Boøwy performing in Japan, 1984
|Also known as||Bōi (暴威, "Tyranny")|
|Origin||Takasaki, Gunma, Japan|
|Genres||Rock, post-punk (early years)|
|Labels||Victor/Invitation, Tokuma Japan, East World/Toshiba EMI|
|Past members||Mamoru Kimura
Boøwy (pronounced: bóui, stylized as BOØWY) was a Japanese rock band formed in Takasaki, Gunma in 1981. The best-known lineup of Kyosuke Himuro (vocals), Tomoyasu Hotei (guitar), Tsunematsu Matsui (bass) and Makoto Takahashi (drums) reached legendary status in Japan during the 1980s.
In 1988, they became the first male artists to have three albums reach number-one within one year on the Oricon charts. The 1990s "Band Boom" in Japan was credited to Boøwy as they popularized the formation of musical groups, which caused musical instrument sales to hit an all-time high during the 1990s and the record companies signed and debuted 80 bands during the 1990s in hopes of finding a new Boøwy. They were named Artist of the Year at the 3rd annual Japan Gold Disc Awards. In 2003, HMV Japan ranked Boøwy at number 22 on their list of the "100 Most Important Japanese Pop Acts". In September 2007, Rolling Stone Japan rated their album Just a Hero at number 75 on its list of the "100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time". In a 2012 poll by Recochoku, Boøwy were ranked the number one band that people want to see reunite.
In 1979, Kyosuke Himuro was in a band called Death Penalty, that won a music contest that was being held in his hometown of Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture. In that same contest was Tomoyasu Hotei's band Blue Film, who came in second place. After the contest Death Penalty signed with the record company Being and went to Tokyo. Things did not go as well as expected and they broke up. Himuro then joined Spinach Power, but he had problems with them as well and decided to form another band after seeing an RC Succession concert in 1980.
Around the same time, Hotei was in Tokyo after being expelled from high school for saying "Jesus had long hair" when his teacher warned him about his hair being too long. He received a phone call from Himuro and even though they did not really know each other, they decided to start a band called Bōi (暴威, "Tyranny"). In September they recruited Tsunematsu Matsui on bass, Atsushi Moroboshi from Death Penalty on guitar and Kazuaki Fukazawa from Blue Film on saxophone joined soon after. Mamoru Kimura from Spinach Power agreed to drum for them in 1981.
They landed a gig once a month at the Shinjuku Loft, but it didn't pay the bills. To earn a living they started working part-time jobs and sent demo tapes to various record companies. They finally signed with the record company Victor. In May 1981, Kimura left Bōi, as he originally joined the band on a temporary basis. He would later collaborate with the group again when he co-produced their 1983 album Instant Love. Makoto Takahashi was brought to the Loft by a friend to watch Bōi perform on May 11. He was impressed and tried out for the band when he heard they needed a new drummer. During the summer of that year he replaced Kimura on drums and Bōi went on to become the most popular bands at the Loft.
In January 1982, they changed their name to Boøwy and on March 21 released their first album, Moral. At this time they were a punk rock type band. For their concert in Shibuya on September 9, Hotei wanted to take a different approach to their music and become more pop sounding, but the fans didn't like the change. Fukazawa and Moroboshi mirrored the opinions of the fans and on October 9, after their performance at the Loft, they left the band and Boøwy became a quartet.
In 1983, they cut ties with their production company and formed their own company φ-connection with Mamoru Tsuchiya, former member of Blue Film, as their manager. At the time, this was unheard of and frowned upon in the music industry, so the record company stopped promoting them and people started to forget Boøwy existed. Tsuchiya faced an uphill battle in promoting them; with no funds, he gathered hand-made flyers, posters, character goods, the musical instruments and the band in an old Toyota HiAce with no AC and went on a trip around Japan looking for places to perform.
In 1984, they continued touring live houses for more exposure. Eventually it paid off and they started getting offers from different record companies. Not wanting to go through the same hardship they faced in 1983 they decided to sign with the production company Yui, which later got them signed to Toshiba-EMI. In preparation for their major debut they took a six-month break from touring. Boøwy performed in London, England, at the Marquee Club on March 12, 1985.
