Julian Cope presents JAPROCKSAMPLER.COM

Sharp Hawks/
Sharp Five

Yuji Nozawa – vocals, dancer
Tadao Suzuki – vocals, dancer
Rikiya Yasuoka – vocals, dancer
Masao Koyama – vocals, dancer
Jimmy Lennon – vocals, dancer

Starting out in 1963 as a four boys/one girl soul revue band, The Sharp Hawks were considered a very exotic proposition because of their international heritage at a time when the Japanese audiences still struggled to find western music authentic when performed by their own kind. Comprised of one American singer, one Spanish, one Eurasian, and two Japanese, Sharp Hawks performed such songs a as ‘Land of A Thousand Dances’ and Ray Charles’ ‘What I Say’, plus their own hits ‘Let Me Go’ and a Flamenco version of the standard ‘Unchain My Heart’. However, with the coming of the Group Sounds phenomenon, Sharp Hawks were expected to play their own instruments, which they attempted but failed to achieve. Their management brought in a heavyweight backing band, the eleki stars M. Inoue & His The Sharp Five, and Sharp Hawks’ female singer was deemed inappropriate for Ground Sounds and unceremoniously dumped. Unfortunately for the band, their backing group became hot property and The Sharp Five signed their own record contract with Columbia Records, in December 1967. Now forced to pick up their own instruments, The Sharp Hawks achieved this monumental task and, with one new member, continued until their dissolution in 1969. Ironically, their former backing band continued its career into the 1970s, with a quadraphonic demonstration LP for Columbia Records entitled BIG OPERATION FOR 4 CHANNEL, which contained rock takes on such classical pieces as Bizet’s ‘The Pearl Fishers’ and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’. The record was probably inspired by The Love Sculpture’s whirly dervish 45RPM take on Khachaturian’s ‘The Sabre Dance’, which Sharp Five also covered on this LP.

Julian Cope
  • BIG OPERATION FOR 4 CHANNEL (Columbia, 1971)

To contribute information about this artist you must first log-in or register with Head Heritage.