“Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” is a 1983 instrumental by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto recorded for the film of the same name. The song has become a staple of holiday music in the USA, Britain and Japan. A vocal version, “Forbidden Colours“, features former Japan frontman David Sylvian and charted in the top 20 of the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart.
There is a 12″ vinyl Italo disco cover version on the Italian record label Discomagic named “Clock On 5 – Theme From Furyo” which was released in 1984. In 2000, a re-mix of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence called “Heart of Asia” was released in Europe by dance project Watergate, and it reached number three on the UK Singles Chart and number four in Denmark. In 2004, Croatian pianist Maksim Mrvica included a piano remix of “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” on his third album, Variations Part I&II. Japanese-American R&B artist Utada Hikaru heavily sampled the theme for her 2009 song, “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI” from the album This Is the One.
In 2008, a cover version of “Forbidden Colours” was included on Hollywood Mon Amour, a collection of songs from soundtracks of movies made in the 1980s, rearranged by Marc Collin of Nouvelle Vague with Nadeah Miranda providing the vocals. Also in 2008, UK Hardcore producer Orbit1 remixed the song and called it Heart of Asia – named after the 2000 Watergate remix. It came out on the Hardcore Nation 2009. In 2009, British singer Faryl Smith recorded a version of the song for her album Wonderland, entitled “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (Somewhere Far Away)”.
Part of the song is also pastiched in the theme song to the video game International Karate, written by Rob Hubbard. Japanese post-hardcore band Fact recorded a track by the title Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence on their self-titled album. Tokyo Brass Style, a Japanese Big Band recorded a cover of the title theme for their fifth album, ‘Brass Style Xmas’. Sherwood & Pinch released a version of the song on their 2017 LP Man vs Sofa.
Ryuichi Sakamoto Trio Merry Christmas Mr.Lawrence with sheet music
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