The Mops

Profile:
The Mops are one of Japan’s best known “group sounds” bands, particularly noted for their psychedelic period. The group was founded in 1966 by high school friends Mikiharu Suzuki (drums), Taro Miyuki (guitar), Masaru Hoshi (lead guitar) and Kaoru Murakami (bass), playing mostly instrumental rock ala the fabulously popular Ventures. Suzuki’s older brother Hiromitsu joined in later and became the group’s main vocalist, sharing the job with Hoshi.
The Mops started playing clubs and discos early on, but did not immediately distinguish themselves. In the summer of 1967 their manager visited San Francisco, and was very excited about the hippie movement that was booming there. He brought a copy of a Jefferson Airplane album back with him to Japan, which he impressed the Mops with. The band became enthusiastic about the new sounds, and singer Hiromitsu Suzuki especially became a big fan of Animals singer Eric Burdon. In what seems a fairly commercially driven decision, the Mops, prodded by their manager, became a “psychedelic band”, and signed with JVC Records. In November 1967 they released “Asamade Matenai”, which went to #38.
The Mops album of April 1968 Psychedelic Sound in Japan, was full of flower power flourishes, including cosmic artwork, ethnic clothing, fuzz guitars and sitar playing. It included covers of the Airplane’s hits “Someone To Love” and “White Rabbit”, the Doors' “Light My Fire”, the Animals' “San Franciscan Nights” and “Inside Looking Out”, as well as the Mops theme song “I Am Just A Mops” (which later became a cult favorite after being included on the obscurities album Nuggets 2). To complete the band’s hippie vibe, at their album release party they passed out banana peels to journalists.
Much was made of the band being Japan’s first psychedelic band, and they are sometimes credited as pioneering new studio effects, or at least introducing them to Japan. The band also performed with lighting effects, and sometimes blindfolded, supposedly to simulate the influence of drugs. Despite being widely considered a psychedelic band, their original songs were more garage band sounding. Also while most GS bands were playing love songs, the Mops had a song called “Blind Bird”, which contained the lyrics “please kill me”, which led to the song being left off some re-issues (but included on the obscurities collection Boulders #7). In 1969 Murakami quit the band and Miyuki took over bass duties.
After just one album with JVC, the group switched to Toshiba/EMI, where they changed their sound to more of a blues rock sound, it seems trying to change with the times. While not as warmly recalled, the band did moderately well after their psychedelic period. Their biggest hit was in 1971, “Gekko Kamen (Moonlight Mask)", which they recorded as a joke, but which became a novelty hit. Their hard rock number “Goiken Muyo (No Excuse)" charted in 1971, and the following year they did well with “Tadoritsuitara Itsumo Amefuri”, which was written for them by popular folk singer Takuro Yoshida. Before finally breaking up in May 1974, the Mops released a total of eight albums on Toshiba/EMI, a long career compared to most of the GS bands. Hoshi continued in the music business as an arranger, and Hiromitsu Suzuki became a TV “talento”. Mikiharu Suzuki today runs a major artist management company.
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Albums

SJV-356 The Mops - Psychedelic Sounds In Japan album art The Mops Psychedelic Sounds In Japan (Album) Victor SJV-356 Japan 1968 Sell This Version
LPC-8018 The Mops - ロックン・ロール '70 album art モップス* ロックン・ロール '70 (Album) Liberty LPC-8018 Japan 1970 Sell This Version
LPC-8047 The Mops - Rock Live! album art Mops* & Flowers* Mops* & Flowers* - Rock Live! Liberty LPC-8047 Japan 1971 Sell This Version
LTP-9025 The Mops - Iijanaika album art Mops* Iijanaika (Album) Liberty LTP-9025 Japan 1971 Sell This Version
LTP-9043 The Mops - 雷舞 album art モップス* 雷舞 (Album) Liberty LTP-9043 Japan 1971 Sell This Version
LTP-9059 The Mops - モップスと16人の仲間 album art モップス* モップスと16人の仲間 (Album) Liberty LTP-9059 Japan 1972 Sell This Version
LTP-9055 The Mops - 雨 album art モップス'72* (Album) Liberty LTP-9055 Japan 1972 Sell This Version
LTP-85014 The Mops - Exit album art Mops* Exit (Album) Liberty LTP-85014 Japan 1974 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

