During the early years of my time in Ichikawa, my ears were inundated with that particular studio's synth sound via groups like globe and TRF and artists such as Ayumi Hamasaki（浜崎あゆみ）. The band known as Every Little Thing was another member of that big Avex fraternity/sorority. Guitarist Ichiro Ito（伊藤一朗）started out in show business by playing around Yokota Air Base performing cover tunes by bands like Van Halen. Years later, producer/keyboardist Mitsuru Igarashi（五十嵐充）of Avex Trax was looking for a female vocalist to join him in a duo when he came across a demo tape sent in by teenager Kaori Mochida（持田香織）. Oddly enough, Mochida had already been a veteran in the geinokai appearing as a child actress in various commercials and magazine shoots before becoming a member of the aidoru group The Kuro Buta All Stars (another member would also have her 15 minutes of fame in the form of Tomomi Kahala) and then releasing her very first solo single in 1993, "Mou Ichido" （もう一度...One More Time). Igarashi was impressed with Mochida's "...strong yet sweet voice..." (thanks Wikipedia for the above info) and signed her up; he then brought in the aforementioned Ito who was working as a studio receptionist to help out on this new unit's first single. Thus ELT was born with their first single, "Feel My Heart" in August 1996; it did quite well as a debut, peaking at No. 24 on Oricon.
The first song I heard by the unit was "Dear My Friend" probably via the show "Countdown TV" where I came across a lot of the Avex Trax hits. I wouldn't classify it as an out-and-out dance song but it had that energy from Ito and Igarashi, plus Mochida's voice which was enough for me to go on a reconnaissance mission to track down the single. And truth be told, Ms. Mochida wasn't too bad to look at as well in the video. I had a bit of an issue with the syntactically skewed title, but that was just the English teacher in me.;)
"Dear My Friend" was ELT's 3rd single, released in January 1997. Written and composed by Igarashi, it was the band's first Top 10 hit, peaking at No. 9 and earning a Japanese Record Award as well as hitting Platinum status with nearly half a million copies sold. The single was also a track on ELT's first album, "Everlasting", released in April of that year, and seemed to fulfill the meaning of the title by lasting on the Oricon charts for 59 weeks. It was a great inaugural hit for the group as it hit No. 1 and was the 10th-ranked album of the year with over 2 million sold.
Of course, this was only the beginning for Every Little Thing.
|Every Little Thing -- Dear My Friend|