Music History

“Yeah, but the record is big in Japan.” A look at Canadian success in that country.

Deep in my vinyl collection, I have a record from a Windsor, Ontario, band from the 70s band called Teaze. They had a couple of well-received singles on AM radio in 1977 and 1978, including this one.

I was a fan of their second album, On the Loose. I had this one on repeat in my mom’s ’73 Pinto. Yes, I was very dazed and confused back then.

Then Teaze somehow ended up with a tour of Japan. This was back in the days when that market was just opening itself to Western music. The reaction was so good that they recorded a live album, which is the one I have in my collection.

It turns out that Teaze were major musical pioneers. They blew up in Japan at even before Cheap Trick, who had a platinum breakthrough with their Live at Budokan album.

Then came Spinal Tap in 1979. Towards the end of the film, the band discovers that “Sex Farm” from Smell the Club has charted in Japan.

This helped establish the whole “yeah, but we’re big in Japan” meme. The thinking became “You might be failure in the music business, but at least you’re selling some records in a territory no one in our world knows or cares about.”

The German band, Alphaville, even released a song called “Big in Japan” in 1984.

This brings me to the new graphic from Cameron Gordon at Completely Ignored. He looks at some Canadian bands who have been big enough to play shows in that country since 1998. Click on the image to see the whole thing.






Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38343 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on ““Yeah, but the record is big in Japan.” A look at Canadian success in that country.

  • The very first concert I ever attended was a shared double bill with Teaze & Streetheart at the Halifax Forum. This would have been in the 1978/79 time range. The Tour of Japan album was in heavy rotation on all of our bedroom Sears mini stereos for quite some time. I still have it. As well as a CD issue. I bought their One Night Stands album at K-Mart and we all gathered to listen. To our 12 year old chagrin, side 1 was Teaze but side 2 had been mis-pressed. It was some crooner ala Jim Nabors. Not sure who on the Aquarius label that might have been but we didn’t risk buying any more Teaze records. I returned that for Heart’s Little Queen. Thanks for the memory today. Tour of Japan will be getting a few spins this week.


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