Adult Contemporary Music in Japan

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Michael Sembello

Do you remember Michael Sembello who ranked no. 1 in 1983 by his hit tune "Maniac" from the movie soundtrack "Flash Dance"?
He was born in Philadelphia on April 17, 1954. He had released his first solo album "Bossa Nova Hotel" in 1983 including top 40 hit song "Automatic Man" from Warner Bros. His second album "Without Walls" had been released in 1986 from A&M Records. (You can find additional bonus tracks only on Japanese CD version as bellow.) In 1995, you can find out Michael's name as the member of the group named Brother Time. Then he started his own production "MKD Production" with Kuni Misawa and Richard "Dick" Rudolph and released his own album "Backwards In Time" in 1997.



  • Label : Warner Bros. Records, USA (Reiisued CD: Warner Music Japan <WPCP-3481>)
  • Original Release Year: 1983 (Reissued CD Release: May 25, 1990)
  • Producer: Phil Ramone
  • Musicians:
    • Drums: Carlos Vega, Vinnie Colaiuta
    • Bass: Nathan Watts
    • Keyboards: Danny Sembello, Chris Page, Don Freeman, George Johnsen, Dennis Matkosky, George Duke, Phil Ramone
    • Banjo: Larry McNeely
    • Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa
    • Horns: Jerry Hey, Gary Herbig, Gary Grant, William Reichenbach
    • Cello: Dennis Karmazyn
    • Strings Arrangement: Oscar Castro Neves
    • Duet Vocal on "Talk": Cruz Baca Sembello
    • Background Vocals: Danny Sembello, John Sembello, Cruz Baca Sembello, Lez Miller
Bossa Nova Hotel


  1. Automatic Man
  2. First Time
  3. Cowboy
  4. Maniac
  5. Godzilla
  6. Talk
  7. Cadillac
  8. Lay Back
  9. Superman




  • Label : A&M Records, USA (Canyon Records Inc, Japan D32Y3035)
  • Release Date: August 21, 1986
  • Producer: Richard Rudolph and himself.
  • Musicians:
    • Guitars: Steve Rippley, Bud Rizzo
    • Bass: Richard Rudolph
    • Saxophone: David Boruff
    • Horns: Herb Alpert
    • Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta
    • Synth Programming: Dennis Matkosky, Steve Porcaro
    • Percussion: Ron Powell
    • Backing Vocals: Bobby Caldwell, Cruz Sembello, Danny Sembello
Without Walls
  • Remarks:

    You can find tracklisting on the backside of the original LPjacket as follows:

    (Side A) 1. Dangerous 2. Last To Know 3. The Picture 4. Funkabilly Swing 5. Gravity (Side B) 1. Is This The Way To Paradise 2. Angelina 3.Wonder Where Your Are 4. Burn It Up 5. Hysterical.

    However, You would be aware that "The Picture", "Angelina" and "Hysterical" were deleted and instead of them "What You Really Want" was added. Only Japanese CD version includes "The Picture" and "Angelina" which are 2 tracks among 3 deleted tracks.



  1. What You Really Want
  2. Last To Know
  3. Funkabilly Swing
  4. Is This The Way To Paradise
  5. Burn It Up
  6. Angelina
  7. Tear Down The Walls
  8. Gravity (Special Dance Mix)
  9. Wonder Where You Are
  10. Dangerous
  11. The Picture




  • Label : Polydor (POCP-1252)
  • Release Date: October 25, 1992
  • Producer: Himself.
  • Musicians:
    • Guitars: Jennifer Batten, Tim Drury
    • Keyboards/ Programming / Engineering: Joe Milner, Brian O'Doherty, Chris Papastephanou, Danny Sembello
    • Saxophone: Richard Elliot
    • Backing Vocals: Wilkins, Cruz Sembello, Kali & Joe Milner, Danny Sembello
  • Remarks : "Movers and Shakers" is originally released as a track of Richard Elliot's album titled "What's Inside" (enigma records 7 73565-2) in 1990. "Heavy Weather" is originally performed by Diana Ross on her album "The Force Behind The Power" in 1991. "Heavy Weather" and "Black Rain (Miles To GO)" are covered by Carl Anderson on his album "Heavy Weather Sunlight Again" (GRP GRD-9778) in 1994.
Caravan Of Dreams


  1. Heavy Weather
  2. Where We Gonna Dance
  3. Thing Called Love
  4. Movers and Shakers
  5. Passion
  6. Black Rain (Miles To Go)
  7. Winter Of Our Love
  8. Shangri-la
  9. State Of My Heart
  10. The Cure For Love
  11. The Harder Love Falls
  12. Where Are We Now




  • Label : Nippon Columbia (COCY-80474)
  • Release Date: February 21, 1997
  • Producer: Richard Rudolph and himself
  • Musicians:
    • Bass: Nate Watts, Alfred Rubalcava
    • Keyboards: Greg Phillinganes
    • Trumpet: Gary Grant
    • Saxophone: "Rev" David Boruff
    • Horns: Herb Alpert
    • Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta, Greg Bissonette, Raymond Pounds
    • Synth Programming: David Matkosky, Steve Porcaro
    • Percussion: Humberto "Nenge" Hernandez
    • Backing Vocals: Toshi Kubota, Nikki Haris, Gina Harley
  • Remarks : Please be advised that this album is released under the name of "Sembello", not "Michael Sembello" !  
Backwards In Time



