1970s: Early acts
Originally formed in 1967 as a cover band of British and American psychedelic rock titled "Yuya Uchida & the Flowers," Japan's Flower Travellin' Band have been credited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal music. After changing their name, having almost a complete personnel change and moving to Canada, they produced their first album of original material in 1971. Satori, which was released a little over a year after Black Sabbath's debut album, has been called "proto-metal" and noted as having "traces of early heavy metal." Their previous album, Anywhere (1970), included what is believed to be the first recorded cover of a Black Sabbath song, the self-titled "Black Sabbath". Additionally, Satori and Flower Travellin' Band vocalist Joe Yamanaka and guitarist Hideki Ishima's work on Kuni Kawachi's first solo album Kirikyogen (1970) have been credited as "honing the formidable and ominous sound that would become the essence of doom metal."
Japanese heavy metal bands started emerging in the late 1970s, pioneered by Bow Wow (1975), 44 Magnum (1977) and Earthshaker (1978).
In 1977, Bow Wow supported Aerosmith and Kiss on their Japanese tours. They performed at both the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Reading Festival in England in 1982. After some member changes resulted in a more commercial sound, they changed their name to Vow Wow and relocated to England. Their 1989 album Helter Skelter reached number 75 on the UK Albums Chart.
Although formed by schoolmates in 1977, Lazy saw a rift between their managers/producers, who wanted to create a pop rock idol band, and the musicians themselves who slowly took control and moved the band to the hard rock and heavy metal they always desired to play by their final album Earth Ark in 1980.