- Pizzicato Five
Infobox musical artist
Name = Pizzicato Five
Background = group_or_band
Alias = P5, Pizzicato V
Origin = Flagicon|Japan
Shibuya-kei Indie popDance
Years_active = 1985-2001
Sony Music, Matador Records, Columbia Music Entertainment
Associated_acts = Fantasic Plastic Machine
Yasuharu Konishi Maki Nomiya Keitarō Takanami Ryō Kamomiya Mamiko Sasaki Shigeo Miyata Takao Tajima
Pizzicato Five (often known simply by the initials P5)Yang Jeff, Dina Can, Terry Hong, (1997) "Eastern Standard Time" pg 277 New York: Mariner Books ISBN 0-395-76341-X] is a
Japanese pop group best known to audiences in the West in their later incarnation as a duo of Maki Nomiyaand Yasuharu Konishi. The group, widely credited (along with Flipper's Guitar) with spearheading the shibuya-keimovement of Tokyo in the 1990s, is known for eclectic and energetic compositions that often sound like "new" releases from the late 1960s hipsterscene. The catchphrase "A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular" captured the group's ironic stance and eager attitude. The group broke up in March 2001.
Pizzicato Five was a hugely prolific group during its 16-year-long existence, usually releasing at least an album each year in addition to various EPs and remix albums.
The group was formed in 1985 by Konishi and fellow founding bandmates Keitarō Takanami.] , Ryō Kamomiya, Mamiko Sasaki, and Shigeo Miyata. Miyata left the group almost immediately but the four remaining members kept the name Pizzicato Five. The band released its first single, a 12-inch called "Audrey Hepburn Complex" in 1985. The band soon signed with CBS Sony (now Sony Music Entertainment).
In 1987, Pizzicato Five released their first all-new album, "Couples". It was a commercial failure, and the record company began pressuring the band to find a new lead singer. Kamomiya and Sasaki decided to quit. With Takao Tajima as the new vocalist, the band released its second album, "Belissima!" in 1988.
The next two albums, 1989's "On Her Majesty's Request" and 1990's "Soft Landing On The Moon" were also commercial failures.
In 1990, Maki Nomiya, who had previously released one solo album, joined as the third lead vocalist..] In 1991, Pizzicato Five signed with Nippon Columbia/Seven Gods (later Triad Records). Takao Tajima left to start his own band "Original Love."
Following 3 EPs showcasing Nomiya's vocals, Pizzicato Five released "This Year's Girl". Inspired by the advent of sampling (
De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Risingis said to have been a major influence), the group put together a sound which would help start the burgeoning Shibuya-keiscene. The album would spawn two of their most loved songs: "Twiggy Twiggy" and "Baby Love Child".
1992 saw a change in direction as the clubby "Sweet Pizzicato Five" was released.
The band began to get increasing exposure via the theme songs it recorded for television dramas (a common practice for pop bands in Japan) achieving wide-spread fame with the 1993 single "Sweet Soul Revue", which was featured in a major spring advertising campaign for
Kanebo Cosmetics. The single became a smash hit.
In June of the same year, Pizzicato Five released the album "Bossa Nova 2001". Produced by fellow Shibuya-scenester Cornelius, it reached number seven on the charts. In December, the single Nihongo|"7pm in Tokyo"|東京は夜の七時|tōkyō wa yoru no shichiji (later known as "The Night Is Still Young" when released outside of Japan) became another smash hit after it was used as the opening theme of the children's television programme
Ugo Ugo Lhuga.
The band's American debut came in 1994 with the release of the
E.P."Five By Pizzicato Five" on Matador Records.] . This was quickly followed by a full-length album, "Made in USA", a compilation of tracks from their last three Japanese albums which sold 200,000 copies worldwide.
Shortly before the release of the next album "Overdose" in the same year, Keitarō Takanami quit the band, leaving Konishi and Nomiya as the only remaining members. In February 1995 the two set off on a successful 14-stop tour of Europe and America. Another compilation, "The Sound of Music" was released in October 1995, again featuring various tracks from the Maki-era albums.
After the 1996 release of the album "Romantique 96" and several singles including the hit "Baby Portable Rock", in 1997 the band signed with a new label, *********(Readymade) Records, Tokyo, and released the commercially successful album "Happy End of the World" - the only album to be released unchanged in both Japan and the rest of the world.
In 1998, the band released "The International Playboy & Playgirl Record" in Japan. It would be released a year later with US and the rest of the world with a slightly different track-listing and the shortened title of "Playboy & Playgirl".
1999 came and Pizzicato Five released the "JBL Maxisonic" series of EPs, followed by their self-titled album "Pizzicato Five". It included songs from each of the 3 EPs in very different forms: "Darlin' of Discothèque" is shorter and instrumental, "A Perfect World" is a lounge-style rearrangement sung by guest vocalist
Mieko Hirotaand the new song "20th century Girl" is based on the B-side"Room Service", originally written by Masumi Arichikaof TV Jesus.
2000 and beyond
In 2000, Matador Records released "Pizzicato Five" under the somewhat less confusing name of "The Fifth Release From Matador". The CD version of this left out the first song "Love Again" but made up for it with three additional tracks (one from each of the "JBL Maxisonic" EPs), while the LP version shared the same title but deviated still further from the original track-listing. It would also be Pizzicato Five's last American release.
