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J Soul Brothers III

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Japanese J-rock collective J Soul Brothers was originally formed in 1999 by musician and producer Hiroyuki Igarashi, usually referred to simply as "Hiro." Before J Soul Brothers, Hiro was a member of another popular J-pop band called Zoo. Zoo disbanded in 1996, and three years later, Hiro resurfaced with J Soul Brothers. This incarnation of the band put out three singles between 1999 and 2001 (one of them, "Follow Me," included a cover of Eurythmics' "(There Must Be an Angel) Playing with my Heart") before the lead singer chose to exit the band. Rather than carrying on with J Soul Brothers, Hiro found new members and rechristened the band EXILE (usually spelled with all capitals). Exile started by recording a reworked version of Zoo's biggest hit "Choo Choo Train," and soon took off as one of the biggest pop acts in Japan. Despite the national success of Exile, however, Hiro still had plans for the J Soul Brothers moniker; he decided to reintroduce the band in 2007. This time, however, he remained in the position of an outside producer and selected seven fresh-faced members for the new version of the group. For a while, Hiro was able to manage both bands simultaneously until around spring 2009, when he came to a rather unexpected solution. During a press conference, the band announced that the new J Soul Brothers decided to officially become a part of Exile, thus making Exile a huge, 14-strong collective which boasted no less than four lead singers. Their first collective single "The Monster"/"Someday" was issued in 2009, and soon after, Exile embarked on a highly successful Japanese tour.

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Years Active:

'90s, '00s