The Changing Landscape of Music in the 70s
We are going to travel back to the 1970s in today’s post. It was a time where peace flourished in most parts of the world. Also, musical tastes became more diverse. Rock music during this time was evolving and changed. New sub-genres were created, such as hard rock, progressive rock, and glam rock. Hip-hop became a new trend primarily in the Black American community thanks to many artists like Grandmaster Funk. Disco music flourished in the night clubs and helped terms like “boogey down” become mainstream in our lingo. It also had fashion trends like the afro, bell-bottom pants, and platform shoes.
Even though the 70s pioneered many new musical trends, the decade still kept a few memories of the previous one alive. Some of these memories were prog(ressive) rock, pop-rock, and art-rock. By the start of a new decade, bands like ELO, Yes, Genesis, and others experimented with new forms of rock with success: Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway with art rock, Yes’ “Roundabout” with prog rock, and Electronic Light Orchestra/ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” with pop-rock. These three songs influenced the music world with unique instrumentation and brand new musical concepts. Soon after, the whole world caught on to this diverse rock sound craze and tried to emulate it for their own musical scenes.
Inspired From Western Music: Japanese Art-Rock Band Tulip
Tulip was a Japanese rock band who wanted to try these new rock genres out in their home country. Based in southern Japan, Akira Yoshida, Shinji Soda, and Nobuyuki Suehiro formed the band in 1971 while studying at Seinan Gakuin University. They played at various lives around campus, trying to emulate the Beatles’ sound. Their first song, “Hashiradokei ga 10jihan”(The Wall Clock is 10:30), featured this sound. The band then decided to head to Tokyo to get a record label. However, Shinji Soda and Nobuyuki Suehiro decided they didn’t want to leave Fukuoka and quit. That led Yoshida to recruit Kazuo Zaitsu (vocals, keyboard, and guitar), Tatsuya Himeno (vocals, guitar, and keyboard), Toshiyuki Abe (guitar), and Masatoshi Ueda (drums).
Tulip signed a deal with an indies label when they got to Tokyo. With this label, they released two singles: “Hashiradokei ga 10jihan” and “Watashi no Chiisa na Jinsei” (My Little Life). Then they made their major debut on September 20, 1972 with the single “Mahou no Kiiroi Kutsu” (Magical Yellow Shoes). The band would have numerous hit songs like “Kokoro no Tabi” (The Journey of the Heart), “Saboten no Hana” (Catcus Flower), and “Niji to Sneaker to Koro” (Around the Rainbows and Sneakers). Tulip also had many lineup changes as most of the members, except for Zaitsu, left the band during the 80s and were replaced.
The band broke up in 1989 after they released the album Well. Most of the members went onto do other activities. Kazuo Zaitsu continued on with a mediocre solo career. Some of the band’s members got back together in 1997 to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary. However, the band stayed together for a ten year period, releasing more material during their revival. The band recently reunited in 2012 to celebrate forty years by holding a concert.
Behind the Scenes of “Welcome to My House”
The band decided to release their first English song, “WELCOME TO MY HOUSE”, five years after their debut. As a well-crafted “progressive meets pop and art rock” song, “WELCOME TO MY HOUSE” might remind you of ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky”. Both songs feature influences by the Beatles. But also, a lively, bouncy piano sound that can be found in Paul McCartney’s song “Come and Get It“. But, what makes ELO and Tulip different from each other is how each band composed their own sound.
When writing “WELCOME TO MY HOUSE”, Zaitsu probably wanted to feature a musical style found in the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. “WELCOME TO MY HOUSE” focused more on the soft electric guitar, piano, and drum sound with a lot of John Lennon-inspired backing vocals.
Is “Welcome to My House” a Worthy Listen?
The album WELCOME TO MY HOUSE could be classified as pop-rock. But, I feel like the song itself can be considered as a mixture of progressive, pop, and art-rock. The song does have a certain pop-like quality, especially by the upbeat attitude often associated with songs composed in cut time.
This song has the basic rock instrumentation with no orchestral instruments present. It instead features new innovations in the 70s’ Japanese rock scene with unusual percussion. “WELCOME TO MY HOUSE” also uses the backing vocals to paint a bigger picture within the song, a common theme in art-rock. Finally, the song accents a folk music-like structure, which was very popular in Japan during the album’s release.
If you like The Beatles or ELO, then you should most definitely check out “WELCOME TO MY HOUSE”. Named as the Japanese Paul McCartney, Kazuo Zaitsu brings the vocal and musical composition of The Beatles to the song. But also using the up-beat tempos and piano of ELO in this song.
This post is dedicated to my dear mom who is a huge Beatles and rock fan. Without her, I probably wouldn’t have the entire The Beatles discography mesmerized by heart or known English rock music really well. Most importantly, this post wouldn’t be written. I contacted my mom, who always gave me a very detailed explanation, whenever I was uncertain about something that was written in this post.
Rock on, mom! <3
The Lyrics of “WELCOME TO MY HOUSE”
Welcome to my house
Walk through the doors my mind
Just leave your problem behind
I’ll be waiting for you
Welcome to my house
It’s not a fancy place
You’ll have to get used to my pace
But I will wait for you
Shine on! Shine on!
Come on take a look inside
Shine on! Shine on!
You might like the things you’ll find
Welcome to my house
Your dreams are on the outside
Why don’t you bring them all inside
they’re the same as mine