Writing about ZARD is not any easy task since a great deal of information about the band is simply unknown by outsiders. Take for example the members of ZARD: all we know for certain is that Ms. Izumi Sakai is one of them. It is rumored that other members have left the band in an early stage. Another puzzle is ZARD’s preference for not performing on any of the popular music shows on television, except for some appearances in the beginning of their career. Some things, however, have changed in the last few years: ZARD gave their first ever live concert in August 1999, and ZARD’s official Fan Club makes ZARD more accessible. But I’m getting ahead of the story now – let’s start from the beginning.
The Beginning (1991-1992)
ZARD started with five members: Izumi Sakai (vocalist, lyricist), Fumito Machida (guitar), Hiroyasu Hoshi (bass), Kimitaka Ikezawa (keyboard), Kohsuke Michikura (drums). They made their début in 1991 with the single “Good-bye My Loneliness”. The single spent several weeks on the charts and soon ZARD followed this success with their first original album “Good-bye My Loneliness” titled after the single. Although you couldn’t say the début single and album is embraced by the great mass of the people living in Japan, it still has reached a decent amount of listeners and perhaps has laid the first foundation of ZARD’s fan base that will grow immensely in the next few couple of years.
ZARD released two more singles and an album in 1991, but it wasn’t until August 1992 that they had their first major hit with their fourth single “Nemurenai Yoru wo Daite”. The single sold extremely well and this led to the release of their third album “Hold Me” just a month later. A brilliant move, since “Hold Me” is ZARD’s first CD that topped over one million copies sold and reached number two in the charts. With such obvious popularity ZARD started to attract attention, and many music shows on television asked ZARD to perform. This was the period where the band did perform publicly on television and in a short period of time they performed in one show after another. But what we didn’t know was that these shows would be the last we would ever see from ZARD.
ZARD concluded the year 1992 with their fifth single “In My Arms Tonight”, but this didn’t equal their previous single in terms of sales.
One thing worth noting is that in the CD releases up to the fifth single, credits are given to the other members of ZARD besides Ms. Sakai (there is even a group photo included in ZARD’s second album). After this release, the names of other ZARD band members haven’t been mentioned. Perhaps this is a small indication of when the other members have left the band?