Not your typical Japanese front woman

Nokko or Sheena Easton?

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The Story Of Rebecca

Contrary to popular belief, the '80s gave rise to some truly outstanding bands in Japan. Rebecca was one of them.

Plagued by infinite band member changes, record company struggles, and solo recording temptations, Japanese pop rock band Rebecca just barely survived the eighties. However, it was this turbulence and tension (combined with talent and musicianship) that made for some of the best songs to come out of Japan's lackluster music scene of the mid eighties. There was never a dull moment in Rebecca's five-year career. From 1984-1989 Rebecca churned out single after single, scoring hit after hit, while slowly replacing the manufactured idol singers who had controlled the charts for decades. Their approach to music didn't follow the similar rehashing of American tunes, nor did Rebecca succumb to the narrow-minded musical trends dominating the Japanese music scene. Lead singer Nokko, keyboardist Akio Dobashi, and bassist Noriyuki Takahashi, (along with a string of guitarists and drummers) set out to create something different- equipped with a vision that kept Rebecca way ahead of their time while never having to compromise their musical integrity.

Rebecca was the dream of guitarist Kogure Takehiko who in early 1981 recruited a bass player and vocalist to help make Rebecca a reality. The group managed a few rehearsals before Takehiko would get acquainted with Nokko, a young singer in an all-female band called Doll. This would mark the beginning of a long and volatile relationship for Takehiko and Nokko, and it was shortly after this meeting that Nokko joined Rebecca as their lead vocalist. When this early line-up began rehearsing and playing live houses around Tokyo (equivalent to rock clubs in America), they sparked the interest of a Sony/CBS talent scout. It seemed that Nokko and Takehiko were disappointed in their offer from Sony, as they both took a lengthy trip to America in March of 1982 hoping that an American record label would find appeal in their demo tape. Unfortunately, there was no response from America, and due to their shortage of money, Nokko and Takehiko were left with no option but to return to Japan. Disappointed and frustrated, Nokko and Takehiko decided to put Rebecca on hold until early 1983.

It had been a tough beginning, but in 1983 things finally fell into place. In February, bass player Noriyuki Takahashi joined the band. A new drummer was hired in July. In August they closed a deal with CBS Records, and by the end of the summer they had completed the band with the addition of keyboardist Akio Dobashi. Finally Takehiko had seen his small idea for a rock band turn into something much grander. But sadly it wouldn't be long before Rebecca would turn on its founding member.

Although it was a proud moment for Rebecca to see the release of their first single "Wearham Boat Club," and mini-album Voice Print in the Spring of 1984, the music was a let down. Nokko sounds like a tormented child, barely able to keep up with the awkwardly arranged "Wearham Boat Club." In a desperate attempt to sound new wave, Rebecca end up over-indulging in tacky synth lines, sounding more Dead or Alive than Devo. One would have almost given up hope in this promising new band had "Virginity" not been released six months later.

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