Legendary Yellow Magic Orchestra frontman Yukihiro Takahashi has died

The drummer and singer of the Japanese electropop band was 70 years old

Japanese musician Yukihiro Takahashi, drummer and vocalist of the legendary and influential electropop band Yellow Magic Orchestra, has died at the age of 70. The news of his disappearance was reported by the Japanese media, recalling that in 2020 Takahashi had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, resulting in surgery.

Born in Tokyo on June 6, 1952, Takahashi started out as the drummer of the Japanese rock group Sadistic Mika Band in 1972. After their disbandment, Takahashi recorded his first solo album, “Saravah”, in 1978. In the same year he founded with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono Yellow Magic Orchestra, which became famous for the use of synthesizers, samplers, sequencers and drum machines. The band that Takahashi fronted was the protagonist of the fusion of oriental ethnic music and western electronic sounds, with a profound and significant impact on electronic music and acid house music between the 80s and early 90s. In 1978 their track “Computer Game” reached the UK Top 20 and sold 400,000 copies in the US. Yellow Magic Orchestra has released eight albums, including “Solid State Survivor” and “Bgm”, and hit songs such as “Rydeen”, “Firecracker” (Martin Denny cover), “Tong Poo” and “Technopolis”. Although the Yellow Magic Orchestra went out of business in 1984, the group has reunited several times over the years, most recently at the World Happiness Festival in August 2012.

Throughout the 1980s Takahashi released a string of solo albums and collaborated with many musicians, including Bill Nelson, Iva Davies of the Icehouse, Keiichi Suzuki of the Moonriders (collectively called The Beatniks). Among his records “Wild and Moody” (1984), “Poisson d’Avril” (1985), “The Brand New Day” (1985), “Once a Fool” (1985), “Only When I Laugh” (1986 ), “Ego” (1988). In 2014 he created Metafive, with whom he released two albums. His most recent solo work is “Saravah, Saravah!” 2018, a remastered reboot of his debut, which featured composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and pop singer Haruomi Hosono.