Genres:Pop rock, alternative rock, post-punk (early)
Labels:Night Gallery, Danger Crue, Ki/oon, Tofu (US), Gan-Shin (EU)
Members:Hyde, Tetsuya, Ken, Yukihiro
Past members:Hiro, Pero, Sakura
L'Arc-en-Ciel ("The Rainbow" in French, stylized as L'Arc~en~Ciel) is a Japanese rock band that was founded in 1991 in Osaka. The group has sold over 15 million albums, 16 million singles, and millions of merchandise, including videos.In 2003, they were ranked 58 on a list of the top 100 Japanese pop musicians by HMV Japan. While they first got their start as a visual kei band, they have not had any association with the movement since their major label debut in 1994.
In February 1991, bassist tetsuya (then known as TETSU) recruited vocalist hyde (then known as HIDE), guitarist HIRO and drummer PERO. Together, they formed a band and named themselves L'Arc-en-Ciel. A year later, after gaining popularity in their hometown of Osaka, HIRO left the band on June 12, 1992. tetsuya then convinced his friend ken to quit his university studies and join the band as guitarist. However, PERO then left the group on December 30, 1992. The following year, sakura joined as L'Arc-en-Ciel's new drummer.
On April 1, 1993, the band released their debut album Dune on the independent, but well-known, record label Danger Crue. The album was a success and ranked number one on the Oricon indies charts. This caught the attention of some major labels. In 1994, L'Arc-en-Ciel signed a contract with Sony Music Entertainment Japan's Ki/oon division. They released their major debut album Tierra that same year. Their third album Heavenly followed in 1995. In 1996, their fourth album, True, became their first to sell over a million copies.
L'Arc-en-Ciel's single "Winter Fall", which was released in 1998, became the group's first number one single on the Oricon charts. They subsequently released their album Heart on February 25, 1998. On July 1, 1999, the group released two albums, Ark and Ray, simultaneously. These two albums became the first Japanese albums to be released simultaneously in other Asian countries outside of Japan. Both albums topped the Oricon music charts, with Ark occupying number one and Ray at number two, with each selling over two million copies.
The compilation album Clicked Singles Best 13 was released on March 14, 2001. It includes twelve songs chosen online by the group's fans.It also includes an additional thirteenth song, "Anemone".Their album Real was re-released as a Super Audio CD on July 4, 2001. "Spirit Dreams Inside (Another Dream)", L'Arc-en-Ciel's last new single before their hiatus, was released on September 5, 2001. The English-language version of the title track was adopted as the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within's ending theme song.
In June 2003, L'Arc-en-Ciel performed a series of seven concerts in Tokyo entitled Shibuya Seven Days. During this event, the group announced that a new album will be released the following year. "Ready Steady Go", the group's first single in more than three years, was released in February 2004. This song was used as an opening theme song for the popular anime adaption of Fullmetal Alchemist. The single topped the Oricon weekly singles charts. Additionally, a sample of this song was also used in a Nintendo DS game called Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan.
On January 1, 2011, L'Arc-en-Ciel celebrated both their 20th anniversary and the New Year with the midnight concert L'A Happy New Year! at Makuhari Messe. On February 16, 2011, they released the compilation album Twenity. This album consists of three parts: Twenity 1991-1996, Twenity 1997-1999, and Twenity 2000-2010. A box set entitled Twenity Box was later released on March 9, 2011. The albums are an all-around "best of" collection of the band, and it covers everything from the formation of the group, including their hit singles till to their newest works. Twenity 1991-1996 covers their work from their album Dune until their album True. Twenity 1997-1999 covers the releases from their single "Niji" to the single "Love Flies". Twenity 2000-2010 covers their releases from the double A-side "Neo Universe/Finale" up to their commercial-only song from 2010, a cover of "I Love Rock 'n Roll". The Twenity Box released on March 9 contains all three of the albums in one release. It also comes with a special digest DVD that covers the 20-year history of the band, a deluxe booklet, and a special music box that contains either "Flower", "Anata", "New World" or "My Heart Draws a Dream" at random.
Later, it was announced that L'Arc-en-Ciel would provide the theme song for Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie - The Sacred Star of Milos, entitled "Good Luck My Way". This is their fourth contribution to the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise. The song was released as their first 20th L'Anniversary single on June 29, 2011. To further celebrate their 20 years together, L'Arc-en-Ciel put on a "20th L'Anniversary Concert" at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo on May 28-29, 2011, with each day dedicated to one half of their career. All of the proceeds from the concerts were donated to the Great East Japan Earthquake relief efforts. Additionally, at the end of the concert, it was announced that there will be a L'Anniversary Japan Tour in 2011, as well as a world tour in 2012.
On October 12, the second 20th L'Anniversary single was released, entitled "X X X" (Kiss Kiss Kiss). L'Arc-en-Ciel was subsequently approached by the producers of the Wild 7 live-action film to perform the movie's theme song. Entitled "Chase", the song was released as the group's third L'Anniversary single on December 21, 2011.
A sample selection of L'Arc-en-Ciel's songs:
1998: "Winter Fall" [LIVE]
2001: "Spirit Dreams Inside (Another Dream)" [LIVE]
2004: "Ready Steady Go"
2007: "My Heart Draws a Dream"
2011: "Good Luck My Way"