I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Towa Tei -- Private Eyes

In the summer of 1990, when I was back in Toronto for a short vacation during my stint on the JET Programme, there was a song that was all over the airwaves since it was this funky slice of 60s or 70s dance music. It was Deee-Lite's "Groove Is In The Heart" with all of that groovy psychedelia in the music video. The band was basically a one-hit wonder but geez, what a wonder it was.

I wouldn't realize it for many years after that, but one member from Deee-Lite was Towa Tei (テイ・トウワ), aka Doug Wa-Chung from Yokohama who's worn the hats of musician, DJ and music producer. And that above image has always been my mind's eyecatch for the fellow. It also happens to be the cover photo for his 2nd album "Sound Museum" from May 1997.

Never got around to purchasing the album (at least, not yet) but I always liked one of the tracks which was a bossa nova, perhaps Shibuya-kei, cover of one of the biggest hits in the career of Hall & Oates, "Private Eyes". As sung by Bebel Gilberto, it's less a cherished musical memory of my high school days and more of a relaxing reason to lie on the sofa and sip back a lemonade. Any images of detectives peeking through the window of your apartment would be pure aberration.

But of course, who can forget the original? "Private Eyes" is one of my favourite songs of not only the band but of my time in the 1980s. Released in 1981, the Hall & Oates hit has also become a classic in Japan. Let's say this, if Daryl & John were a nation, then "Private Eyes" would be the officially recognized national anthem by the Japanese, and the embassy and consular offices would be the many department stores that I have heard it via the speakers. Yup, it was that ubiquitous. Heck, it was even used in a TV commercial over there not too long ago.

And since we are traipsing through the American music of yesteryear, let's finish with "Groove Is In The Heart". Ah, by the way, Tei has been busy with another band these days, METAFIVE.

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