Friday, November 21, 2014

Singapore 60s A Musical Revue: It's On Tonight! @ La Salle Institute! LIVE!

The revue is about Singapore life in the 60s, told musically using local pop songs and dance. Can you beat that? Local 60s music is finally recognised by our youth.

Cast and crew are working hard to give you a musical revue like no other! Even though all 3 shows are sold out, you can still try your luck at the door! There will be food and alcohol! Come and join us as we bring back the 60s!

With the La Salle cast that includes: Shu Yi Ching, Fingal Frans Viktor Olsson, Alyssa Lie, Sharon Sum, Tanya Rajgarhia, Siti Maznah, Megan Chng, Sage Alia Kimball, Nunt Kamolnun, and Denise Takahara Yap. Not forgetting of course the crew and the rest of the support group who have worked so hard to help produce this show.
Fun Fact Of The Day:
For only 2 years (1964 - 1965), Andy Lim fronted Singapore guitar group and recording artistes, The Silver Strings.  We are excited to have him attend the musical!

ITS THE 60s!

Thank You for all your support!
Images and Information have been taken from the Musical's FaceBook pages. Copyrights Reserved.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jimmy PresLee: Singapore's Elvis Tribute Artiste: (新加坡猫王)

Kat King On The Prowl Within Our Midst:

We met within the confines of a Burger King restaurant. Looking as cool as the Cat himself, Jimmy PresLee resplendently dressed in a black Elvis shirt, waited for 2 hours because he completed an earlier appointment way before time.
"Good afternoon, Mr Lim." We shook hands as he introduced himself politely and addressing me using the same salutation throughout. Jimmy reminds me of Elvis who used to call people he met either, Sir or M'am.


I told him I had always been a fan of The Pelvis but had never met an ETA, especially a Singapore one. As far as I can remember singers who performed on stage singing Elvis numbers were known as Elvis Presley impersonators or simply, Singapore's Elvis or Malaysia's Elvis. 

And there were many of them these past 50 years, from the original Johnny Aroozoo and Wilson David in Singapore, to Rocky Teoh and H.T. Long in Malaysia.

"You have the stature, you have the looks and definitely the charisma of The King. I have watched your video on FB and I think you have impressed me as an Elvis tribute artiste. I hope to see and hear you perform live soon."           
Nighthawks and Purple Hearts:

"Why did you decide to be an Elvis tribute artiste?" I asked. According to Jimmy (67), he had never been on stage singing any number, let alone Elvis ones. He had only been following Singapore pop bands through the years and listening to songs from the west.

But it was 4 years ago in 2009 that he and his wife Judy (61) decided to join the Singapore Elvis And Country Group (SEACG) for weekly karaoke singing at Thomson CC. They struck a high note and eventually joined  the Nighthawks singing weekly with a live band at Tanglin CC. 
One year later feeling more confident about his singing, Jimmy assembled his own live band called Purple Hearts and performed his first gig at Bishan North CC.  He wore his first Elvis customised jumpsuit and Jimmy PresLee, Elvis tribute artiste (ETA) was born. 

Jumpsuits and Elvis Presley Alliance of Asia:

"These jumpsuits cost a bomb," he volunteered, "as they are customised and made to order and cost as much as S$3,000 each." If you checkout his FB, you would probably realise that he has many suits. 
Because of his various performances at CCs, private club functions and charity concerts he was posted on You Tube, and when they became known, Jimmy's Facebook friend base soon enlarged.  

As a result Elvis fans from all over the world wanted to add him on, including ETAS from many countries. Many of them became his personal friends.   

Within a few years he was invited to attend an Elvis Presley Alliance of Asia event in Hong Kong where he got to sing alongside 12 ETAS from Asia.  This was followed by an invitation to Manila to perform with 8 ETAS. 
Seeing how good these ETAS are, Jimmy thought it would be a treat for Elvis fans in Singapore to be able to watch a mega concert paying tribute to Elvis Presley,  the king of rock 'n roll.   
Family and Memorabilia:

So with his very supportive wife (who is cousin to Malaysia's Elvis, Rocky Teoh's wife Jacqueline) and 3 daughters, he became the show agent and organised this inaugural event out of passion and purpose to bring back exciting memories for the baby boomers and the pioneer generation. 
All they want is for the people who love Elvis and his music to come and watch the show. They promise it will be great entertainment.  
                   Jimmy with his wife and three pretty daughters.
I thanked Jimmy for taking time with me as we said our good-byes. He confided that because of his frequent trips he has been collecting Elvis Presley memorabilia from all over and now wants to give them away because he has too many."
"Sounds good. I might pick up on that offer." I told him. "Thanks again. I'll see you at the concert..."

Elvis Presley Tribute Artists at, Elvis Is In The Building Concert, on 21 August at  D' Marquee Downtown East Singapore.

