Ghosts

Album: Tin Drum (1982)
Charted: 5
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Japan were a British Pop/Rock group, fronted by David Sylvian, who achieved success in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This autobiographical haunting ballad was Japan's biggest hit. A song with an entirely minimal arrangement, it was one only a very few such "minimalist" songs to reach the UK Top 10.
  • Despite the song's success, Japan split a few months after its release. Sylvian explained to Mojo September 2009: "I had begun achieving the goal, the band was becoming successful, but I was finding myself no happier than when I had started, even if I had gained a sense of self-sufficiency. My experience of the world was very cloistered. I didn't like being held in. I didn't like being documented. I didn't like people walking in my footsteps. I found the experience of the modicum of fame I had underwhelming. It wasn't what I wanted, and that was a revelation. So I had to re-evaluate and there was turbulence in that as I was going to have to upset the lives of some very dear friends. But again it was a means of survival and a means of trying to find a purposeful existence. Ghosts sort of pre-empts all that. By disbanding the group it enabled me to move in any direction I wanted without compromise."
  • Sylvian told Mojo that this song is the only piece that Japan produced that still resonates with him as it's the most autobiographical piece. He explained: "It was the only time I let something of a personal nature come through and that set me on a path in terms of where I wanted to proceed in going solo."
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