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Remembering Ryuichi Sakamoto, a godfather of electronic pop, who died at 71

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The composer and producer Ryuichi Sakamoto has died. He was 71 and had a long fight with cancer. Whether you've heard of him or not, he influenced the music you've heard because he was one of the first to incorporate electronic production into popular songs.

(SOUNDBITE OF RYUICHI SAKAMOTO'S "MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE")

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Sakamoto studied classical music before making a name for himself in the pop and electronic genres. The Oscar and Grammy Award winner collaborated with David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Bernardo Bertolucci.

(SOUNDBITE OF RYUICHI SAKAMOTO'S "RAIN")

INSKEEP: He also worked with the hip-hop producer Flying Lotus, who told NPR that one of the first pieces that turned him on to Sakamoto is called "Rain."

FLYING LOTUS: It's still the beautiful and classical vibe. It still had this kind of hip-hop sensibility to it.

INSKEEP: He kept working until the end. Ryuichi Sakamoto released his 15th solo album this year, even while undergoing cancer treatment.

(SOUNDBITE OF RYUICHI SAKAMOTO'S "RAIN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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