Happy 62nd birthday to David Sylvian, born on this day in 1958. His real name is David Alan Batt, and he is best known as the lead vocalist and main songwriter in the group "Japan." His subsequent solo work is described by critic Jason Ankeny as "a far-ranging and esoteric career that encompassed not only solo projects but also a series of fascinating collaborative efforts." Sylvian's solo work has been influenced by a variety of musical styles and genres, including jazz, avant-garde, ambient, electronic, and progressive rock. The band Japan, whose other members included bassist Mick Karn, guitarist Rob Dean, keyboardist Richard Barbieri and Sylvian's brother Steve Jansen as drummer, began as a group of friends. A fan of New York Dolls, Sylvian adopted his stage name from Sylvain Sylvain, while his brother took Jansen from David Johansen. Japan released 5 studio albums between March 1978 and November 1981. In 1980, the band signed with Virgin Records, where Sylvian remained as a recording artist for the next 20 years. In the early 1990s, guitarist Robert Fripp invited Sylvian to sing along with King Crimson. Sylvian declined the invitation, but he and Fripp recorded the album "The First Day" released in July 1993. He has collaborated a great deal over the years. He worked on the soundtrack for "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" by Ryuichi Sakamoto, and worked with Robert Fripp, as well as dozens of others. In 2015, Sylvian released "Playing The Schoolhouse" in 2 limited editions. He has released 6 albums with Japan, and 9 solo albums. "Brilliant Trees" is the 1st solo album by David Sylvian, released on June 25, 1984. Went Gold with sales in excess of 100,000 copies. "Japan" is a self titled album by the band Japan, released in the US in 1982. It was the 1st US release of the band's material recorded for Virgin Records, and was a combination of most of "Tin Drum" with 3 tracks from "Gentlemen Take Polaroids." Despite the group's popularity in Europe and Asia, and a cult following in the US, the album was not a chart success, and was released at a time when the band was beginning to break up.
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