As I mentioned for the first article I did for the band Pornograffitti, "Saudade"（サウダージ）, it's been the hook and Akihito Okano's （岡野昭仁）distinctive vocals that drew me into the group whose name sounds like something that shouldn't be painted on a wall.
Although it wasn't quite on the same level as the great "Saudade" and the super-fun "Music Hour", "Apollo", being the debut single of the Hiroshima group, was the one that introduced all of us to the Pornograffitti sound. The first time I heard the guys through an episode of "Countdown TV", I got a feeling that I hadn't had since I first heard B'z way back when. It wasn't necessarily a feeling that these guys were gonna take over Japan (which they did), but that voice and the somewhat mysterious melody had me thinking.
"Apollo" was released in September 1999 and was also a later track on Pornograffitti's debut album, "Romanticist Egoist"（ロマンチスト・エゴイスト）. Guitarist Haruichi Shindo （新藤晴一）wrote the lyrics and ak.honma took care of the music, and on listening to the lyrics, they were pretty philosophical about how far people had really progressed since the Apollo space missions all the way back in the 1960s. Now that we are well into the 21st century, I sometimes wonder too. But despite Okano and I sounding like a couple of cranky geezers, the song managed to reach No. 5 on Oricon, thanks to support from fans from Hiroshima and publicity through programs like "Music Station" and a tie-up with a variety show. Selling 450,000 copies was nothing to sneeze at, either. It finished on the annual charts as the 63rd-ranked entry...not bad, but better was coming.