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.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Gospellers -- Towa ni (永遠に)

Leonard Nimoy -- 1931-2015
Earlier this morning, I found out online that a sci-fi icon and a pop culture hero of mine, Leonard Nimoy aka the original Mr. Spock from "Star Trek" had passed away. He had been ill for the past number of years due to an earlier and unfortunate dalliance for smoking, and earlier this week when one of his representatives would give no comment on Nimoy's transportation to the hospital, I kinda figured that the time was close. Being the Trekkie that I have been for over 4 decades (yep, even longer than my time with kayo kyoku), it was no less sad to hear that he has left this mortal coil and millions of other fans across the globe are mourning tonight.

For that reason, I've chosen The Gospellers' first hit from 2000, "Towa ni" (Eternally) as the tribute song. Released in August of that year, it's the one CD that I purchased of the acapella group because of the mellow R&B melody. Written by Yutaka Yasuoka(安岡優), one of the members of the group, and composed by Takeshi Senoo(妹尾武), I'm not particularly crazy about the sappy English at the beginning but once the guys get into it and the song flows along, I was quite happy with the purchase. I hadn't heard it in quite a long time, but a recent "Kayo Concert" episode had The Gospellers on and this was the song that they performed, so I was reminded how nice it was.

"Towa ni" was their 14th single and that's the rank it peaked at on Oricon, No. 14. It wasn't their most successful hit but it was their longest-lasting through the rankings, lasting for 44 weeks on the charts. The single was also a track on The Gospellers' 6th album, "Soul Serenade" which came out in October 2000 and peaked at No. 8 while finishing up 2001 as the 42nd-ranked album.

This article is also the second one featuring The Gospellers but I didn't really give them their due in terms of an introduction in their first entry. The group formed from an acapella circle in Waseda University back in 1991 under the name of Street Corner Symphony by the two current members, leader Tetsuya Murakami(村上てつや)and Kaoru Kurosawa(黒沢薫). Yasuoka, Yuji Sakai(酒井雄二)and Yoichi Kitayama(北山陽一)would be recruited for the cause. The five of them had their first major release in 1994 with "Promise" which went as high as No. 90. For the next several years, their releases would mostly end up in the bottom 50 of the Top 100 until "Towa ni" came along.

For Mr. Nimoy, I can wish him "Live eternally and prosper".

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