Formed in Tateyama, Chiba, Japan in 1982, X Japan is a hard rock band best remembered as pioneers of the visual kei movement, which itself was inspired by glam rock. The roots of the group stretch back to 1977 when Yoshiki (drums / piano) and Toshi (vocals) formed their first band when they were 11. After going through several name and line-up changes, the group settled on the name X (not to be confused with the Los Angeles, California-based punk band) and a line-up that also featured guitarist Terry. While Yoshiki and Toshi remained the group’s only constant members, their music evolved over the years as often as their line-up. Originally a speed / power metal band, they eventually incorporated elements of symphonic, glam, and progressive metal into their sound. They issued their first single, “I’ll Kill You,” in 1985, which was followed a year later by “Orgasm.” Their debut album, Vanishing Vision, was released in 1988 and reached number 1 on the Japanese Independent Albums chart. The group then signed a major label deal with Sony Music and issued their second album, Blue Blood (1989), which hit number 6 on the albums chart. In 1991, X released their third album, Jealousy, which became their most successful album to date. The album went to number 1 and stayed in the charts for 50 weeks. The group’s next two albums – Art of Life (1993) and Dahlia (1996) – were also commercially successful in Japan and brought them to the attention of international audiences. However, the group decided to part ways and performed their last concert on December 31, 1997. Guitarist Hide (Hideto Matsumoto), who played with the band from 1987 until their break-up, died from suicide on May 2, 1998, at the age of 33. A decade after their break-up, Yoshiki, Yoshi, bass guitarist Heath, and guitarist Pata reunited and brought the band – now commonly referred to as X Japan – back to life. Although the band focused on live performances, they released a few singles since they reunited including “I.V.” (2008), “Scarlet Love Song” (Buddha Mix) (2011), “Jade” (2011), “Born to Be Free” (2015), and “Angel” (2023). X Japan did record a sixth album, originally scheduled for release in 2016, but it never materialized. Throughout their career, X Japan has also released six live albums, 11 compilations, a remix album, and a dozen singles. In 2016, a documentary about the band, We Are X, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The following year, the film received wide release alongside the album We Are X: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Original guitarist Terry (Yuji Izumisawa) died in 2002. Bassist Taiji – who played with the band from 1985 until 1992 – died from suicide on July 17, 2011. Bassist Heath (Hiroshi Morie) died of cancer on October 29, 2023, at the age of 55.

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Stations Featuring X-Japan

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