These ETA shows are big overseas and such concerts happened all the time throughout the calendar year.  The gigs hot up when it was around Elvis' birthday in January or near his death anniversary in August. Whatever it is, to his fans, Elvis has never left the building.

When I wrote to Jimmy later in the day I mentioned I was glad to have met him and appreciated how he had given me a personal introduction to the special world of Elvis.

Images/Article: Jimmy PresLee Private Collection. 

The largest gathering of Elvis impersonators is 895, achieved by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort (USA) in Cherokee, North Carolina, USA, on 12 July 2014.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Mandarin And Cantonese Covers Of Beatles Songs


When Tunes Only Matter:

For once I shall leave 60s music bloggers not reading but listening. You know these familiar tunes so the lyrics don't matter.  You have added advantage if you know Mandarin or the Chinese dialects and scream, laugh or cry when you hear the words. 

These EP vinyls, 7-inch round, were the MP3s of yesterday. With a little turntable packed with a valve amp, teenagers could play it everywhere, together with the stack of records. Who cares about lyrics. They just a-go-go to whatever tune is on and sweat their hearts out.

This posting couldn't have been without uploads from You Tube by zoundcracker, lvlalaysiaboleh, PsychedelicGomper and p wong. Thank you all.

 Lara Tan n Trailers: Video: PsychedelicGomper

School girl Lara Tan loved singing at school and concerts and was provided with about 40 songs to select for her vinyl debut. Since Mandarin songs had a bigger fan base in South East Asia, Lara recorded covers of current English 60s songs and had them translated into Mandarin by a Ms Violet Chow. The above hit was one. To make the formula work she was backed by The Trailers, one of the most popular bands in Singapore then.

                                           蓓蕾 -  國語版 Video: zoundcracker  

Sexy Billy Tam looks good and sings just as well. Listen to her version of this very popular song but with a Latin touch.  Fiery cheongsam. Billy's Chinese version of western pops were always saleable. It was one of the group's first hits.

                           上官流雲 - 一心想玉人 Video: zoundcracker

The introduction is familiar and sounds hotly convincing but you don't really need a translator to understand the meaning. Good singer he is. Know his name? He sings in Cantonese. Watch out for the part where he goes, mmmmmmmmm... substituting the group's manic screams! That's a professor's music thesis in itself.

 Maggie Wong/Jungle Lynxs Video: lvlalaysiaboleh

Just as sensual, Maggie Wong, a cabaret star, sings this one.  The A-Go-Go dance was popular amongst the Chinese crowd in the 60s and Wong was known as the A-Go-Go Queen.  She has this Beatles band to accompany her.   BTW, what's the plural of lynx? Does it matter?

Chan Po Chu: Video by p wong
This video is a scene from a popular movie starring Chan Po Chu where three guitars and drums depict the typical stage scenario in the 1960s.
Compromised but nobody cares. They just love the music.

 In case you missed it, Videos 1,2 and 4 are in Mandarin; Videos 3 and 5 are in Cantonese.

This article and posting is original. 
Videos from You Tube. This posting is temporary so enjoy them while you may.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

La Salle Presents: Singapore 60s A Musical Revue


4 NOV 14:
News just in about a special musical. Here's a note from a FACEBOOK entry.

"Ever heard of Sakura Teng? Shirley Nair & The Silver Strings? Anita Sarawak? Veronica Young? Or how about The Crescendos? You may not have – but your parents may – ask them. These were amongst an extraordinary group of artists who dominated the Singapore Pop music scene in the 1960s.

In preparation for Singapore’s 50th Anniversary, the Musical Theatre programme presents a tribute to these pop artists who in their own way were part of the first years of Independence. This will be a night of great music and nostalgia, and a celebration of a unique and wonderful   aspect of the Singapore story. 
Proudly brought to you by:
Cast: Level 2 Musical Theatre students
Director/Choreographer: Caleb Goh
Music Director: Ben K...
Choreographer: Richard Chia

A collaboration with BA (Hons) Musical Theatre, Diploma in Technical and Production Management, Diploma in Audio Production, Diploma in Music & BA(hons) Arts Management students. 

Seating is limited so please plan to arrive early. Once seating capacity is reached, subsequent patrons will have to stand during the performance.


21 November 2014 - 8pm (FULL HOUSE)
22 November 2014 - 2pm (FULL HOUSE)
22 November 2014 - 8pm (FULL HOUSE)

Get your tickets at College of the Arts Flexible Space."

LA SALLE COLLEGE is 30 years young this year.
Images/News piece from FACEBOOK.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Local Pop Songs For Singapore's 50th Anniversary

              The brand new Singapore National Stadium @ Kallang

Singapore's most iconic songs will be featured in a mega-concert next year (2015) at the new National Stadium to celebrate the country's 50th Anniversary. According to a newspaper report, Sing50 will feature local artistes singing 50 songs in various genre and the four official languages.
Below is a personal list of local pops in English that have been composed by our own musicians. The idea is to reminisce with the older generation songs they grew up with and to introduce to the younger generation melodies that resonate so much with the history of this island.
     Sausolito - Western Union Band (1970s) - MrRainbow

Perhaps some of them may not be appropriate for such a celebration but these were top songs that had charted the hit parade in Singapore 60s, 70s and 80s. There are 9 songs altogether but this posting is just a suggestion to start the ball rolling. The list is not in any particular order. 

