Hiroshi "Monsieur" Kamayatsu, 78, who was a member of seminal ’60s Japanese rock band The Spiders, died March 1 of liver cancer at a Tokyo hospital.


Photo: public domain

The Spiders - 1966 photo from a visit to the Netherlands. 

Kamayatsu joined the Spiders in the early ’60s as a guitarist and vocalist. The band was one of the early practitioners of what would eventually be called "group sounds," a melding of Beatles-esque rock and traditional Japanese pop.

They went on to become one of the biggest acts of the ’60s with hits like "Ban Ban Ban" and "Ano Toki Kimi wa Wakakatta" ("You Were Young Back Then").

Kamayatsu became a solo act when the band broke up and was famous for his shag-hairstyle wigs, which he wore until the day he died. He often had hits with songs written for him by some of Japan's most esteemed songwriters.

However, in the last few decades he was mainly known as a TV personality who appeared on numerous talk and variety shows.