The Drifters of the 1960s (the group started in 1955 and had a shifting membership...one of which was "Sukiyaki" singer Kyu Sakamoto) consisted of leader Ikariya Chosuke, Chu Arai, Koji Nakamoto, Bu Takagi and Cha Kato. A member of another comic band, The Crazy Cats, gave the group their name straight from the eponymous American doo-wop group. I knew nothing of their time in the 60s when they were singing and making people laugh, but then came along their comedy-variety show, "8-ji Da Yo! Zen'in Shuugo!"（8時だよ！全員集合...It's 8 O'Clock! Everyone Assemble!) on TBS. From 1969 to 1985, The Drifters held their regular spot on Saturday nights at 8 p.m. with their brand of wild skits peppered with performances by singers of the day. At the end of the show, The Drifters, guests and supporting players all got together on stage and sang the above song, "Ii Yu da na"(Wonderful Bath, Ain't It?) to finish the show while Cha Kato asked the kids watching at home whether they had already brushed their teeth.
"Ii Yu da na" was originally released as a B-side to another song in 1968, a year before their legendary show began. But when that B-side became much more of a hit than the highlighted A-side song, the studio quickly made the switch. Chosuke and the lads sang about the wonders of soaking in a bath at the various hot springs of Japan....a custom that warms the hearts of many Japanese. Not surprisingly, whenever a hot spring or a bath product maker needs a commercial, it likes to use this song. Plus, its fame as the ending theme for one of Japan's longest-running variety shows lends instant recognition.