Formed in the early '80s by guitarist Kogure Takehiko, and later joined by vocalist Nokko (real name Yamada Nobuko) , Rebecca were one of the most influential Japanese acts of the '80s, with a string of hit singles and albums, as well as a lasting impact on the rock and pop scene in Japan. Nokko in particular, with her ripped jeans and rebellious image, proved a much needed counterpoint to the docile, manufactured pop idols who were the main female role models of the period. After some time playing at live venues in Tokyo and an abortive attempt to land a U.S. record deal, the group members found a lineup they were happy with in 1983, when bassist Takahashi Noriyuki and keyboard player Dobashi Akio joined. They eventually debuted the following year with the single "Wearham Boat Club," shortly followed by the mini album Voice Print and then a full album, Nothing to Lose, and the single "Virginity" later the same year. Musical differences precipitated the departure of Kogure in January 1985, leaving Dobashi as the main songwriter, and it is this lineup of the band that was responsible for most of the group's best-known material. The album Wild & Honey was a Top Ten hit and signaled Rebecca's accession to the mainstream of Japanese rock, and the smash hit single "Friends" showed that the band was a force to be reckoned with. Rebecca IV: Maybe Tomorrow followed soon thereafter and gave them their first number one hit album. For the rest of the '80s, Rebecca continued to release a steady stream of hit singles and albums, while a string of drummers and guitarists worked their way through the band's revolving-door membership. The group officially split up in February 1991, although Takahashi and Dobashi had been releasing solo material for some time by this point. In 1990 Nokko married ex-guitarist Kogure, although the marriage was short-lived and the couple divorced in 1993. She had limited success as a solo artist throughout the 1990s, and then in 1999 there was a revival of interest in Rebecca after a remix of "Friends" was used as the theme song to the TV drama Lipstick. A flurry of remix and best-of albums followed, as did a brief reunion, but by this time Rebecca had been superseded by bands like Judy & Mary, who had taken the group's style and energy and updated the music to better suit contemporary tastes. ~ Ian Martin
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