Saturday, July 26, 2014

Loudness - Crazy Nights

Loudness (ラウドネス) are likely to be the only Japanese group to appear on ERV, and are one of a handful of Japanese acts that had the potential to make an impact on the U.S. charts.  The group got its start in 1981 and quickly established themselves as the premier heavy metal band in Japan.

By 1984, Loudness had released four albums, and had a following in their home market.  To my ear, their early work sounds similar to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and I think that it holds up reasonably well.  Their growing success caught the attention of the Twisted Sister management team and led to an international recording contract with Atco Records in 1985.

The act's first American record was 1985's Thunder in the East.  The album was recorded in the U.S., with English lyrics and some significant style changes, designed to appeal to the American market -- essentially, they went with a more pop metal sound, similar to Mötley Crüe, instead of sticking with their earlier, heavier music.

The results were ok, but not great.  Thunder in the East did hit #74 on the U.S. album charts, led by "Crazy Nights," which did not chart.  However, it was not the big breakout that the label had hoped for, and several subsequent records did not fare any better.  Atco dropped the band in 1991, and Loudness refocused on the Japanese market.  Though there have been several lineup changes, the band remains active to the present day.continues to record and tour to the present day.

Cool trivia fact:  The "M - Z - A" chant in the chorus has no particular meaning -- it was used as a placeholder during the initial recording, and the band could not come up with anything better, so they keep it in the final version.

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