In Japan I am known as “Ganko” Alan. Ganko means stubborn in Japanese.
(形) 強情な; 意固地な; 断固とした; 粘り強い
I am very reasonable with labels at first and listen to suggestions but ultimately I follow my instincts about musical direction.
Below is the back of my album “Alone In Tokyo” (on Atlantic 1970), all in Japanese. I was the first male signing to Atlantic records Japan in history. It has recently been re-issued:
My album “Merrill 1” (Denon/Columbia) - I wrote all the songs and did all the vocals and harmonies and played most of the instruments:
When I was “In Coventry” (grey listed) with the major labels in japan
I did sessions for other people, playing on their recordings. (below)
I have usually been right. Here is the story in three parts.
You Tube clips below-
Part One, the early years-
Part two- Rock ‘n roller coaster-
Part Three, the indie years-
Below recording the “Tokyo New York” album (EMI) with my band Vodka Collins. I left Japan during the recording in a dispute over money and it was released unfinished as I left it, and was still a chart hit! I was the lead singer, lead guitarist and songwriter.
Tokyo-New York by Vodka Collins has been re-issued by EMI as recently as November 2011. I still am unpaid for this album I created. They should have paid me back then, I would have made it an even better album had I stayed. But then there would have been no Arrows in England, a chart hit band I started there in 1974 as a result of my leaving Japan over the money dispute. They (Vodka Collins’ management) could have at least given me enough to pay my rent in Tokyo. I would have stayed. But then there would have been no classic “I Love Rock N Roll” by the Arrows (a song I wrote and recorded in 1975 in the UK with Mickie Most producing) and a swath of rock 'n roll history would have been altered a bit -
(photo below from Shinuhoso fans 1973, a Japanese music magazine)-
Alan Merrill interview on NBC New York in 2011 with host Joey Reynolds talking about “I Love Rock N Roll” and debunking myths. A Youtube clip (below)-
Alan Merrill 1975 at the Rainbow Theater London singing lead on the original “I Love Rock N Roll” live with The Arrows (Below)-