Discovering Japan

Album: Squeezing Out Sparks (1979)

Songfacts®:

  • The first track on Parker's highly acclaimed album Squeezing Out Sparks, this song was inspired by his extensive travels, which he quite enjoyed. In a 2012 Songfacts interview with Graham Parker, he explained: "What people don't know is that me and the Rumour had made two albums in '76 and my career was already well in gear before something called punk and new wave came along, which was ostensibly in the mid-to-late '70s, whenever that actually broke. So then some of the people locked me in with other angry young men and all that. I was out there doing this with the Rumour for a year and a half before other angry young men really came along. So I was on the road a lot and I was just going through this great period, really, where this was now my life of playing music and having a career. I was thinking of myself as successful, and touring places like Australia one minute and Japan the next. And then sitting on an airplane in Tehran wondering if we'll ever take off, 1979. Will we take off? Will we live?

    So it was a lot of excitement. Squeezing Out Sparks was fueled by all this, really. I can remember coming back from Japan having all these words flying through my head that came to make the song "Discovering Japan" for instance. I didn't write the songs particularly on the road, because I'm not good at that, but I definitely got the balance for the album from living such a crazy lifestyle, from coming from 1975 when I was living with my parents in a village in the country working in a gas station. Before that, I'd traveled as a hippie to Morocco, to France and Spain, and I was a bit of a nomad. And then I decided okay, no more traveling until I get paid for it. Now I'm going to become a professional musician."

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