From Unearthing The Music
Tsvety (in English The Flowers, Russian: Цветы, "flowers") is a Soviet and Russian rock band, described by Itogi magazine as having "started all Russian alternative culture". It was one of the first bands to introduce rock music to the Soviet show business.
Origins and Soviet Period
Tsvety were established in 1969 by guitar player and songwriter Stas Namin, who chose the name due to his fascination with the flower child hippie movement and the Woodstock festival. The band originally performed at school concerts, becoming popular with the Moscow youth, eventually even securing a television performance. With a rotating cast of musicians, Tsvety stayed active during Namin's university studies, and eventually their first, self-titled single was recorded and released by Melodiya in 1972 - unexpectedly, it sold around seven million copies.
After becoming a major hit in the USSR, in 1974 the band went on its first professional tour; but in 1975, feeling overworked by constant touring, the band dissolved as a result of a conflict with the Philharmonic Society which managed their career, and it was liquidated by a decree of the Ministry of Culture of the USSR, with their name being banned. It was only in 1977 that the band reformed under a new name, The Stas Namin Group. In 1978 the band went on tour despite still being banned by all central mass media outlets.
In 1980, during the years of the Olympic Thaw, the band managed to release a solo album with Melodiya – Hymn to the Sun – and participate in a TV show, after which they were once again banned after an enthusiastic review of the band's music in Time Magazine.
In 1985, the band performed at Moscow's "Festival of Youth and Students". During the festival, the Stas Namin Group also managed to record their new double album with the participation of some of their friends playing at the festival - foreign musicians. The official reaction to the band's success at the festival was a decree by the board of the Ministry of Culture, accusing Tsvety of “Pentagon propaganda” and “unauthorized contacts with foreigners”. However, in 1987, the album "We wish you happiness!" was released by Melodiya.
The period of bans and persecution that lasted up to 1986 ended with Perestroika, which simplified matters for the band: Returning to their original name, Tsvety went on tour, performed abroad in Western countries and completed a world tour in four years. In 1990 the band ceased its activities remaining inactive for almost ten years. They reformed in 1999 and recorded and released more albums, up until their farewell tour in 2015.
By the end of 80s the Soviet monopolist record label Melodiya had sold over sixty million copies of Tsvety records, but neither Stas Namin, nor the band members received any royalties from these sales. Namin wrote most of the Tsvety songs. Many of them were banned, but those which were released became national hits. His song Happiness was a No. 1 hit for three years during the 80s, and even now it remains one of the most beloved songs in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Over fifty famous musicians started their careers with Tsvety. Established and produced by Stas Namin in 1987, the Gorky Park rock-band was also formed by Tsvety members.
After their re-union in 1999 Tsvety celebrated their 30th Anniversary with a big concert in Moscow, but did not return to show business. They participated in the Russian productions of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, and other projects at The Stas Namin Music and Drama Theater. In 2009 the band celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a grand show with special guest stars, and resumed their activities.
2009—2013: The Modern period
In 2009—2010 the band recorded the double albums Back to the USSR (covering all their 1970s songs), and Window to Freedom (containing the songs prohibited during the 1980s) at the legendary Abbey Road Studio. "Back to the USSR" features not only members of The Flowers but also guest musicians, ex-members of the band and even deceased musicians, represented on the album by their songs and samples taken from old records.
Following their anniversary show on March 6, 2010, a DVD was released entitled "Tsvety" - it was the first time that the band took to the stage after a more than twenty year long break. The band began regularly touring again, and in 2012 they performed at Crocus City Hall where, in addition to well-known hits and prohibited songs of the 1980s, they presented a modern, completely new repertoire.
In the first half of the three-hour show the band performed their new modern program, entitled Homo Sapiens, and in the second half they played remakes of their well-known hits featuring a number of guest bands including, for example, Time Machine, Voskresenie, Kalinov Most, Zvuki Mu, Zdob si Zdub, Moral Codex and others.
The show was released on two albums – Homo Sapiens and Flower Power.
- "Hit “Jurmala” tribe die Stimmung auf die Spitze. Moskauer Rockgruppe “Stas Namin” began Tournee in Lubeck", Lubecker Nachrichten, 7 November 1985.
- "Gorky Park Guru. From rock rebel to counter-culture businessman", AIM, October 1991.
- flowersrock.ru – Russian site of group "The Flowers"
- Information on the band (in Russian)
- Discography of the band (in Russian)
Text adapted from Wikipedia