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Like a Virgin" by Madonna

1992 Re-release[edit]

"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.
Released February 1992
Format CD
Label Warner Music
Writer(s) Bernhard Lloyd, Marian Gold, Frank Mertens
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 re-released the song, with new remixes, in 1992 to coincide with the release of their compilation album First Harvest 1984–92.

Track listings[edit]

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[edit]

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

Guano Apes version[edit]

"Big in Japan"
Single by Guano Apes
from the album Don't Give Me Names
B-side "I Want It"
"Gogan"
"La Noix"
Released 12 April 2000
Format CD single
Recorded 1999
Genre Alternative metal, power pop
Length 2:49
Label Supersonic
Writer(s) Bernhard Lloyd, Marian Gold, Frank Mertens
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[edit]

CD single[edit]

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

7" single[edit]

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

Maxi single[edit]

  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[edit]

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

Cover versions[edit]

"Japan Ist Weit"
Single by Sandra
B-side "Sekunden"
Released April 1984
Format 7" single, 12" single
Genre Synthpop
Length 3:51
Label Virgin
Producer(s) Michael Cretu
Sandra singles chronology
"Andy mein Freund"
(1976)
"Japan Ist Weit"
(1985)
"(I'll Never Be) Maria Magdalena"
(1985)
  • "Big in Japan" was released by German singer Sandra in 1984 as a single. She sang the song in German, as "Japan ist weit". The song was produced by her future husband Michael Cretu and was Sandra's first try as a solo artist after she separated from the trio Arabesque. The song was not successful, as only 125 copies were sold.[39]
  • A dance cover of the song was recorded by band Kim Ono in 1995. The voice belongs to singer Lianne Morgan who was a member of the Spice Girls at the beginning.
  • Swedish melodic black metal Band Embraced did a cover of "Big in Japan" on their 1998 album Amorous Anathema.
  • The song was covered by the group Demimonde on their album Equalterms.
  • Spanish singer José Galisteo, a contestant in the fifth season of the Spanish reality television series Operación Triunfo, covered the song for his 2007 debut album Remember.
  • In 2008, Norwegian singer Ane Brun did her very own version of "Big in Japan". The song was recorded to be part of the soundtrack for the Swedish TV-documentary "Stor i Japan" on TV6. It has been released on Ane Brun's albums Live at Stocholm Concert Hall (DVD & CD, recorded 2008, released 2009), Songs 2003-2013 (2013), Song Tour 2013 (live, 2014), and as a bonus track on Changing of the Seasons (2008). In 2011 a single was released on Decca International.
  • In 2009, German synthpop band And One included live cover version of "Big in Japan" to their album Bodypop 1½.
  • In 2010, László Szarka, a contestant on Hungarian talent show Megasztár became an internet sensation by singing the song with mispronounced English lyrics. See also: Bikicsunáj[40][41]
  • In 2011, Norwegian singer/songwriter Eth Eonel released an own version of the song on his debut album Drawing Lines (1989).[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mason, Stewart. "Big in Japan – Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 26 June 2013. The only problem is that by the time this song came out, late in 1984, the synth pop scene was already dying on the vine 
  2. ^ so80s presents Alphaville (CD liner notes). Alphaville. Blank & Jones (So 80s). 2014. SC0344. 
  3. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Alphaville – Big In Japan" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Ultratop.be – Alphaville – Big In Japan" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Radio 2 Top 30 : 30 juni 1984" (in Dutch). Top 30. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6792." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Songs from the Year 1984". TsorT. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Lescharts.com – Alphaville – Big In Japan" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Alphaville – Big In Japan". GfK Entertainment. 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. Creative Commons. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Alphaville - Big In Japan search results" (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. ^ "BIG IN JAPAN – Alphaville" (in Polish). LP3. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (A)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  19. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Alphaville – Big In Japan". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Alphaville – Big In Japan". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Archive Chart: 1984-09-22" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  22. ^ a b "Alphaville – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  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. ^ "Single Top 100 over 1984" (PDF) (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  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" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  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. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Guano Apes – Big in Japan". GfK Entertainment. 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.
  39. ^ "Japan Ist Weit". Sandra-cretu.narod.ru. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  40. ^ (Hungarian) Hirado.hu - Tarol a Bikicsunáj! at the Wayback Machine (archived 10 May 2010). Hirado.hu. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  41. ^ Megasztár 5 – "bikicsunáj" felirattal. YouTube. 2 May 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  42. ^ "Eth Eonel.". Retrieved 1 February 2014. 

External links[edit]