Alan Merrill, Blackbird, Denen Colloseum, Tokyo, August 1970





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Published on Sep 24, 2006

In this clip at age 18, Alan Merrill is a pioneer, the first domestic market foreign pop star to be successful in that territory in the history of Japan's music scene. Here he bravely performs the Beatles song "Blackbird" solo, alone on acoustic guitar as opening act for Japan's most popular "group-sounds" band The Tigers. This show was at the Denen Colloseum in Tokyo 1970. It was the Tigers farewell tour, and the crowd was over 10,000 people.
Alan Merrill's situation was sort of (if you can imagine) as if a Japanese teenager was playing solo on acoustic guitar opening up for a Beatles farewell concert in London. Not an easy task. Merrill played a 10 song set that day, and did just fine I'm told.
A few years later Alan Merrill formed Japan's first successful glam rock band, Vodka Collins. He left Japan in 1974 for the UK and there was lead singer of a band called The Arrows, singing and writing the first released version of "I love rock n roll" in 1975, a song later covered by Joan Jett and Britney Spears.

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