• Kyodo


Boy band phenomenon SMAP will release a greatest hits album on Dec. 21, just 10 days before the now-aging outfit disbands, the group’s record company said Wednesday.

The three-CD boxed album, called “SMAP 25 YEARS,” will comprise around 50 songs selected by fans through an online vote, Victor Entertainment Corp. said. The group has released about 400 tracks since its first CD hit the stores in 1991.

The voting opened early Wednesday and ends on Oct. 4.

SMAP will also release Blu-ray and DVD versions of its music video and live clip collection on Dec. 28, Victor said.

However, it has no plans to release a new song.

The group caused a media frenzy in January when the news of their potential breakup surfaced. Band members said they would stick together at that time.

At the time, fans launched a campaign to express their support by purchasing CDs of 2003 hit “Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana” (The Only Flower in the World), the group’s best-known song, and pushed it to No. 1 again on the charts.

In August, talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. said that SMAP will break up on Dec. 31 and that members Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Goro Inagaki and Shingo Katori will focus on solo careers from next year. It said they will remain with the management agency.

The original six-member SMAP, which stands for Sports Music Assemble People, was formed in 1988. One member left in 1996 to pursue a career as a motorbike racer.

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