Tatsurō Yamashita, the god of City-Pop

Having the handlebars fully in this Japanese and funky music that we call “City-Pop”, we have for the moment overlooked certain fundamentals. A harmless message brings me back to earth: “Tatsuro Yamashita, is it City-Pop?”. So yes, it seems obvious to us, but not necessarily for our friends and our possible future audience! Especially since Tatsuro Yamashita’s songs generally represent 1/4 or even 1/3 of our set-list! So let’s start from the beginning…


The beginnings with SUGAR BABE

Formed in Tokyo from 1973 to 1976, SUGAR BABE is an independent group in which we find of course Tatsuro Yamashita , but also Taeko Onuki , also well known by fans of city-pop.

Sugar Babe Tatsuro Yamashita


SUGAR BABE will only have one album to its credit: “Songs” 1975


Solo career and 1st album: CIRCUS TOWN

SUGAR BABE was dissolved in 1976, and the same year, Tatsuro Yamashita, with a contract with RCA Records, released his first album: CIRCUS TOWN


The following years are very productive, with the albums “Spacy” (1977), “Go Ahead” (1978) and “Moonglow” (1979) which will really launch his career.

Confirmation with Ride on Time and For You

If the previous albums are not to be outdone, Ride On Time (1980) and For You (1982) confirm his career and offer us here two albums of excellent quality, both in composition and in production.



Tatsuro Yamashita ‘s latest album is “Softly” (2022)


Music composer for commercials

Less known (at least for non-Japanese), Tatsuro Yamashita also made a lot of songs for commercials, and this, from 1974. We find compilations in the albums “Tatsuro Yamashita CM Collection Vol.1” andTatsuro Yamashita CM Collection Vol.2″

Big Wave, the documentary and the album

In 1984, a rather crazy project was released, a film entirely dedicated to surfing, accompanied by songs by Tatsuro Yamashita and Pineapple Boys , it shows us the daily life of surfers in Hawaii.


The soundtrack will also be released in a physical album in 1984 (on vinyl and cassette) and in 2014 (on CD) to celebrate 30 years.


Christmas Eve, the Christmas song in Japan

Released in 1983, the song Christmas Eve has sold 1.8 million copies, and has become a recurring Christmas song.


In the same vein as Big Wave, a film called “Christmas in New York” was released on VHS and Laserdisc in 1991. The film offers different images of New York, embellished with several songs by Tatsuro Yamashita


Maria Takeuchi, the wife of Tatsurō Yamashita

Impossible to evoke Tatsuro Yamashita without evoking his wife with whom he married in 1982


Tatsuro Yamashita helped produce and arrange the album “Variety” (as well as almost all of his albums), the songs of which are all written by Maria Takeuchi . This name, “Variety” is given because of the variety of songs present on the album. Sometimes more pop, sometimes more groovy, it’s obviously “Plastic Love” that gets the most attention, but its real explosion would take place 31 years later with the internet.



Numerous collaborations

Also producer, arranger, musician, these are hundreds of songs on which we find the name of Tatsuro Yamashita : Minako Yoshida , Kinki Kids , Kimiko Kasai , … the list is too long!!


Nop, Tatsurō Yamashita is not on  Spotify

If you can’t find Tatsurō Yamashita on streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music, that’s normal. The Japanese have a different approach when it comes to promoting and selling music. You should also know that the physical CD market in Japan is still holding up well (the Japanese spend around 3 times that of the French on physical CDs). The meager cost of streaming is a drag, and most of the Japanese albums on the platform are either old albums or albums by artists who are no longer in business.

The only platform where you will therefore find Tatsurō Yamashita‘s music officially is YouTube.



Source :

Sugar Babe : https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%B7%E3%83%A5%E3%82%AC%E3%83%BC%E3%83%BB%E3%83%99%E3%82%A4%E3%83%96

Tatsuro Yamashita Discog: https://www.discogs.com/fr/artist/119485-Tatsuro-Yamashita

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