ultra soul

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ultra soul
Single by B'z
from the album GREEN
Released March 14, 2001
Recorded November-December 2000
Promotions #1 (Sekai Suiei Fukuoka 2001 Theme)
#2 (Sekai Suiei Fukuoka 2001 Insert)
#3 (Kandou Factory Sport!)
Length 10:55
Label Rooms Records
Producer Tak Matsumoto
B'z singles chronology
30th Single
30s.jpg

RING
(2000)
31st Single
31s.jpg

ultra soul
(2001)
32nd Single
32s.jpg

GOLD
(2001)

ultra soul is the thirty-first single by B'z, released on March 14, 2001. Of the hundreds of songs released by the band in their two-plus decades of history, "ultra soul" is no doubt amongst their absolute most successful. In the band's top-ten most performed songs, the title song is the only one released in the 2000s and is their fourth most-performed overall. Harkening back to some of their earliest works, the title song relies primarily on a digital beat with only guitars and vocals as primary instruments and has since been seen as the dawn of a new era in the B'z catalogue. Notably, the release date was shared with the issuance of three home videos on DVD: once upon a time in Yokohama ~B'z LIVE GYM'99 "Brotherhood"~, "BUZZ!!" THE MOVIE, and LIVE RIPPER.

Production on the title track began in late November and proceeded through December of 2000 after the band had wrapped B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2000 "juice". It was ultimately decided to assemble the single as a coherent whole, in that all three songs are intensely paced with cohesive lyrics between them that all share a similar theme and overall sound. Production was relatively painless, though a number of changes did occur over the course of recording. Namely, the title of "u-ra-to-ra soul" was not decided until late in the process. When prompted as a possibility by Koshi, Tak exclaimed, "That may be it!" and further commented, "That part has to be said by everyone." The crowd-friendly phrase of "u-ra-to-ra soul (hey!)" became an important facet of the song at live events.

With over three hundred performances to its name, "ultra soul" has been played at virtually every opportunity since its release. This has resulted in fifteen home videos appearances with its debut coming in an encore slot during a BEAUTIFUL REEL. Further live performances came during numerous staple tours, including BIG MACHINE, MONSTER'S GARAGE, GLORY DAYS, Ain't No Magic, C'mon, and EPIC NIGHT. The revised "Swimmer yo 2001!!" that served as a B-side here was performed during LIVE-GYM 2001 "ELEVEN" and later released on home video as part of Hidden Pleasure ~Typhoon No.20~ and the ELEVEN home video. Fellow B-side "ROCK man" has not received the home video treatment as of 2015 despite being performed live on several occasions.

So well-received was the title song that it was performed six times on television in the first year of its release, with a repeat on Music Station B'z 25th Anniversary Special in 2013 as per fan demand. It has been used numerous times as a theme to swimming events and televised coverage of the sport in Japan, beginning with coverage of the 2001 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka. This was repeated for the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona and the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in 2014. The song has appeared in other sports as well, such as baseball where it served as the walk-up song of Yasuyuki Kataoka since 2014 and the entrance theme for pitcher Takehiro Ono during 2013 and 2014. Additionally, "ultra soul 2011" was likewise bestowed the same honor for the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai. Due to the swimming tie-in of the title song, 1997 SURVIVE album song "Swimmer yo!!" was revived, re-arranged, and rebranded "Swimmer yo 2001!!" as a B-side alongside a new song, "ROCK man".

As one of the band's most popular songs, "ultra soul" has been subject to numerous reversions over the years. The first revision came not a year after the initial release as a B-side to the next single, "GOLD". This version, subtitled "~Splash Style~", is an acoustic rendition that uproots the original digital backing for something more grounded. For its first album appearance, an "Alternative Guitar Solo ver." appeared on GREEN with a new guitar solo. Five years later, B'z would release an international iTunes EP that was released only in the United States and Europe. This was more of a LIVE-GYM version created in the studio, featuring full bass, guitar, and drums as if it were being played live. In 2011, an all-new hard-rock version appeared as "ultra soul 2011" for the year's studio album C'mon. At the end of the year, in a joint show with Linkin Park to benefit victims of the then-recent tsunami in Japan, B'z unveiled an English version of the song that would be officially release the following summer on the band's self-titled debut English album. The English reversion retains many of the elements of "ultra soul 2011" but has a rawer sound overall. Additionally, the original version has been collected on B'z The Best "Pleasure II", B'z The Best "ULTRA Pleasure", and B'z The Best XXV 1999-2012.

