GLAY (グレイ) is a rock/pop band originally formed in Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan in 1988. They have since risen to become the 3rd best-selling artist of all time in the country. Primarily considered a classic rock band, they have also arranged songs using elements from a wide variety of genres, including punk, electronic, R&B, folk, reggae, gospel, and ska. In 1999 they were awarded the Guinness Record for largest single concert attendance in Japan for their outdoor expo "Survival" which exceeded 200,000 participants. They are often compared to The Beatles in terms of their diverse musical style, broad appeal, band history, and cultural significance.
GLAY started in 1988, when they were in high school, with TAKURO as the guitarist, TERU as the drummer and a bassist who quit when they decided to head to Tokyo. They needed a vocalist, so TERU made a tape of his singing to give to TAKURO and was immediately recruited for the part. On the search for another guitarist, HISASHI was asked to join but turned down the offer, as he was already part of a locally well-known heavy punk/rock band called 蟻 (Ari), which better suited his taste in music. When Ari disbanded, HISASHI accepted TAKURO's offer and became the lead guitarist of GLAY. By the time of TAKURO and TERU's graduation, GLAY had become more popular in their hometown of Hakodate and were playing in full live houses. Following HISASHI's high school graduation in 1990, the three of them moved to Tokyo to try and further expand their musical career. However things did not seem to improve for them in Tokyo. Their gigs only attracted a few people, and sometimes none at all.
During this time, members (particularly drummers) were constantly joining and leaving the band. When their bassist quit, Takuro had heard that JIRO, who was also from Hakodate and had played with the indie band ピエロ (Pierrot) (different from the now disbanded Japanese rock band PIERROT, that enjoyed mainstream popularity), had moved to Tokyo and invited him to join GLAY. He, too, declined the offer, insisting that he was already heading in the right direction for himself. It wasn't until TAKURO asked him to play at just one show to fill in for their missing bassist that he decided to go. Following that show, JIRO continued to receive invitations to play with GLAY, and in 1991 he had become GLAY's official bass player, finalizing the official four member lineup
Takuro was heavily influenced by his favourite band, The Beatles, and took a great interest in composing original songs and lyrics. The band name "GLAY" is a deliberate misspelling of the word "gray", which represents the style of music they wanted to play; a mixture between rock (black) and pop (white). Although GLAY primarily composes songs in the rock genre, they have also composed songs in styles ranging from reggae to gospel. Due to their musical diversity, beautiful lyrics and wonderful melodies, they have become one of the most successful and well known bands in Japan, and most of Asia.
Official site: HAPPY SWING SPACE SITE (glay.co.jp)
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