2001 saw the Japanese release of the album "
Çà et là du Japon" and the announcement that the band was to break up, followed by a series of live events featuring guest performances by old members and two further "Big Hits and Jet Lags" albums - "Pizzicato Five R.I.P." (1998-2001) and "Singles" (1993-2001).
* "Audrey Hepburn Complex" (1985)
* "Pizzicato Five in Action" (1986)
* "Pizzicatomania!" (1986)
* "couples" (1987)
* "Hi Guys! Let Me Teach You" (1991)
* (1991, reissued in 2000)
Sweet Pizzicato Five" (1992)
* "Bossa Nova 2001" (1993)
* "Instant Replay" (live album, 1993)
Expo 2001" (remix album, 1993)
* "Five by Five" (1994)
* "Made in USA" (US compilation, 1994)
* "Overdose" (1994)
* "a television's workshop e.p." (1994)
Romantique 96" (1995)
* "a quiet couple" (1995)
* "Unzipped EP, feat "Happy Sad (are you feeling good or feeling bad?)"
The Sound of Music by Pizzicato Five" (US compilation, 1995)
* "Pizzicato Five TYO: Big Hits and Jet Lags 1991-1995" (compilation, 1995)
* "By Her Majesty's Request" (rerelease, 1995)
* "great white wonder" (1996)
Antique 96" (compilation of older material, 1996)
* (remix ep, 1997, also US)
* "Mon Amour Tokyo (CD single UK) (1997)
* (1997, also US)
Happy End of the World" (1997, also US)
Happy End of You" (US remix album, 1998)
* "Pizzicato Five JPN: Big Hits and Jet Lags 1994-1997" (compilation, 1997)
* "the international playboy & playgirl record" (1998)
* "playboy & playgirl" (US version of "the international playboy & playgirl record", 1999)
* "PIZZICATO FIVE" (1999)
Nonstop to Tokyo EP" (1999)
* "the fifth release from MATADOR" (US version of "PIZZICATO FIVE", 2000)
* "PIZZICATO FIVE in the BAG" (vinyl boxset, 2000)
Remixes 2000" (remix album, 2000)
* "Baby Portable Sessions" (Unplugged at
NHK FM, 2000)
* "Pizzicato Five R.I.P.: Big Hits and Jet Lags 1998-2000" (compilation, 2001)
* "singles" (single collection, 2001)
Pizzicato Five in the Mix" (2002)
* "THE BAND OF 20TH century: Sony Music Years 1986-1990" (compilation of older material, 2004)
* Yasuharu Konishi (小西康陽). Only founding member to stay with the group until the end. Songwriter, bass, keyboards, vocals.
* Keitarō Takanami (高浪慶太郎 later changed his name to 高浪敬太郎 Keitarō Takanami, and was also known as "K-taro"). Guitar and vocals.
* Mamiko Sasaki (佐々木麻美子). Lead vocalist until 1987.
* Ryō Kamomiya (鴨宮諒). Keyboards.
* Takao Tajima (田島貴男). Lead vocalist 1987-1990.
Maki Nomiya(野宮真貴). Lead vocalist from 1990.
Appearances in other media
* The song "Baby Love Child" is a backing track in the montage sequence at the end of the "
Futurama" episode " Leela's Homeworld".
* The song "Sweet Soul Revue" is the ending theme in the
Pauly Shoremovie " Jury Duty".
* The song "à tokyo" is used in the
Austin Powersmovie " Goldmember".
* The song "Happy Sad" is used in the credits of the
Isaac Mizrahibiopic " Unzipped (film)".
* The Song "Groovy Is My Name" is used in the
Gregg Arakicult underground film The Doom Generation.
* The song "Baby Portable Rock" is used in
SSX Tricky, when Kaori Nishidake has a new rank
* The song "Nata di Marzo" is featured in the soundtrack of
The Kids in the Hallfeature film " Brain Candy".
* The song "Twiggy vs. James Bond" is part of the soundtrack of the documentary "Pret a Porter" and also in "Charlie's Angels", in the scene of the party at Corwin's apartment (although it's credited as "Twiggy Twiggy").
* The music video was mocked by
Beavis & Butthead, claiming the language spoken was "French or Mexican".
* Maki Nomiya sings "Baby Universe" in the video game "
We Love Katamari"
* They made the song "Message Song" for NHK's
Minna no Utaprogramme in 1996.
* Their cover of the Plastics song "Good" was used in the
Games for Windowsmontage at Microsoft's E3 2007 conference.
* The song "Twiggy Twiggy" was also used as the opening theme of a Chilean TV Program called "Bakania" in the 90s.
* The song "Go Go Dancer" was used as the opening theme of a Brazilian MTV Program called "Teleguiado" in the late 90s.
* The song "20th Century Girl" is overheard on the "Mommies Dearest" episode of
Gilmore Girls, when Rory comes home to "Crazy Asia" party that her mom prepared for them.
* MTV in Brazil used "Room With a View" as the opening theme of one of their "Top 10" kind of shows.
* The song "Non-Stop to Tokyo" appeared rearranged in the game "" during the beginning of Report 2.
* [http://columbia.jp/~pizzicato/ Official Pizzicato Five website with discography] ja icon
* [http://www.matadorrecords.com/pizzicato_five/ Matador Record's page on Pizzicato Five]
* [http://pizzicato-file.cocolog-nifty.com/ Extremely thorough fan site] ja icon
* [http://www.chipple.net/p5/pizzlyrics/ Comprehensive database of translated Pizzicato Five lyrics]
* [http://www.lovep5.com/ fan site]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.