The legacy of the song is further apparent in its innumerable appearances on Japanese variety and competition programs, on which it is a natural fit as an upbeat cover for amateur and professional musicians alike. In 2005, during a B'z appearance on the TBS program Utaban to perform the then-recent single "Ai no Bakudan", an autographed copy of the handwritten lyrics to "ultra soul" bearing Koshi's signature was uncovered. Much to Koshi's surprise, the document was given an appraisal of 2.5 million yen ($25,000 USD). The page of notes revealed early titles of the song, including "iron soul" and "super soul". Interestingly, printed on the back of the paper are the lyrics to "New Message", which would not be released until 2003.

The music video was filmed at the Tokyu Hotel's rooftop pool near the Haneda Airport, which has since been lost to renovation. The video served as the first appearance of the Tak Matsumoto Les Paul Tak Burst model. The video was filmed on a cool February day atop a pool, but with everyone—including the audience members—in very light clothing, leading to the band members to recall in Be With! that they all had colds the next day. The full video is available as part of limited edition copies of B'z The Best XXV 1999-2012.

Upon release, the single instantly solidified itself as one of the band's biggest hits, moving over 500,000 copies in its first week alone and debuting at the top of the Weekly Oricon Singles chart—a position it held for two straight weeks. It became the 11th best-selling single of the year, and spent a total of 23 weeks on the charts. The high sales numbers allowed the single to be awarded Triple Platinum status by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. The title song was successful as a ringtone as well, being awarded a Gold certification in the format. In 2013, "ultra soul" was one of four B'z songs to be released for guitar-learning video game Rocksmith 2014 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. The song was included with all copies of the game in all territories across the world. Three others in "juice", "girigiri chop", and "Easy Come, Easy Go!" were shortly thereafter released as downloadable content.

Track listing

  1. ultra soul
    Undoubtedly an unparalleled success in the B'z catalogue, "ultra soul" is routinely voted the top B'z song in polls involving the general public, including during the Music Station B'z 25th Anniversary Special. The song has been performed over 300 times in the first decade and a half since its original release. Its lyrics are rooted in athletics and the inherent determination and work ethic required as central themes, in accordance with the song serving as the theme to numerous swimming competitions. The tribulations of difficult training and great rewards that await are voiced directly in the lyrics, which has made the song an inspirational choice not just for athletes but students as well. During live performances from 2002 onward, it is customary for Koshi to make his way to Tak during the final bridge in order for Tak to shout "Hey!" into the microphone, while audience members and the band jump during the "urutora soul, hey!" moments of the chorus and outro. The song has been reworked and revised numerous times since release, with an acoustic version, an alternate solo version, a LIVE-GYM-based studio version, a hard rock version, and an English version.
  2. Swimmer yo 2001!! — スイマーよ2001!!
    As with the title song, "Swimmer yo 2001!!" also served as a theme to the World Swimming Championships television coverage in Japan. The arrangement has been drastically altered to make it a companion piece to "ultra soul", with new portions of the lyrics and numerous changes throughout. In essence, due to the variety of changes and completely different sound—including the keyboard being replaced by an acoustic guitar—it can almost be considered a new song that stands far apart from its original composition.
  3. ROCK man
    Written and recorded at the same time as its A-side compatriot, "ROCK man" became a subtle fan favorite upon release. It saw brief live inclusions during -Preview- and -Intermission- shows of LIVE-GYM 2001 "ELEVEN" before seeing further inclusion as part of SHOWCASE 2007 -B'z In Your Town- and LIVE-GYM 2008 "ACTION", though it bears noting none yielded a home video inclusion. For the 2008 release of the fan-selected compilation B'z The Best "ULTRA Treasure", it ranked as twenty-third overall of hundreds of candidates and was included on the second disc. The track also appeared on the sports theme compilation album Sport! MEMORIAL~Sweat and Tears~ alongside fellow Being artists Mai Kuraki, GARNET CROW, doa, ZARD, and Tak Matsumoto, including his solo composition "RED SUN" that has not been released anywhere else.

Reversion history

Original Song Reversion History
ultra soul
SINGLE & ALBUM SONG* (2001)

31s.jpg 12a.jpg

RE-RECORDING: ultra soul ~Splash Style~ (2001)
A fully acoustic rendition found only as a B-side on "GOLD".
RE-RECORDING: ultra soul (Alternative Guitar Solo ver.) (2002)
An identical version of the original song but with an entirely new guitar solo, from 2002 studio album GREEN.
RE-RECORDING: Ultra Soul (2007)
Released only on the band's 2007 self-titled international EP. This version has a raw sound, with greater emphasis on guitar, bass, and drums akin to the live version performed at LIVE-GYMs.
RE-RECORDING: ultra soul 2011 (2011)
Hard rock reversion that puts a heavy emphasis on integrating drums, bass, and overlapping guitars in place of the digital instrumentation of the original prepared for 2011 studio album C'mon.
ENGLISH: Ultra Soul (2012)
Released on the band's worldwide debut English album, B'z, based partially on "ultra soul 2011".

