|Single by B'z|
|from the album LOOSE|
|Released||October 11, 1995|
|Promotions||#1 (X-Files Theme)|
#2 (Tower Records CM)
|B'z singles chronology|
LOVE PHANTOM is the eighteenth single by B'z, released on October 11, 1995. While it exhibits grand production values and begins with over a minute of orchestral strings, it was not originally intended to be a single. So immense was its popularity when shown to the public, however, that a single release became inevitable and as a result, one of the most successful singles in B'z history was released. In addition to appearing on their best-selling studio album LOOSE, it was included as the opener on their best-selling compilation album B'z The Best "Pleasure" in 1998 and naturally returned for B'z The Best "ULTRA Pleasure" in 2008 and B'z The Best XXV 1988-1998 in 2013.
The idea for the song came to Tak as he was hanging mid-air during a concert. Suitably, live versions of the song have been equally spectacular. As one of the few B'z songs premiered live ahead of its eventual release, "LOVE PHANTOM" was first performed as a spectacle during LIVE-GYM Pleasure'95 "BUZZ!!". This version featured Koshi gradually dawning a vampire-inspired costume and ascending a tall tower on the stage only to leap off after being "shot" by Tak. Along with a few other songs that received similar treatment, this performance was reproduced as part of The Final Pleasure in 2003. The lavish production values featured in those debut performances were originally intended for a revival of 1990 album song "VAMPIRE WOMAN". However, out of that idea came the desire to make a new song that fit the concept better, and thus "LOVE PHANTOM" was born. The song is amongst the band's fifteen most performed live, with over 200 performances to date. Live versions have come in a great many varieties and have frequently incorporated laser displays as part of the intro, such as the elaborate version featured as part of B'z LIVE-GYM 2010 "Ain't No Magic".
"LOVE PHANTOM" was recorded with the final Tak Matsumoto model of his Yamaha signature line of guitars: the Yamaha MG-M CUSTOM Black Burst. This is one of the few occasions in which B'z utilized other vocalists for lead parts—here, Akemi Mori adds the operatic portions later in the song while Keiko Utoku adds a supplementing vocal to the mid portion of the song leading to the final chorus. Notably, with this release, B'z would premiere what would become their signature logo that would be used on the majority of releases from then onward apart from stylistic exceptions found on certain releases, such as GREEN and "Yasei no ENERGY". Originally, the single was expected for an end of September release, but was delayed for two weeks. This would be the first B'z single to be delayed after announcement though not the last after "Sayonara Kizu Darake no Hibi yo" was pushed back following the 2011 earthquake disaster in Japan.
The song has a long history on television. The dedicated music video featured Koshi in makeup as the titular "LOVE PHANTOM". It also bears noting that in recent years when video footage is needed for the song, performances from "BUZZ!!" THE MOVIE or Typhoon No.15 are used. Of particular interest to Western fans is that "LOVE PHANTOM" was also used as the theme song to Japanese airings of The X-Files on TV Asahi. The song was performed on television twice on Music Station the year of its release, and was revived again for the show's "B'z 25th Anniversary Special" in 2013 as a result of fan voting where it was the second most requested song.
The single debuted at the top of the Weekly Oricon Singles chart with the band's largest sales debut to date, with 951,000 copies sold in the first week alone. The single sold its way to number one for October 1995, fifth for November, and tenth for all of 1995. After spending 22 weeks on the charts, the single was certified Million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan for its sales in excess of 1.8 million copies, their second highest sales for a single. Later, it would also be certified Gold for its sales as a full ringtone as well, in addition to being named one of the Best 5 Singles at the 10th Japan Gold Disc Awards.
- LOVE PHANTOM
- A B'z song that ememplifies all the band's greatest qualities, "LOVE PHANTOM" is always in the running for, and occasionally tops, lists attempting to showcase the best B'z songs. Its live debut during B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure'95 "BUZZ!!" created enough of a fervor to ingrain the song as one of the quintessential B'z performance pieces in the mind of the public. According to Koshi, the protagonist of the lyrics was approached as a non-traditional "hero" character dealing with love somewhat in the vein of Frankenstein or Dracula. The music came to Tak as he was suspended mid-air in concert and, accordingly, its electric dynamism is characteristic of such an origin. The song begins with a string section and features guest operatic vocals to end it, but is otherwise a very up-tempo, hard-rocking number. Live performances have been suitably eclectic, featuring Koshi dressing in vampire garb and leaping from a tower to beneath the stage as well as elaborate light and laser shows to accompany such showings.
- FUSHIDARA 100% — 100% SLUTTY
- A relentlessly hard rock song, "FUSHIDARA 100%" is one of two B'z songs to be written from a female's perspective. Another example is "GO-GO-GIRLS" which was written for female artist Yuiko Tsubokura at first. "FUSHIDARA 100%" was performed alongside the single's title song on an edition of Music Station in one of its relatively few live appearances. Interestingly, an English version was also produced during the recording sessions for "Real Thing Shakes" with producer Andy Johns. While this would go unreleased, during its performances for B'z LIVE-GYM '96 "Spirit LOOSE", a new version was premiered that fused the provisional English version and Japanese version together. The original song's only appearance on an album was when it was collected unaltered on B'z The "Mixture" in 2000.
|Original Song||Reversion History|
SINGLE & ALBUM SONG (1995)
- LOVE PHANTOM [222 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure'95 "BUZZ!!" [12/12 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM '96 "Spirit LOOSE" [44/44 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure'97 "FIREBALL" [9/9 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM '98 "SURVIVE" [49/49 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM '99 "Brotherhood" [23/24 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2000 "juice" [21/21 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM in Taipei & Hong Kong 2001 [4/4 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM 2001 "ELEVEN" -Extra- [3/46 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM The Final Pleasure "IT'S SHOWTIME!!" [2/23 SHOWS]
- B'z SHOWCASE 2006 "Yokosuka MONSTER" [1/1 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM 2006 "MONSTER'S GARAGE" [17/17 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE in Namba 2006 [1/1 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2008 -GLORY DAYS- [6/6 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM 2010 "Ain't No Magic" [19/19 SHOWS]
- B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2013 -ENDLESS SUMMER- [11/30 SHOWS]
- FUSHIDARA 100% [45 SHOWS]
- LOVE PHANTOM
- FUSHIDARA 100%
|No.||Cover||Single||Physical Copies Sold||Chart Positions||Certification|
- Tak Matsumoto: Guitar, Music Composition, Arrangement
- Koshi Inaba: Vocals, Lyric Composition, Arrangement
- Denny Fongheiser: Drums (Track 2)
- Masao Akashi: Bass (Track 2)
- Takanobu Masuda: Organ, Moog (Track 2)
- Shinozaki Strings: Strings (Track 1)
- Akemi Mori: Opera (Track 1)
- Keiko Utoku: Female Voice (Track 1)
- Naoko Iijima: Uhh....xxxx! (Track 2)