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Flower Travellin’ Band




Flower Travellin’ Band (フラワー・トラベリン・バンド, Furawā Toraberin Bando) is a Japanese heavy psych outfit that was first active in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1] They reunited in 2007. Vocalist Joe Yamanaka died on August 7, 2011 after a battle with lung cancer.[2]

The band was initially started as a side-project by Yuya Uchida when he returned to Japan after visiting his friend John Lennon in England in the mid 60s, where he was introduced to various upcoming artists such as Cream and Jimi Hendrix. Yuya wanted to introduce a similar sound to the Japanese, and formed the “Flowers” as a cover band with various group sounds musicians, and two vocalists; male singer Chiba Hiroshi and female singer Remi Aso.[3] They released the album Challenge! in 1968, featuring covers of songs by Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company, in addition to an original song. The cover caused a stir in the Japanese media as it depicted each member posing naked.

In 1969, after the release of the album; Remi Aso and guitarist Katsuhiko Kobayashi relocated to the United States. Later that year, Yuya dropped all the remaining members, except George Wada, and recruited Hideki Ishima, Joe Yamanaka and Jun Kobayashi, and formed the Flower Travellin’ Band as a way to produce and explore a new musical direction outside his own career. Their first release was the mini-album Anywhere in 1970, made to emulate the Flowers’ release by means of cover songs and a nude cover. Their first original album Satori was being produced that same year, and was released in 1971.

They became friends with the Canadian band Lighthouse and in December relocated to Toronto, Canada, where they performed with artists such as Dr. John and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. While there they recorded their second original album Made in Japan and signed a deal with Atlantic Records. They returned to Japan for a show at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, and in 1973 were billed to perform with the Rolling Stones throughout their Japanese tour, however all concerts were canceled when Mick Jaggers visa was rejected due to a drug conviction. Rescheduling, they released a half-studio, half-live album titled Make Up and in April performed at Maruyama Park in Kyoto.

It would be their last concert, as at this time Yuya became involved in numerous projects and the band went on a long hiatus, with each member going onto individual careers. Joe Yamanaka recorded numerous solo albums, and collaborated with the iconic reggae band The Wailers in the 1980s. Guitarist Hideki Ishima moved to India and studied the sitar under Indian classical musician Pandit Manilal Nag, and in 2000 invented the sitarla, which combines the qualities of a solid-body electric guitar and the sitar.[4]

On November 25, 2007, the members officially reunited and formally recruited keyboardist Nobuhiko Shinohara, who had previously worked with the band. In 2008, 35 years after their last, they released the album We Are Here. In March 2010, future tours and productions were halted when it was announced that Joe was diagnosed with lung cancer.[2] Joe died from his cancer on August 7, 2011 at the age of 64.[2]




as Yuya Uchida and the Flowers

  • Challenge! (1968)
  • “Last Chance” b/w “Flower Boy” (1969) – Single.
  • “Flower Boy” b/w “Last Chance” (1969) – Single.
  • “Fantastic Girl” b/w “Yogiri no Trumpet” (1969) – Single.

as Flower Travellin’ Band

  • “Crash” b/w “Dhoop” (1970) – Single recorded with trumpeter Terumasa Hino, and the first recording credited to Flower Travellin’ Band.
  • Anywhere (1970) – Debut album.
  • Kirikyogen (1970) – With Kuni Kawachi.
  • “Map” b/w “Machine Gun Kelly” (1971) – Split single with Jo Mama.
  • Satori (1971) – First original studio album.
  • “Satori Pt. 1” (1971) – Canada only single.
  • Satori (1971) – Canada only compilation album.
  • Made in Japan (1972) – Second original studio album.
  • Make Up (1973) – Double album, consisting of both live and studio recordings. Featuring keyboardist Nobuhiko Shinohara.
  • Times (1975) – A best-of album.
  • We Are Here (2008) – First album after reuniting without Yuya Uchida.
  • Resurrection (2008) – DVD.

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