Faithful '80s rock devotees Porno Graffitti (named after an Extreme album) enjoyed bigger success in their native Japan than perhaps could have been expected had they been a Western band, thanks to the unyielding popularity that the music of the hair metal decade has with Japanese listeners, even in the 2000s. The band was formed in 1994 by three Osaka students, Akihito Okano, Haruichi Shindo, and Masami Shiratama, but it took them several years to gain public attention, despite the fact that they managed to land a demo tape in the hands of a Sony representative early in their career -- it was rejected, with the recommendation that they build up experience (which they did, playing local clubs in Osaka and Kobe). In 1998 came proof that the Sony exec really meant it, as Porno Graffitti were invited to a band audition in Tokyo, winning the first prize and getting a record contract.
In September 1999 Porno Graffitti had their major-label debut, releasing the single "Apollo." It proved to be good enough for the band to snatch the opportunity to record a theme song for the successful anime feature Great Teacher Onizuka -- the single "Hitori No Yoru" came out in 2000 and sold over a million copies. After that, the band was on a steady track for a few years, recording one successful album each year up to 2004 (the debut being Romantist Egoist, 2000) and continuing to collaborate with the top franchises of the anime industry: in 2003 the band did a song "Melissa" for Fullmetal Alchemist. In 2004 the steady advancement of Porno Graffitti was interrupted by a lineup change, as bassist Shiratama decided to depart the group for a solo career, but Porno Graffitti went on as a duo, only skipping a year in their album release schedule and compensating for that with two best-of compilations, Best Red's and Best Blue's, both released on July 28, 2004 -- the latter best-of became their first release to score number one on the Oricon charts. Best Red's and Best Blue's were followed by their fifth album, Thump (2005), with M-Cabi (2006) and an eponymous release (2007) falling just one step short of the top. In 2006 a Porno Graffitti song made it into anime credits again -- this time the band offered "Winding Road" for the Ayakashi Ayashi series. ~ Alexey Eremenko
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