COLOUR: Black EXTRAS: Record Store Day 2023
Happy End is the third and final album by Japanese folk rock band Happy End. It was recorded in Los Angeles, produced by Van Dyke Parks and features several American session musicians such as Lowell George and Bill Payne of the band Little Feat.
One of the most influential bands to come out of the ’60s-’70s Tokyo folk and rock scene, Happy End was a deliberate attempt to marry the sounds of West Coast rock with a distinctively Japanese sensibility. Formed by Haruomi Hosono and the similarly music-obsessed Eiichi Ohtaki in 1969, the group was rounded out by teen guitar phenom Shigeru Suzuki and poet-drummer Takashi Matsumoto, whose stylized lyrics provided the foundation for the concept of the “Kazemachi,” or “Wind City,” a rapidly modernizing city with nostalgia towards the simpler life of their youth. Happy End were heavily in demand as a backing band, providing a solid rock foundation for many of the artists on URC.
The success of Happy End’s debut album, as well as their following album Kazemachi Roman, proved the sustainability of Japanese-language rock in Japan.