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From Left: Takako Uehara, Hiroko Shimabukuro, Eriko Imai, and Hitoe Arakaki
The most popular jpop group of all times: SPEED! Be sure to check out their individual profiles! Here's a recap of their history.
SPEED are Hiroko Shimabukuro, Eriko Imai, Takako Uehara, and Hitoe Arakaki.
They came from Okinawan Actors School (OAS) where other famous Japanese singers, such as Amuro Namie, MAX, Da Pump, Chinen Rina, etc. came from. They made their break when they were invited, around November 1995, when they were selected from an audition by RISE Productions to appear regularly as backup vocalists and dancers on a local Saturday night show called "THE Your mo HIPPARE". From there on, they took off in a brand new career.
At that time, they even haven't got an official name for their group. Then on December 2, 1995 they officially use the name "SPEED".
(The name SPEED was selected from a nationwide survey that was broadcast on TV. It was Eriko and Takako who eventually decided on the name SPEED!) SPEED is a great name indeed, for this band has made it to the top quickly. As a newcomer in the Japan music industry they realized that it needs hardwork if they want to survive.They choose pop music mixed with hip-hop (at that time in Japan, hip-hop was not the trend). But they kept trying and trying.
* Slowly but sure the audience starts to recognize them (esp. the teens). SPEED started to took part in TV shows, radio show, stage show, commercial breaks,etc.
* They released their 1st and 2nd single :
05 August 1st single - "Body & Soul"(800,000 copies)
08 November 2nd single - "STEADY" (1,500,000 copies)
* October 13, 1996 radio program "HI-SPEED-DE-IKOU!!" start.
* In just 4 months time , Speed received their first award, Rookie of the Year award in the "29th Nihon-yusen award" on December 6, 1996 and to end the birth year of SPEED with style, Rookie of the Year award of the "38th Nihon-RECORD award" was presented to them on the last day of the year.
* March 3 : "34th Gorden-Arrow award", got the Music Rookie of the year award.
* They promoted their 3rd single March 26 3rd single - Go!Go!Heaven! (1,000,000 copies)
* On the same month, they were chosen as one of the Best Five New Artist at "11th Nihon-Gord-Disc award"(March 5) and their official fans club called "SPEED SPIRITS" was opened.
* They also launched their 1st photo album ("SPEED") in April 25, and their first album on May 21 : 1st album - "Starting Over" (2,500,000 copies)
* They did their 1st live show on July 30 & 31 which is "SPEED First Live - Starting Over from Odaiba".
* Their 4th single was released : 06 August 4th single - "Wake Me Up"
* In October they released their 5th single ,which is also the legendary song for SPEED lovers : 15 October 5th single - "White Love" (2,000,000 copies)
* On November 19, 1st video, "SPEED First Live Starting Over from ODAIBA", is released (the LD ver. was released on December 21).
* November 29, in "30th Nihon-YUSENHOSO award", get the "YOSHIDA TADASHI" award.
* On December 22, "SPEED Interactive Live in Christmas" in ODAIBA, Tokyo.
* On December 31 : in "30th Nihon-Record-Sales award", get the golden second best award. "39th Nihon-Record award", get the excellent award. They enter the "48th Kohaku-Utagassen".
* On March 4, in "12th Nihon-Gold-Disc award", get the "BEST POP ALBUM OF THE YEAR" award.
* This year they released their singles such as : 18 February 6th Single - My Graduation (1,750,000 copies) 01 July 7th Single - Alive (1,320,000 copies) 28 October 8th Single - All My True Love (1,600,000 copies)
29 April 2nd Album - RISE (3,000,000 copies)
16 December 3rd Album - Moment (3,040,000 copies)
* Plus the released of their 2nd video on March 18 :"SPEED Spirits"
* On August 5 they released their first movie, a romantic science fiction - Andromedia.
* On October 9, they held their first biggest tour "SPEED TOUR 1998 RISE"
* On November 14, Their 2nd photo book, "SPEED YES, LOVE make a rising", is released.
* This year was considered as the beginning of their break up.
* They released the 3rd video "TOUR RISE" on January 20.
* They released their singles :
17 February 9th Single - Precious Time (820,000 copies)
19 May 10th Single - Breakin'Out to the morning
05 August Soundtrack - Andromedia
03 November 11th Single - Long Way Home
* They also started their solo career in drama and music.
Hiro acted in a drama called Heaven's Kiss. Hitoe and Eriko both acted in a drama called LxIxVxE in which Hitoe plays the saxophone and Eriko plays the flute ! * That year they did 7 concerts started on January 9 with "SPEED NEW YEAR TOUR", on July 16 "SPEED TOUR '99 REAL LIFE",etc.
* After that in August they did the "Dream Live in MARINE STADIUM '99" with MAX and DA PUMP (one of the member, Issa, was Takako's boyfriend-but now they have broke up).
* On December 22, they released the new album 22 December 4th album - Carry on my way
* On the same month Takako acted in a movie called Dreamaker (December 23).
* We can say that this year was SPEED year, because there was many SPEED merchandise and also the media made their articles (news, live interview, etc.)
* They also launched their books, photo albums ( such as RUNS, OUR GRADUATION ), 2 memorial albums on February and March, etc.
* And also videos such as : SPEED Final Dome Tour - REAL LIFE on March 1, SPEED Spirits II on September 27, SPEED Spirits Complete DVD on December 20
* Finally, sadly on March 31, SPEED disbanded. In the press conference they announced something which is no one could have been ready for. Speed announced that they are disbanding from March 31, 2000. The main reason given by Speed and their reps during the conference was so each member could do their own solo work. Except Hitoe who is planning to go to New York to study English and illustrating (drawing).
SPEED members Hiro, Imai Eriko, Uehara Takako & HITOE have decided to regroup for a short time in order to raise money for the poor & needy children of China. Therefore, they have joined the 'Save the Children' charity activity and announced to start a nation wide tour in October 2003!
If you have any pictures of SPEED, please send it to us and we'll credit you for it. Talk about SPEED in our friendly discussion forum!
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