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はっぴいえんど [Happy End]

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Artist Name
はっぴいえんど [Happy End]

Happy End (Japanese: ハッピー・エンド) is a Japanese folk rock band formed in 1969 by singer-songwriter Eiichi Ōtaki and Shigeru Suzuki. It was one of the earliest Japanese bands to embrace the folk-rock sound and its single "Kōfukuno Sekai" (meaning "A Profound World") was the first folk-rock song to openly refer to the Vietnam War.

The band was formed in 1969 by Eiichi ÅŒtaki and Shigeru Suzuki when both were students at the Technical High School of Kyoto. ÅŒtaki and Suzuki began playing folk-rock music, fusing traditional Japanese tunes with rock and roll, and soon formed the group Happy End. The lineup also included future star Yuya Uchida on bass and meikitaro on drums.

Happy End's debut song, "Kōfukuno Sekai," was an anti-Vietnam War message and the melody was based on a Japanese folk song. Although their debut album, Kawasaki Warehouse, did not receive much attention, one of the tracks on the album, "Saite Kaeru," gained some attention with its free-flowing lyrics about drinking.

In 1971, they released their second album, Children's Song, which became a bestseller in Japan. The title track was an underground hit, and the album would become their first major success. One of the most popular tracks, "Kazemachi Roman," would be covered by a number of artists, including Eikichi Yazawa.

In 1972, Happy End went on their first tour and released their third album, Natsu Nandesu, which contained the hit song "Bōkenshatachi." The band's following album in 1975, Yes Ou, was a major success and featured their most popular song, "Kaerazu ni Iroha ni Iro," which has been included in karaoke machines all over Japan.

The band's sound evolved further in 1976 with the release of Haru o Mezashite ("Aiming for Spring") which showed a more acoustic sound and incorporated influences from traditional Japanese music.

In 1978, Suzuki left the band and founded Cocodé, a group playing world music. Ōtaki decided to continue Happy End without Suzuki, replacing him with a number of rotating members so that the lineup continued to evolve. The band released a number of albums including Hokkyokusei no Photo ("Photo of the Frozen Planet") in 1980, and Orange Wagon Mini-Album) in 1983.

In 1984, Happy End reunited with founding member Suzuki and released the album Deguchi ni Ikou ("Let's Go Towards the Exit") which featured their most information about classic albums, including re-recordings of their earlier hits.

ÅŒtaki continued releasing a number of solo albums from 1989 to 2006, including the single "Owarinaki Tabi" ("Endless Journey"), and the 2-disc compilation album History of Happy End in 2004.

Happy End reunited for a number of live performances in 2007, and released the album Egongaku Hikkoshi ("Classical Music Moving") in 2008. The band celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2009 with a series of live concerts and the release of their greatest hits album Natsu/Haru/Aki ("Summer/Spring/Autumn").

In 2014, Happy End reunited with Suzuki, Uchida, and meikitaro and released their 20th album, Inui/Shiki ("Crops and Four Seasons"), and embarked on a tour that year with Bump of Chicken.

Happy End continues to record and perform live. They continue to display a unique style of Japanese folk-rock, expertly mixing traditional Japanese music with rock and roll. The band have influenced a whole generation of bands, and remain highly respected as one of Japan's longest running independent bands.