47: Vow Wow – Don’t Leave Me Now (Atsumi/Wetton/Pearson) b/w Nightless City (Yamamoto/Pashby) 1987

Long before Dir en grey launched their bid for worldwide domination fellow countrymen Vow Wow were deadly serious about hitting the hard rock heights. And when the Japanese band took the decision to relocate to London in the late 80s – and snap up ex-Whitesnake bass player Neil Murray in the process – they came pretty close to doing just that!

This lead single from the excellent album V proved Vow Wow were more than a gimmick and the guest appearance of John Wetton made the whole project even more appealing.

Released as a seven-inch poster bag, the fold out shot sees Murray flanked by his new band mates atop a roof of flats in a moody pose – looking slightly less angry than South East Asia’s answer to 80s hair metal Genki Hitomi. But it was when the band’s charismatic singer – and the man responsible for their Zeppelin-esque sound – decided to quit to start a family in 1990 that Vow Wow imploded. But only after their rocking version of Helter Skelter took them even closer to the brink of a major league breakthrough.

Perhaps Hitomi sensed the shift towards grunge earlier than most or maybe he never signed up for the full-on rockstar lifestyle. Even so, Vow Wow left an impressive legacy in the shape of this and a number of other hard rocking anthems and they have since reformed as Bow Wow – still a crap name but still a band worth watching.