  1. Too Much Bizarre
  2. Never Go Home
  3. Backwards In Time
  4. The Life Of My Broken Heart
  5. Exotic Erotic
  6. Dangerous Questions
  7. The Road To Lonely
  8. Rocking Chair
  9. I Believe In You
  10. Who Is
  11. Ride The Snake... (To Be Continued)
  12. Rub The Stone
  13. One Of Me Is Crazy



ANCIENT FUTURE (The Lost Years, Part 1)

Michael Sembello re-embarks now with his selected collection CD from his 90's solo projects "Caravan Of Dreams"(1992), "Backwards In Time" (1997) and "Bridge" project (1997) plus his biggest hit "Maniac" jazz version included in Randy Waldman's 3rd solo album "UnReel" (2001). In those era, Michael Sembello tried to be more multi-cultual and succeeded to merge such influences into his hyperacid Latin music style. Now, Michael Sembello has returned to his roots on the East Coast where it all began and we will see what he does there. Probably, the next project will be another different cornerstone of his musical journey. Based on my observation, most of the tracks on this CD are basically same as those original version, but some tracks must be differently edited for this CD; sometimes shorter, other times longer as shown below.

Song Title
Original Version
This CD Version
Heavy Weather
Too Much Bizarre
One Planet, One People
06:11(Jap), 06:04 (US)
The Life Of My Broken Heart
You Can Never Go Home


  • Label: Legend Records, USA (LGD-0002)
  • Release Date: May, 2002
  • Michael Sembello: Producing, Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums
  • Additional Musicians:
    • Guitar: Edu Falcao, Michael O'Neil
    • Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta, Greg Bisonette, Raymond Pounds
    • Percussion: Humberto Hernandez
    • Keyboards: Greg Phillinganes
    • Piano: Randy Waldman
    • Bass: Nathan Watts, Alfred Rubalcava, John Patitucci
    • Sax: David Boruff
    • Trumpet: Gary Grant
    • Background Vocals: Edu Falcao, Gina Haley
Michael Sembello / Ancient Future


Michael Sembello's official web

Michael Sembello's official website
  • Tracks:
    1. Rub The Stone *
    2. Heavy Weather +
    3. Too Much Bizarre *
    4. One Planet, One People #
    5. Maniac ##
    6. Rocking Chair *
    7. Dangerous Questions *
    8. The Road To Lonely *
    9. The Life Of My Broken Heart *
    10. I Believe In You *
    11. You Can Never Go Home *
    12. Where Are We Now? +


    + : taken from the album "Caravan Of Dreams"

    * : taken from the album "Backwards In Time"

    # : taken from "The Bridge"

    ##:taken from Randy Waldman's album "UnReel"



The Lost Years

This is Michael's chronological song collection album "The Lost Yeas". This album are designed to be a special gift to the fans which are now able to gain in one collection a lot of rare and unreleased tracks with an obvious emphasis on his rock roots. It also includes a magnificent rework of "Maniac" – the worldwide hit that Sembello had in 1982 off of the "Flashdance" soundtrack, plus his own version of the Jeff Paris hit "The Life Of My Broken Heart". Jeff himself appears on the album in a duet on "Tear Down The Walls" while Jennifer Batten is guest guitarist on: "Love Doesn't Live Here Anymore" and "Tear Down the Walls". I would emphasize that you will listen to self-remake versions of "What You Really Want" and "Burn It Up" taken from Michael's 2nd solo album "Without Walls", one of the hardest to get CDs.
  • Label: Frontiers Records, Italy (FR CD 155) / Cool Sound, Japan (COOL-106)
  • Release Date: July 7, 2003 (Europe) / September 10, 2003 (Japan)
  • Producers: himself
  • Michael Sembello: Drums, Bass, Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Keyboards
  • Musicians:
    • Duet Vocal (Track 2): Jeff Paris
    • Guitars: Jennifer Batten
    • Keyboards: Timothy Drury, Brian O'Doherty, Randy Waldman
    • Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta
    • Bass: Nathan Watts
    • Percussion: Bail Kecak Chanters
    • Human Beat Box: Ellis Hall
    • Background Vocals: Jeff Paris, Gina Haley, Bobby Caldwell

<Japanese Version>

Lost Years Jap version

  • Tracks:
    1. Heavy Weather
    2. I Believe In You
    3. What You Really Want (new version)
    4. Burn It Up (new version)
    5. Maniac (new version)
    6. Black Rain
    7. One Planet, One People
    8. Rocking Chair
    9. Tear Down The Walls
    10. Love Doesn't Live Here Anymore
    11. The Winter Of Our Love
    12. Voodoo
    13. Where Are We Now
  • Tracks (Euro Version):
    1. Love Doesn't Live Here Anymore
    2. Tear Down The Walls
    3. The Winter Of Our Love
    4. Black Rain
    5. Heavy Weather
    6. One Planet, One People
    7. Maniac (new version)
    8. The Life Of My Broken Heart
    9. Where Are We Now
    10. Rub The Stone
    11. Voodoo
    12. What You Really Want (new version)
    13. Burn It Up (new version)





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