100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #70 Japan – Ghosts

Released : 1981

By the early months of the new decade the Musicians Union had seen enough: worried by the march of the synthesizer and it’s potential impact on their member’s jobs, they moved to have use of them limited to low key tasks, a weird sort of protectionism which spoke to a profound lack of understanding.

Similarly to the early incarnations of Ultravox, Japan’s early career was met with either ridicule or apathy. The turning point came after the release of the Tin Drum album, one which spawned Ghosts, possibly the most unlikely UK top five single since Gary Numan’s Cars in 1979.

Fronted by the ashen David Sylvian, the band were far too effete for the teeny fans of Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet, but Ghosts – a minimalist, sad un-banger thirty years before they were invented – was proof for everyone that electronic music could harbour an innovative sonic palette all of it’s own.