Rats & Star
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Rats & Star (ラッツ&スター Rattsu ando Sutā?), formerly called Chanels, is a blackface male J-pop group which specializes in doo-wop-influenced music. They performed at the reputed night club Whisky a Go Go of Los Angeles for two years in a row. The group is led by Masayuki Suzuki.
- Masayuki Suzuki - Lead vocal, Martin. Plays an active part as a solo singer.
- Masashi Tashiro - Tenor vocal, Marcy. He committed several crimes and retired the entertainment world because of them. He has often costarred with Kuwano in some variety shows.
- Nobuyoshi Kuwano - Trumpet, Vocal, Kuwa-man. Active as a television performer. Also, he has ever participated in Suzuki's solo concert tour as a trumpeter.
- Yoshio Sato - Bass vocal
- Hiroyuki Kuboki - Tenor vocal
- Ryoichi Izumo - Guitar, Vocal
- Kiyotaka Shinpo - Drums, Vocal
In 1975, Masayuki Suzuki, who likes doo-wop, Masashi Tashiro and Nobuyoshi Kuwano, joined together to form a band called Chanels. The band debuted in 1980 with their first single "Runaway" selling over a million copies and becoming a huge hit. In 1983, the band changed its name to Rats & Star due to complaints from the French fashion giant Chanel. Andy Warhol created the album cover for "Soul Vacation" and the name change seemed to make no difference in sales, as their first single as Rats & Star, "Me-Gumi no Hito," sold over 800,000 copies. Five of the members were married at Tokyo's Hie Shrine at the same time during 1985, generating a lot of publicity for the group. Rats & Star released a duet with Masayuki's older sister Kiyomi Suzuki called "Lonely Chaplain" in 1986, which also became a huge hit. Although leader Masayuki Suzuki launched a solo career and Rats & Star's activity thus essentially stopped. Afterward, Tashiro and Kuwano played an active part and were so popular not as musical artists, as TV performers. they formed Rats & Star again in the limitation of half a year and released the single "Yume de Aetara" in 1996, which was popular enough to encourage the group to go on a final nationwide tour. The same year, they made their first appearance on Kōhaku Uta Gassen to perform that song.
The group's name is a palindrome, reading the same both backwards and forwards. The name's true meaning, however, is that "rats" raised in the less affluent parts of town could, by singing doo-wop music, reverse their fortunes and collectively become a "star".
Unique Andy Warhol screen prints of the album cover "Soul Vacation" have sold for upwards of $25,000 each.
- Runaway (1980)
- Tonight (1980)
- Machikado Twilight (1981)
- Hurricane (1981) (famously covered by Puffy AmiYumi)
- Namida no Sweet Cherry (1981)
- Hey Brother (1982) Epic/Sony
- Akogare no Slender Girl (1982)
- Summer Holiday (1982)
- Moshikashite I LOVE YOU (1982)
- Shuumatsu Dynamite (1982)
Rats & Star
- Me-Gumi no Hito (1983)
- T-shirt ni Kuchibiru (1983)
- Konya wa Physical (1983)
- Moonlight Honey (1984)
- Glamour Guy (1984)
- Kuchibiru ni Knife (1984)
- Madonna wa Omae Dake (1985)
- Lady Eccentric (1985)
- Lonely Chaplain (1986) (duet with Kiyomi Suzuki)
- Yume de Aetara (reunion, 1996)