Godiego (ゴダイゴ) is a Japanese rock band. They are perhaps best known for performing the song “Monkey Magic” for the 1978 television series “Saiyūki” (西遊記) which was brought over to the United Kingdom as “Monkey”.
◉ Mickie Yoshino (Keyboard, leader)
◉ Yukihide Takekawa (Vocals)
◉ Takami Asano (Guitar)
◉ Steve Fox (Bass)
◉ Tommy Snyder (Drums)
(Snyder were born in Japan, and Fox’s mother is Japanese).
♪ Monkey Magic ♪ (1978)
People outside of Japan who have heard Godiego‘s music would most likely be in the UK, Australia, South Africa, China mainly because of the Japanese TV series “MONKEY” (title outside of Japan).
Over their 35 year career, Godiego released 25 singles and 55 albums in Japan, with lyrics written variably in Japanese and English by long time collaborator lyricist Yoko Narahashi.
♪ Gandhara ♪ (1978)
Godiego was also known in China as the first rock group to ever perform there (in 1980) and, the concert was broadcast live on TV “locally”(though they did say that 90-100 million people watched it!).
They were the first rock band to play in the People’s Republic of China and Nepal, and inspired the name for the band Monkey Majik (the group’s original drummer was British and watched the show as a child).
♪ Beautiful Name ♪ (1979)
(Chris Hart cover version)
Godiego was founded by Mickie Yoshino… something he envisioned while a student at Berklee School Of Music, in Boston, Mass. He returned to Japan, eventually forming the group in 1976.
♪ THE GALAXY EXPRESS 999 ♪ (1979)
Steve Fox left the band in the middle of the band’s golden era because he converted to Christianity, as he felt that he had to make a serious commitment with his faith.
From the 1980s to the 1990s, Fox engaged in missionary work in Japan and Hawaii, and he broadcast an evangelistic radio program. In 1999, Steve Fox rejoined Godiego.
♪ Holy and Bright ♪ (1979)
(Glory Gospel Singers cover)
“When I was six I secretly wanted to be a pop singer. When I was thirteen I formed a copy band of The Beatles. At that time I had a dream that we would be a worldwide famous band.”
Singer-songwriter Yukihide Takekawa’s dream for worldwide success came true after Godiego, the band he fronted and helped formed in 1975, released the album “Magic Monkey”.
“Monkey” first aired in Japan in 1978 and was comically dubbed into English a year later and became a huge success with audiences in England, Australia and New Zealand.
The album went to the top of the charts in Japan and established Godiego as being the most popular group in the country at that time, a string of hits followed and some chart success overseas.
For many music lovers in the West, Godiego was the band that introduced them to J-Pop — they remain a national treasure.
🔴 Is it true you started to play your first instrument, violin, when you were just five years old?
Yes it is. My brothers played piano at that time so my father chose a different instrument for me.
🔴 How and when was Godiego formed?
In early 1975 my first solo album, “Passing Pictures”, was released. On this album all songs were written and sung in English.
Mickie Yoshino, who was going to be the leader of Godiego, came back from the US to Japan in the middle of 1974, met me and played six songs on piano and also arranged two songs on my album.
After that he formed a support band for me and toured five or six concerts around Japan. Steve Fox (Bass) and Takami Asano (Guitar) then joined his group. In the middle of 1975 we started to record songs for my second album.
At the end of 1975 we decided to create a new group together, Godiego. In 1976 we released my second album as Godiego’s first album. Tommy Snyder (Drums) joined our group in the beginning of 1977.
🔴 Why was the name Godiego chosen and what does it mean?
It was Mickie Yoshino’s idea. He hit upon the name when he was in the U.S.A. He told me the name the first day I met him. He said he found the name from his favourite Japanese historical Emperor, Godaigo.
He changed the spelling from Godaigo to Godiego to put the meaning of Fenix, which is Go-Die-Go.
🔴 In 1984 the band decided to split. What was the reason for this and what persuaded you all to reform in 1999?
In 1984 we didn’t have the reason to get together and create music anymore because we felt we had already made most of the music we could create and economically, we couldn’t keep ourselves as a band.
In 1999 we could afford to get together shortly and were sure that we could create new things.
🔴 What are your fondest memories from the years you were with Godiego?
Ah, the concert in Nepal 1980. I am sure at that time Godiego was one of the greatest band in the world. Though the concert that we held was the first ever concert in Nepal, sixty thousand people came to see us.
All the people who gathered there had never heard rock/pop music before, but they were excited about the show and the music all through the concert.