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Product Code: 202968
Availability: In Stock
Price: £10.99
Ex Tax: £10.99
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Japan - Gentleman Take Polaroids
(Virgin Records  1980  202968)
Matrix No's: A1/B2

Sleeve in Nr MINT condition

Vinyl in Nr MINT condition

Japan were an English music group formed in 1974 in Catford, South London by David Sylvian (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Steve Jansen (drums), Richard Barbieri (keyboards) and Mick Karn (bass guitar). Initially a glam-inspired group, Japan developed their sound and androgynous style to incorporate electronic music and foreign influences, eventually becoming an influence on the UK's early-1980s New Romantic scene.

Japan achieved success in the late 1970s and early 1980s, releasing nine UK Top 40 hits, including the 1982 Top 10 hit "Ghosts", and scoring a UK Top 5 with the live album Oil on Canvas (1983). The band split in 1982, just as they were beginning to experience significant commercial success in the UK and abroad. Its members went on to pursue other musical projects, though they reformed briefly in the early 1990s under the name Rain Tree Crow, releasing an album in 1991.

Gentlemen Take Polaroids is the fourth studio album by the British band Japan. Released in November 1980, it was the band's first album for the Virgin Records label. It continued in the vein of their previous album, Quiet Life, utilising a combination of electronic elements coupled with more traditional instruments, though culminating in a more sophisticated and atmospheric production than its predecessor. This was the last Japan album to feature guitarist Rob Dean.

Although not a huge chart hit upon its initial release in the band's native UK (where it peaked at #51), the album was later certified "Gold" by the BPI in 1986 for 100,000 copies sold.

The album was preceded by the title track which was released as a single in October 1980 and peaked at no.60 (the group's first single to make the UK Top 100). No further singles were immediately taken from the album, though "Nightporter" (influenced by the works of French composer Erik Satie, most particularly his Gymnopedies), was remixed and released as a single in November 1982, just after the band announced that they were splitting. It peaked at no.29 in the UK Singles Chart, though both the edited 7" version and the full-length 12" remix remain unreleased on CD to this day.

"Taking Islands in Africa" re-appeared as the B-side of the "Visions of China" single in 1981, then remixed by Tin Drum co-producer Steve Nye.

"Methods of Dance" was also used as the title for two Virgin Records compilation albums of new talent released in the early 1980s. The track itself was used as the B-side to the 12" single of "Nightporter" in late 1982 (the B-side of the 7" single of "Nightporter" was a remix of "Ain't That Peculiar").

An unreleased track from the Gentlemen Take Polaroids sessions, "Some Kind of Fool", was rerecorded by David Sylvian in 2000 and included on his compilation album Everything and Nothing. The song was pulled from the Polaroids album at the last moment and replaced by the track "Burning Bridges". A number of original vinyl copies of the album have "Some Kind Of Fool" listed as the third track on the rear of the sleeve even though they play "Burning Bridges". The original recording of the song circulates amongst collectors, albeit in poor quality.

Track listing

All songs written by David Sylvian (Copyright Opium Arts Ltd.), except where noted.

Side A:

  1. "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" – 7:08
  2. "Swing" – 6:23
  3. "Burning Bridges" – 5:23
  4. "My New Career" – 3:52

Side B:

  1. "Methods of Dance" – 6:53
  2. "Ain't That Peculiar" – 4:40 (Smokey Robinson/Warren "Pete" Moore/Marvin Tarplin/Robert Rogers; Jobete Music UK Ltd.)
  3. "Nightporter" – 6:57
  4. "Taking Islands in Africa" – 5:12 (Sakamoto/Sylvian)


  • David Sylvian - vocals, synthesizers (ARP Omni, Oberheim OB-X, Minimoog, Roland System 700), piano, electric guitar
  • Mick Karn - fretless bass guitar, oboe, saxophone, recorder
  • Steve Jansen - drums, synthesizer (Roland System 700, Sequential Circuits Prophet 5), percussion
  • Richard Barbieri - synthesizers (Roland System 700, Micromoog, Polymoog, Prophet 5, Oberheim OB-X, Roland Jupiter 4), sequencer, piano
  • Rob Dean - guitar, ebow
Additional personnel
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto: synthesizers
  • Simon House: Violin, "My New Career"
  • Cyo: Vocals, "Methods of Dance"
  • Barry Guy: double bass
  • Andrew Cauthery: oboe


  • Produced & Mixed By John Punter
  • Recorded & Engineered By John Punter, Colin Fairley, Nigel Walker & Steve Prestage
  • Nicola Tyson - back cover
  • Stuart McLeod - front cover

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