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Yellow Magic Orchestra's Yukihiro Takahashi Has Died
Christian Eede , January 15th, 2023 14:30

It follows a battle with brain cancer

Yukihiro Takahashi, the revered Japanese artist best known as the drummer and lead vocalist for Yellow Magic Orchestra, has died, aged 70.

His death, on January 11, followed a recent case of pneumonia as well as the 2020 discovery of a brain tumour. He underwent treatment to remove the tumour that same year, but had continued to suffer complications with his health since.

Takahashi first came to prominence in the early 1970s as the drummer for Sadistic Mika Band. After they disbanded, Takahashi recorded and released his first solo album, Saravah!, in 1977.

A year later, Takahashi co-founded Yellow Magic Orchestra together with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono in Tokyo. A pioneering force in electronic and pop music, both in Japan and globally, the trio released seven studio albums together between 1978 and 1983, before splitting in 1984. They continued to collaborate, however, on each other's recordings and at live shows. A one-off reunion album, Technodon, came out in 1993.

While part of Yellow Magic Orchestra, Takahashi continued to record and release a number of solo albums, featuring contributions from Sakamoto and Hosono, with 1981's Neuromantic also taking in features from Tony Mansfield of New Musik and Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay.

Takahashi also worked on the soundtracks for a number of TV series and films, including the 1989 anime show Nadia: Secret Of The Blue Water. He linked up with Sakamoto and Hosono under further aliases, like HASYMO and Sketch Show, in the 2000s, before the trio returned officially as Yellow Magic Orchestra in 2009 for a performance at Japan's World Happiness festival.

In June 2018, Takahashi and Sakamoto joined Hosono to perform a track together during the latter's debut UK solo concert at London's Barbican. It marked the final time that the three appeared together in public.

Following the news of Takahashi's death, his Yellow Magic Orchestra bandmate Sakamoto shared a grey square in mourning via Twitter.