Swimmer yo!!
ALBUM SONG (1997)

09a.jpg

RE-RECORDING: Swimmer yo 2001!! (2001)
Complete overhaul of the original song that makes it more of a companion piece to "ultra soul", for which it served as a B-side.

Live appearances

Live Performances

ultra soul [332 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM in Taipei & Hong Kong 2001 [4/4 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE "Kobushi wo Nigire" [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2001 "ELEVEN" [46/46 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE "SAPPORO DEVIL" [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png 2002 FIFA World Cup International Day Concert [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2002 "GREEN ~GO★FIGHT★WIN~" [18/18 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2002 "Rock n' California Roll" [3/3 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2003 "IT'S SHOWCASE!!" [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM The Final Pleasure "IT'S SHOWTIME!!" [23/23 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2003 "BANZAI IN NORTH AMERICA" [7/7 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2003 "BIG MACHINE" [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2003 "BIG MACHINE" [12/12 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2005 "Abashiri Extra Edition" [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2005 "CIRCLE OF ROCK" [41/41 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2006 "Yokosuka MONSTER" [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2006 "MONSTER'S GARAGE" [17/17 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2007 -19- [6/6 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2007 -B'z In Your Town- [3/7 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png SUMMER SONIC 07 [2/2 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2008 -GLORY DAYS- [6/6 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2009 -B'z In Your Town- [8/8 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png SUMMER SONIC 09 [2/2 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2010 "Ain't No Magic" [19/19 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2011 -long time no see- [3/3 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png TV Asahi Dream Festival 2011 [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png Pepsi NEX presents B'z 1DAY LIVE [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2011 -C'mon- [26/26 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png AEROSONIC [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2013 -ENDLESS SUMMER- [17/30 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z Special LIVE at EX THEATER ROPPONGI [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2015 -Shimonoseki Uchouten NIGHT- [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2015 -EPIC NIGHT- [40/40 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png ROCKROCK 20th ANNIVERSARY LIVE "ROCK BEYOND ROCK" [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2015 -Shinagawa Uchouten NIGHT- [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png TV Asahi Dream Festival 2015 [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2017 -Hissatsu Hiokinin- [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2017 -B'z In Your Town- [11/11 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png ROCK IN JAPAN FESTIVAL 2017 [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png RISING SUN ROCK FESTIVAL 2017 in EZO [1/1 SHOWS]
Swimmer yo!! [144 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE "GO! GO! HEAVEN" [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM '98 "SURVIVE" [49/49 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE "Kobushi wo Nigire" [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2001 "ELEVEN" [42/46 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2008 "ACTION" [12/53 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2015 -Shimonoseki Uchouten NIGHT- [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2015 -EPIC NIGHT- [40/40 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png ROCKROCK 20th ANNIVERSARY LIVE "ROCK BEYOND ROCK" [1/1 SHOWS]
ROCK man [19 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2001 "ELEVEN" -Preview-/-Intermission-[3/46 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2007 -B'z In Your Town- [6/7 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE 2008 -Kiyotake ACTION- [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2008 "ACTION" [9/53 SHOWS]

Home Videos

ultra soul
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2002 "GREEN ~GO★FIGHT★WIN~"
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2002 "Rock n' California Roll"
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM Final Pleasure "IT'S SHOWTIME!!"
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2003 "BANZAI IN NORTH AMERICA"
crossbracket.png Hidden Pleasure: LIVE-GYM 2005 "CIRCLE OF ROCK"
crossbracket.png Pleasure II Limited Edition: LIVE-GYM 2003 "BIG MACHINE"
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2008 -GLORY DAYS-
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2010 "Ain't No Magic"
crossbracket.png SHOWCASE 2007 -19-
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2011 -C'mon-
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2011 -long time no see-
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2005 -CIRCLE OF ROCK-
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2001 -ELEVEN-
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2013 -ENDLESS SUMMER-
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2015 -EPIC NIGHT-
Swimmer yo!!
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM '99 "Brotherhood" Bonus: LIVE-GYM '98 "SURVIVE"
crossbracket.png Hidden Pleasure: LIVE-GYM 2001 "ELEVEN"
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2001 -ELEVEN-
crossbracket.png LIVE-GYM 2015 -EPIC NIGHT-
ROCK man novid.png

Sales data

No. Cover Single Physical Copies Sold Chart Positions Certification
FIRST WEEK LIFETIME WEEK MONTH YEAR
31 31s.jpg

ultra soul
2001.03.14

501,040+

876,000+

1

3

11

3x Platinum

Personnel

B'z

Support Members