The roots of The HAPPENINGS FOUR can be traced to a five-piece Latin rock outfit SUNRISE, formed by Kuni KAWACHI (organ, keyboards, voices), Chito KAWACHI (drums, voices), and Pepe YOSHIHIRO (bass, voices) in 1964. Through gigging lots of times in Latin bars or dancing saloons, they could be approved by Mickey CURTIS, who let them appear on stage around Tokyo in 1966. At the same time Tome KITAGAWA (percussion, voices) was recruited and SUNRISE got to be a four-piece band. In the following year they were named The HAPPENINGS FOUR by Toshiro MAYUZUMI, a Japanese ‘new classical music’ composer, and released the debut EP at the end of 1967. As a 'guitar-less’ band, and with marvelously skilled and promising play, they rose to stardom in Japan.
In 1968, the debut album of The HAPPENINGS FOUR “Magical Happenings Tour” was released, which could be much appreciated as a progressive pop one around the Japanese music scene in those days, terribly infested with lots of childish pop bands. In their second album “Classical Elegance BAROQUE 'N’ ROLL” (1969) Kuni KAWACHI arranged traditional pop songs blended with pieces of classic music. Every rock & pops fan was so surprised at this arrangement and technique nobody could shoot out in Japanese rock scene that they stood more and more unrivaled. “The World Of Outsider” (1970) showed more serious, more political soundscape and lyrics in collaboration with Nobuhiko SHINOHARA, a keyboardist making their musical viewpoint more aggressive and more progressive, and Osamu KITAYAMA, a songwriter and a psychiatrist. After this album released, Kuni KAWACHI and his 'flowery’ friends - Joe YAMANAKA and Hideki ISHIMA - started their project named KUNI KAWACHI TO KARE NO TOMODACHI and released their one and only album “Kirikyogen” (1970).
In 1971 The HAPPENINGS FOUR were at the peak of their activity and popularity. Besides gigging on many stages and festivals, they released “Hikishio Michishio” (1971), much appreciated as one of the most progressive and conceptual Japanese rock albums around early 70s. Kuni played an active role for writing and composing almost all songs in this album, and his extreme activity might bear a bit of friction with the other members - sad to say, The HAPPENINGS FOUR were disbanded in 1972.
However, their progressive spirits never die. Kuni, Chito, Pepe, and Tome finally came together for the restart of The HAPPENINGS FOUR in 2001 - 30 years later. They released the fifth album “Happening A Go Go” in 2005. …..~
The history of Happenings Four is an important one, despite their musical contributions to the Group Sounds scene being mainly disappointing and trite. For they were one of the few bands with the guts to try to break the GS mould and bring something new on board. They began in 1964 as a quintet named Sunrise, and were led by brothers Kuni and Chito Kawachi, on organ and percussion respectively. Playing a Latin based rock, Sunrise was completed by bassist Pepe Yoshihiro, percussionist Pedoro Umemura and guitarist Hiroshi Satomi. In 1966, Miki Curtis discovered them and took them to Tokyo, where they signed to the mighty management team Asuka Puro. Vocalist and conga player Tome Kitegawa joined at this time, and they were booked into night clubs and cabaret to develop their act. In 1967, when guitarist Hiroshi left to form Hiroshi Satomi & Ichibanboshi (‘The First Star’), the Kawachi brothers decided to sack percussionist Umemura and changed their name to Happenings Four. Signing to the Watanabe Pro management team, they gained immediate interest because of their novel guitarless line-up. Their debut single was okay, but gained press attention because of its incredible sleeve design, by legendary pop artist Tadanori Yokoo.
In 1968, the second single ‘Kimi No Hitomi O Mitsumete (Looking Into Your Eyes)’ fared better, as did a third ‘Alligator Boogaloo’. Inspired by Miki Curtis’ tendency to ham it up, Happening Four successfully played up to the Japanese cliché with hair in top knots, and kimonos, releasing their debut LP THE MAGICAL HAPPENINGS TOUR in a gorgeous fold out jacket, depicting the members on an 10,000 yen note. In early 1969, Kuna Kawachi offered up his own version of the sounds coming from Britain’s The Nice and Soft Machine with the second album CLASSICAL ELEGANCE : BAROQUE’N’ROLL. This LP contained heavy versions of Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel songs in a sleeve of imaginary bucolic bliss, in which a pink clad and moustachioed Jason King-styled shepherd groover rests upon the roots of ye olde oak tree as his flock of sheep graze quietly in the Bach-ground. Later in ’69, Kawauchi enlisted Nobuhiko Shinohara on keyboards and vocals to boost the prog credentials of the oputfit, who now altered their name to Happenings Four +1. The band split in 1972, whereupon Kawachi recorded commercials, and contributed to the Love Live Life +1 project, as well as recording his classic LP KIRIKYOGEN with members of Flower Travellin’ band. ….Julian Cope ….~
ハプニングス・テーマ (Happenings Theme) 0:59
マジカル・ミステリー・トゥアー (Magical Mystery Tour) 2:33
アリゲーター・ブーガルー (Alligator Boogaloo) 2:15
男と女 (A Man And A Woman) 2:22
東京ブーガルー (Tokyo Boogaloo) 2:20
ザ・ジョーカー (The Joker) 2:27
君の瞳を見つめて (Kimi No Hitomi Wo Mitsumete) 3:06
デイ・トリッパー (Day Tripper) 2:45
ホリディー (Holiday) 2:43
サニーは恋人 (Sunny) 3:34
素敵なブーガルー (Boogaloo, Boogaloo) 2:53
スター・コレクター (Star Collector) 2:12
あなたが欲しい (I Want You) 3:04