Queen explores when, how it became so big in Japan

Publish Date
Saturday, 26 June 2021, 11:37AM

As Queen began gaining a foothold at home in the U.K. its star was rising considerably more rapidly on the other side of the globe in Japan.

Music fans in the Land of the Rising Sun began seeing photos of Queen and reading stories about the band in magazines as early as 1974. The band's music and stagecraft immediately resonated in the Far East.

By 1975, Queen booked eight shows in Japan at the end of the U.S. tour, after a vacation in Hawaii. They had no idea what they were getting into when they arrived for the first concert at the world-famous Budokan in Tokyo.

"We arrived at the airport and suddenly realized that it was on a scale different to that which we'd imagined because there were thousands of people there just to welcome us," recalled Roger Taylor. "Normally, you don't get that sort of thing anywhere."

The trip kicked off a decades-long relationship between Queen and Japan and prompted Brian May to write a song "Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)" in tribute to fans in the country.

Queen made visiting Japan a priority through the rest of the '70s and '80s. Even during the band's hiatus in the '90s, its music remained present in everyday life the country, having been used in TV commercials and dramas.

Concert promoter and longtime friend of Queen Kaz Utsunomiya says the band's early enthusiasm for Japanese culture all but assured its lasting impact in the country.

"A lot of international bands come to Japan, they go to Tokyo and Osaka, right? Rarely have a chance to see the culture outside Tokyo, which this band did from day one," Utsunomiya said. "...That helped the band understand the Japanese culture, Japanese history and sort of like meeting Japanese fans."

Queen explores its relationship with Japan in the latest episodes of its Queen the Greatest YouTube series. Watch them above!

This article was first published on iheart.com and is republished here with permission

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you