The single "Marionette" was released on July 22, 1987, took the number one position and sold 230,000 copies, making it the 20th best-selling single of the year. The band held a concert called Case of Boøwy in the Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, in Kanagawa and in Kobe, Hyogo on July 31 and August 7, 1987, where they played most of their songs from their debut to the present for four hours straight. That same year they announced their breakup at a concert at Shibuya Public Hall on December 24. There are many rumors concerning the breakup, but the most popular is the rift between Hotei and Himuro. An indication of the band's stature at the time, is that at their farewell gigs (Last Gigs); two nights at the newly opened Tokyo Dome on April 4 and 5, 1988; they sold out all 95,000 tickets in ten minutes. In 1989, they were named Artist of the Year at the 3rd annual Japan Gold Disc Awards.
Boøwy have had several number ones since disbanding, including; their Singles collection (1988), 1998's This Boøwy which sold over 1.4 million copies to be certified Million by the RIAJ, and the 2001 DVD of their final concerts.
On February 1, 2012, Hotei performed a concert at the Saitama Super Arena to celebrate his 50th birthday. Takahashi appeared as a special guest and together they played Boøwy's "Justy" and "No. New York". This was the first time the two performed together in 24 years. To celebrate Boøwy's 30th anniversary, the compilation album Boøwy The Best "Story" was released on March 21, 2013. It contains 32 tracks, including the song "Cloudy Heart", which received the most votes in a poll. The album went to number one on the Oricon chart, making Boøwy only the second band ever, and first Japanese, to reach number one over 20 years after they broke up, The Beatles being the first. The documentary and concert film 1224 Film the Movie 2013 opened in theaters nationwide two days later.
- Kyosuke Himuro (氷室京介) – lead vocals
- Tomoyasu Hotei (布袋寅泰) – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
- Tsunematsu Matsui (松井恒松) – bass
- Makoto Takahashi (高橋まこと) – drums
- Former members
- Mamoru Kimura (木村マモル) – drums (1981)
- Kazuaki Fukasawa (深沢和明) – saxophone, backing vocals (1981–1982)
- Atsushi Moroboshi (諸星アツシ) – guitar (1981–1982)
- "Honky Tonky Crazy" (ホンキー・トンキー・クレイジー Honkī Tonkī Kureijī, June 1, 1985), Oricon Singles Chart Peak Position: No. 61
- "Bad Feeling" (August 22, 1985) No. 46
- "Wagamama Juliet" (わがままジュリエット Wagamama Jurietto, February 1, 1986) No. 39
- "B･Blue" (September 29, 1986) No. 7
- "Only You" (April 6, 1987) No. 4
- "Marionette" (Marionette -マリオネット- Marionetto, July 22, 1987) No. 1
- "Kisetsu ga Kimi Dake wo Kaeru" (季節が君だけを変える, October 26, 1987) No. 4
- "Dakara" (February 3, 1988) No. 2
- Moral (March 21, 1982), Oricon Albums Chart Peak Position: No. 2 (1989 re-release)
- Instant Love (September 25, 1983) No. 3
- Boøwy (June 21, 1985) No. 48
- Just A Hero (March 1, 1986) No. 5
- Beat Emotion (November 8, 1986) No. 1
- Psychopath (September 5, 1987) No. 1
- Live albums
- "Gigs" Just A Hero Tour 1986 (July 31, 1986) No. 1 (1989 re-release)
- "Last Gigs" (May 3, 1988) No. 1
- "Gigs" Case of Boøwy (November 28, 2001) No. 3
- Gigs at Budokan Beat Emotion Rock'n Roll Circus Tour 1986.11.11~1987.2.24 (February 24, 2004) No. 7
- "Last Gigs" Complete (April 5, 2008, "Last Gigs" plus more songs) No. 10
- "Gigs" Case of Boøwy Complete (December 24, 2012) No. 72
- "Gigs" Just A Hero Tour 1986 Naked (December 24, 2012) No. 15
- Compilation albums
- Moral+3 (February 3, 1988, debut album +3 songs from "Dakara" single) No. 1
- Singles (December 24, 1988) No. 1