VP-1 The Mops - 朝まで待てない / ブラインド・バード album art ザ・モップス* 朝まで待てない / ブラインド・バード(7", Single) Victor VP-1 Japan 1967 Sell This Version
VP-10 The Mops - お前のすべてを album art ザ・モップス* お前のすべてを (Single) Victor VP-10 Japan 1968 Sell This Version
VP-5 The Mops - ベラよ急げ / 消えない想い album art ザ・モップス* ベラよ急げ / 消えない想い (Single) Victor VP-5 Japan 1968 Sell This Version
EP-1190 The Mops - 眠り給えイエス/週末の喪章 album art The Mops 眠り給えイエス/週末の喪章(7", Single) Express EP-1190 Japan 1969 Sell This Version
LP-1206 The Mops - 朝日のあたる家 = House Of The Rising Sun  album art モップス* = The Mops モップス* = The Mops - 朝日のあたる家 = House Of The Rising Sun (Single) Liberty LP-1206 Japan 1970 Sell This Version
LP-1203 The Mops - Jenny Jenny / Participation album art The Mops Jenny Jenny / Participation(7", Single) Liberty LP-1203 Japan 1970 Sell This Version
LP-1219 The Mops - 御意見無用 (いいじゃないか) album art モップス* = Mops* モップス* = Mops* - 御意見無用 (いいじゃないか)(7", Single) Liberty LP-1219 Japan 1971 Sell This Version
LTP-2417 The Mops - 月光仮面 album art モップス* 月光仮面(7", Single) Liberty LTP-2417 Japan 1971 Sell This Version
LTP-2783 The Mops - 御用牙 album art モップス* 御用牙 (Single) Liberty LTP-2783 Japan 1972 Sell This Version
LTP-2666 The Mops - 雨 / 迷子列車 album art モップス* 雨 / 迷子列車(7", Single) Liberty LTP-2666 Japan 1972 Sell This Version
LTP-2695 The Mops - たどりついたらいつも雨ふり = Tadori Tsuitara Itsumo Amefuri album art モップス* たどりついたらいつも雨ふり = Tadori Tsuitara Itsumo Amefuri(7", Single, Dar) Liberty LTP-2695 Japan 1972 Sell This Version
LTP-2950 The Mops - あかずの踏切り album art モップス* あかずの踏切り(7", Single, Promo) Liberty LTP-2950 Japan 1973 Sell This Version
LTP-2839 The Mops - 晴れ 時々 にわか雨 album art モップス* 晴れ 時々 にわか雨(7", Single) Liberty LTP-2839 Japan 1973 Sell This Version
ETP-17157 The Mops - 月光仮面 album art モップス* 月光仮面(7", Single) Express ETP-17157 Japan 1981 Sell This Version
NKS-727 The Mops - アイ・アム・ジャスト・ア・モップス / のぼせちゃいけない album art ザ・モップス*, ザ・ダイナマイツ* ザ・モップス*, ザ・ダイナマイツ* - アイ・アム・ジャスト・ア・モップス / のぼせちゃいけない(7", Ltd) Victor NKS-727 Japan 2020 Sell This Version

Compilations

EP-7744~5 The Mops - Rock 'N' Roll Jam '70 album art Mops*, Flowers*, The Happenings Four, The Golden Cups Mops*, Flowers*, The Happenings Four, The Golden Cups - Rock 'N' Roll Jam '70 (Comp, Album) Express EP-7744~5 Japan 1970 Sell This Version
LTP-4324 The Mops - モップス・ベスト・4 (Mops Best of 4) album art The Mops モップス・ベスト・4 (Mops Best of 4)(7", EP, Comp) Liberty LTP-4324 Japan 1972 Sell This Version