“FLOWERS” ON THE ROCK MUSIC CLUB
The Flowers group has earned its place in history, if only because it has become one of the first musical groups to bring rock to the stage of the Soviet Union. All Soviet non-format within the framework of mass pop culture began precisely with this group. Dozens of famous musicians and several generations of loyal fans grew up on the work of “Flowers”.
Influenced by Woodstock
Rock group “Flowers” appeared in 1969 thanks to the efforts of the student of the Institute of Foreign Languages Stas Namin – the grandson of the famous Soviet party leader Anastas Mikoyan. Stas early became interested in rock music, and gathered his first team at the Suvorov School in 1964. The hippie movement could not remain aloof from the creative nature of Namin, and shortly after the legendary festival, Stas Namin’s group “Woodstock”, he founded a group called “Flowers”. Its first participants, except for Stas himself, were fanatically in love with music Vladimir Chugreev, Vladimir Solovyov and vocalist Elena Kovalevskaya. The repertoire of young people at that time consisted mainly of hits by Jefferson Airplane, Janice Joplin and other rock stars.
Soon, in the evening, at one of the metropolitan universities, Stas heard a performance by Alexander Losev’s guitar. Namin liked his vocals so much that he invited him to try himself in Flowers. Then the “personnel” changes took place in the collective – Kovalevskaya and Solovyov left the group, Losev became the bass player, Chugreev played the drum parts, and Namin played the solo guitar.
And immediately to the “black list” …
Stas Namin was a big fan of the music of Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones, Alexander Losev was more inclined to the work of Tom Jones and the Carpenders group, and the appearance in the group of an ardent admirer of Led Zeppelin Yuri Fokin made her even more fateful.
In 1970, Stas went to study at Moscow State University, and the group began performing in the club of the university. Once, the group of Stas Naminaulytsa near the club even had to block traffic, because a huge crowd of fans came to listen to the music of the Flowers. So the name of the group first entered the “black list” of the Ministry of Culture.
Another scandalous incident occurred with the group during the Moscow student festival. “Flowers” performed Jimi Hendrix’s song “Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire”. The audience was so excited that the festival organizers saw for the first time. Frightened by the consequences, the directorate of the Luzhniki Sports Palace, where the performance was held, simply turned off the equipment for Tsvetam. But this did not stop the group from becoming laureates of the festival and getting the right to release a flexible mini-disc.
The first Soviet rock
Stas Namin took this event with the utmost seriousness, invited a professional pianist and arranger. For the first disc, Stas selected three compositions (“My clear star”, “No need” and “Flowers have eyes”), which could be performed in such a way as to demonstrate that rock music whose group Stas Namin had not yet been heard on the Soviet stage .
The first record of “Flowers” appeared in the fall of 1972. Namin and Fokin specially went to the factory to see her before she goes on sale. The musicians’ surprise knew no bounds when one of the workers handed them a record. In life, the hair of Stas and Yuri was lower than the shoulders, and on the cover the retoucher “cut” them. But this did not diminish the joy and pride experienced by the band members. Unexpectedly for many, the record sold 7 million copies, and songs sounded from all windows. Although this did not help the team say goodbye to the semi-underground status of a student group. Radio and TV did not want to recognize the already popular manner of performing “Flowers.” As before, the guys had to speak only at student parties.
After a long-term ban in the media, the attitude of the authorities towards the group became a little more loyal. And in 1980, the musicians were able to release the first solo album “Anthem to the Sun.” Then they participated in the cultural program of the Moscow Olympics-80 and they were first shown on TV. Stas Namin’s group Taking advantage of the situation, the group created two more experimental albums, not similar to their style. The first was a dance with the name “Reggae, Disco, Rock”, and the second (“Surprise for Monsieur Legrand”) was released in French and sounded in the style of symphonic jazz. Stas Namin gradually began to restore the former name of the group, printing it in small print near the already promoted “Stas Namin Group”.
In the days of the Moscow festival of youth and students, despite the bans of the Ministry of Culture, the Stas Namin Group managed to organize several illegal performances and record an album with the participation of foreign musicians who arrived at the event. The reaction of the authorities did not keep waiting. “Flowers” were accused of propaganda of the Pentagon and even of unauthorized contacts with foreigners. The recorded album, of course, was banned in the USSR. But in 1986, the authorities had to publish it in a limited edition for exclusive export under a special UN order.