- Boøwy Complete Limited Edition (December 24, 1991, box set includes all 6 studio albums, "Gigs" Just A Hero Tour 1986, Last Gigs, Singles and a "Specials" disc)
- Boøwy Complete Required Edition (March 3, 1993, re-release of Boøwy Complete Limited Edition) No. 3
- This Boøwy (February 25, 1998) No. 1
- Boøwy Complete 21st Century 20th Anniversary Edition (March 29, 2002, same as Boøwy Complete Limited Edition) No. 14
- This Boøwy Dramatic 172368000 (September 5, 2007) No. 4
- This Boøwy Drastic 172368000 (September 5, 2007) No. 5
- Boøwy Single Complete (February 27, 2013, Blu-spec CD box set includes all 7 singles)
- Boøwy The Best "Story" (March 21, 2013) No. 1
- Boøwy 1224 Film the Movie 2013- Original Soundtrack (May 31, 2013)
- Other albums
- Orchestration Boøwy (August 9, 1989, orchestra covers)
- Moral - Trance Mix (January 23, 2002, remix album) No. 13
- Instant Love - Hammer Trance (August 21, 2002, remix album) No. 83
- Boøwy Tribute (December 24, 2003, tribute album)
- Boøwy Respect (December 24, 2003, tribute album)
- Boøwy Video (VHS: July 2, 1986, DVD: November 28, 2001), Oricon DVDs Chart Peak Position: No. 5
- "Gigs" Case of Boøwy (4 VHS: October 5, 1987, 2 DVDs: November 28, 2001, live) No. 2 and No. 3
- Marionette (VHS: October 26, 1987)
- Singles of Boøwy (VHS: December 24, 1991, DVD: November 28, 2001) No. 6
- Last Gigs (DVD: October 27, 2001, live) No. 1
- 1224 (DVD; December 24, 2001) No. 2
- Gigs at Budokan Beat Emotion Rock'n Roll Circus Tour 1986.11.11~1987.2.24 (DVD: February 24, 2004, live) No. 2
- "Gigs" Box (DVD: December 24, 2007, 8 disc box-set) No. 12
- "Last Gigs" Complete (DVD: April 5, 2008, live) No. 3
- Boøwy Blu-ray Complete (6 Blu-ray box set: December 24, 2012)
- 1224 Film the Movie 2013 (March 23, 2013, theatrical documentary and live concert)
- "EXILEが20年ぶりの快挙、要因はファン層大幅拡大". Barks (in Japanese). 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
- "Rocker Hotei hears London calling". The Japan Times. 2012-06-14. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
- "Top 100 Japanese pops Artists - No.22". HMV Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved 2011-09-06.
- "Finally! "The 100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time" Listed". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- "Ranking of bands that people want to see comeback". tokyohive.com. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "What's This Year / 1987". interq.or.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
- "The Japan Gold Disc Award 1989". golddisc.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- "What's This Year / 1998". interq.or.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
- "RIAJ CERTIFIED MILLION SELLER ALBUMS". ocn.ne.jp. Archived from the original on 2012-08-05. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
- "Hotei Tomoyasu celebrates his 50th birthday with a live performance". tokyohive.com. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- "布袋寅泰30周年ライブで高橋まこととBOØWYセッション". Natalie.mu (in Japanese). Retrieved 2013-02-17.
- "The track list for BOΦWY’s best-of album revealed". tokyohive.com. Archived from the original on 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-02-17.
- "BOΦWY Ranks 1st in Top Chart for the First Time in 15 years. Only the Beatles Has Made It to Top After the Band's Break-up.". barks.jp. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- ＢＯΦＷＹのシングル売り上げランキング Oricon. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
- ＢＯΦＷＹのアルバム売り上げランキング Oricon. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
- ＢＯΦＷＹのDVD売り上げランキング Oricon. Retrieved 2011-07-12.