April Fool’s Day Special Edition: The Spiders: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 1, 2022

401) The Spiders — “Day Tripper”

Joe Cocker, please step aside. Richie Havens, please sit down. Noel and Liam, please get outta here and bicker somewhere else. Elton, stage left (Happy birthday, though!). Today, I am featuring the greatest cover version of a Beatles song ever recorded — “Day Tripper” by the Spiders. And I’m not talking about the Spiders from Mars — these Spiders were from Japan.

Nostalgia Central tells us that:

The Spiders were formed in Japan in 1961 . . . and originally played a mix of Jazz, Country & Western and traditional Japanese music in clubs and at US Army bases. . . . By 1964, with handsome teenager Jun Inoue now on-board as lead vocalist, The Spiders turned their attention to British Beat music . . . . In January the following year, they were chosen as the opening act for The Astronauts and The Ventures during their Japanese appearances, and in April they backed Peter and Gordon. Elsewhere in 1965, they supported The Animals, The Honeycombs and the Beach Boys during their Japanese tours. The Spiders were also offered the support slot for The Beatles in 1966 but turned it down as they had been often criticised in Japan for simply being Beatles-imitators. The Spiders became popular guests on Japanese television and radio shows . . . . [They] release[d] their debut album . . . in April 1966. All tracks . . . were original compositions, cementing their place as Japan’s premier beat band. One month later they also released an album of cover versions of songs by The Beatles, The Animals and Chuck Berry . . . [T]he band toured Europe in October and November. They appeared on European radio and TV programs, played at the Star Club in Hamburg, and appeared on Ready, Steady, Go! . . . In January 1967 The Spiders released their third album . . . including a track called Narebaii – arguably the first Japanese psychedelic song . . . and in March they released . . . one of first singles to feature a fuzzbox. They also played in Hawaii in June, but this was unfortunately to be the only opportunity the band ever had to play on American soil. Further successful domestic singles followed . . . but by 1969 the Beat Boom in Japan was over. . . . By January 1971 The Spiders were no more.

https://nostalgiacentral.com/music/artists-l-to-z/artists-s/spiders/

UKC says:

Amongst the things that set the Spiders apart from other [Group Sounds]* GS bands was that their style was a bit more frenzied, and they often danced and clowned around while playing.  The Spiders became the premiere GS band . . . . [I]nspired by the Beatles, the Spiders made four Help! like movies . . . .

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/culture_bunker/another_side_of_monkey_-_the_spiders-209924

Richie Unterberger adds that:

Like many non-English-speaking nations, Japan generated many bands playing in the British Invasion style, and the Spiders were among the first and foremost. . . . Singing in both Japanese and fractured English, their sound was heavily imitative of American and particularly British groups, mixing in some California vocal group harmony and psychedelic influences. . . . What attracts cultists to their records . . . is a peculiar manic intensity found in much of their work . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-spiders-mn0000936401

* “The term ‘Group Sounds’ . . . was coined . . . after a huge buzz was created by the Beatles, but the term ‘rock’n’roll’ with multiple L’s and R’s was thought to be too difficult for most Japanese people to pronounce.”

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Here is a wild live version from ’68:

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