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Monday, 11 May 2009

David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto - Forbidden Colours

In 1983 Sylvian and Sakamoto teamed up again on the ‘Forbidden Colours’ single, which was the theme song to the Nagisa Osima film ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’. Sakamoto composed the theme music while sylvian wrote the lyrics.

The title of the song and its lyrics reflect the main themes of the movie; the clashes between not only two countries at war but also two vastly different cultures, difficulties on both sides in accepting or even trying to understand the differences in mentality, the contrasting definitions of honour and shame, as well as the underlying homoerotic tension between the two main characters, Japanese Captain Yonoi (played by Sakamoto himself) and British war prisoner Jack Celliers (David Bowie), and the fine line between love and hate and consequently life and death - hence my love wears forbidden colours.

In 1984 the track was re-recorded and released as the B-side to "Red Guitar", the lead single to Sylvian's first solo album Brilliant Trees and was later also included as a bonus track on certain editions of his 1987 album Secrets of the Behive. Both Sakamoto and Sylvian have since recorded several interpretations of the song, both instrumental (under the title "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence") and vocal. An orchestral version featuring vocals by Sylvian was included on Sakamoto's 1999 album Cinemage.

Formats and Traclisting

UK 7" Virgin Records VS 601 & 7" pic disc VSY 601

1. "Forbidden Colours" – 4:42
2. "The Seed and the Sower" (instrumental) (Sakamoto) – 5:00

UK 12" Virgin Records VS 601-12
1. "Forbidden Colours" – 4:42
2. "The Seed and the Sower" (instrumental) (Sakamoto) – 5:00
3. "Last Regrets" (instrumental) (Sakamoto) – 2:40

UK 3" CD Virgin Records CDT 18 (released 1988)
1. "Forbidden Colours" - 4.42
2. "Bamboo Houses" - 5.26
3. "Bamboo Music" - 5.38

Click on the link to download the following:

Video - Full Version
Forbidden Colours
  • 12 inch Version MP3
  • Extended Accoustic Version MP3
  • Live Version
  • Soundtrack Album Version
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawerence

  • Piano Version
  • Soundtrack Album Version

Last Regrets (instrumental) 12 inch
The Seed and the Sower (instrumental) 12 inch


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