10 Décembre 1941, Japan
After forging a successful career as a singer, songwriter and actor Kyu Sakamoto lost his life on the infamous Japan Airlines Flight 123 which crashed into Mount Takamagahara killing 520 crew and passengers. Sakamoto's career began 27 years earlier in 1958 after joining The Drifters, Japan's precursor to The Barron Knights. His career with The Drifters was to be short-lived due to internal bickering and after a brief spell with Danny lida and Paradise King, Sakamoto secured a deal with Toshiba Records and began a solo career. Initial success in Japan was followed by international acclaim after Louis Benjamin, head of UK's Pye Records visited Japan and heard Sakamoto's hit single Yume de Aimashou. Renaming the song Sukiyaki, Benjamin released an instrumental version on Pye recorded by Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen and the song became a UK hit. Shortly afterwards, Sakamoto's original version was released by HMV where it went on to become the company's sixth highest selling record. Capitol released Sukiyaki in the States where it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, a first for an Asian artist. The song went on to sell over 13 million copies worldwide but the follow up single China Nights peaked at number 58 in the Billboard chart and Sakamoto subsequently stopped recording in order to concentrate on film and TV work. On 12th August 1985 Sakamoto boarded Japan Airlines' Flight 123 at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. Just a few minutes after take-off the plane suffered an explosive decompression and crash-landed into the side of Mount Takamagahara, killing all but four people on board, including Kyu Sakamoto.
Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved