The only appearance of a Japanese band on the legendary American music and dance show Soul Train? Of course it had to come from the iconic Yellow Magic Orchestra.
I’m not a big fan of the Yellow Magic Orchestra, but some of their tunes are just stunning. I posted about their fascinating Kirin beer commercial a while ago – and a few days back I listened to the great “Kings of Techno” mix by Carl Craig which features the “Firecracker”.
Craig might have first heard the tune in 1980 when the Yellow Magic Orchestra performed in the studios of Soul Train – this music show ran from 1970 until 2006 and is often mentioned when it comes to influences of many American musicians, DJs and artists.
The “Firecracker” is also known as “Computer Games” and it was the Orchestra’s biggest hit in the US – I have no idea if the Soul Train gig came before the hit. But I know that it is an absolutely catchy little number, hitting all the right tones between Japan and “the West”.
If you want to know more about the background of the YMO’s gig at Soul Train and how their hit single even created a bit of hip hop history, go to this article at Those People, “a black magazine for people too hip for black magazines”, as they themselves put it.