Image from: Zazzle Invitations
The 60s
Shanty - The Quests
Selina - The Dukes
It's All Over - Naomi and the Boys
You're The Boy - Shirley Nair and The Silver Strings
My Lonely Heart - The Thunderbirds
Do It Right - The Trailers

(2 instrumentals, 2 lady singers, 2 male singers).
The 70s
Sausolito - Western Union Band
Singapore Cowboy - Matthew and The Mandarins
The 80s 
Within You Will Remain - Tokyo Square 
 Within You'll Remain - Tokyo Square (1980s) - scorpiossnakes

I am not familiar with songs beyond the 80s.  You can start your own list and if your favourite song has been left out, include it.

Read what others say. Click comments below.

You Tube videos.

Image Google and Zazzle Invications
These specially selected songs represent the milestones in the music scene in Singapore and they represent the journey of the average Singaporean. - See more at:
SSingaSingapore's most iconic songs will come to the fore in a mega-concert at the National Stadium on Aug 7 next year. - See more at:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On 'The Vintage Showcase' With Brian Richmond

You can keep the good times rolling and 60s music spinning by listening in to The Vintage Showcase on Gold 90.5FM, aired every Sunday from 8 in the morning to 12 noon where experienced, versatile and popular disc jockey Brian Richmond holds the reins. 

Some of the features incorporated in the programme will include Brian's Top 20 and Singapore Trivia where listeners interact with the host. There is also a special request segment where a listener will share his memories which go with a special song.
With Gold 90.5FM DJs Brian Richmond and Vernetta Lopez.
Other music capsules will include, Singapore Snapshots, Moments In Singapore History and Reminiscing With.  The last one has special guests each week to share a specific memory of their past.  Brian had telephoned me two weeks ago inviting me to participate in this segment of his pop radio broadcast. 

Sound Engineer Wayne
He was a gentleman all the way, waiting for me at the reception desk at Caldecott Hill where a hundred and one busy celebrity folks go about their business. His was the usual, casual hello with a firm handshake. Then, "You still remind me of Goh Chok Tong." Ayoh!

Before we started the recording he introduced me to Wayne, the sound engineer, who dabbles with the technicalities of the programme. 

The actual session didn't last too long so afterwards it was a short tour of Media Corp @ Caldecott Hill and meeting well-known DJs Vanetta Lopez (Gold Breakfast Show) and Denise Tan (Lunchtime Jukebox), both hosts on the same station.  Great folks they are and these two ladies are as pretty in person as their voices are on air.

I won't explain what the segment on his showcase is all about but if you have been a regular listener you are probably familiar with it.  If you aren't, then all the more why you should wake up a bit early on Sunday and listen in.
With DJ Denise Tan.

Thank you Brian for holding the microphone, Wayne for making my recorded voice sound better, Vernetta for taking the pics and Denise for the picture pose.

On the way out, I couldn't find my car in the designated maze and got the help of a Media Corp security guard.  Lucky. All these people, really well-tuned... 

"Gold ninety point five fm. Classic hits all day." Don't forget. Sunday mornings!

Reminiscing With Andy is every Sunday, starting from 9th November 2014 for 5 weeks.

Images: A Personal Collection.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Memory Trail: Pen Pals From Foreign Lands

                          Elvis Presley: Return To Sender - Video by RPCchannel.

Pen pals or pen friends are people who regularly write to each other, particularly via the post and was a practice way before the age of the Internet.

I gave a letter to the postman,
He put it his sack. 
Bright and early next morning, 
He brought my letter back.

Elvis Presley's 1962 hit, Return To Sender, with its unique postal theme reminded me of  those years when, as a teen, I used to write to people in foreign lands. You waited a whole month before you received a reply.  Then if you're lucky and when you get one, it was an envelope all thick, with 10 pages of light-blue paper inside and a photograph of the writer tucked neatly between the sheets.

The envelope itself was bursting at its seams.  You felt the tension as you gingerly opened the envelope, feeling for the photograph and reading revelations of your new pal from this far-off land. 

"Gosh, what a pretty girl!" you exclaimed, looking at the photograph sent.

On the other hand, if you were unlucky, and like Elvis Presley (above) you got your letter back stamped with the phrase, Return To Sender on the envelope. And that was a big let-down for a teen.

Writing to strangers was the rage in Singapore in the 60s especially when popular magazines like Movie News, Her World and local newspapers like the Radio Weekly had pages with a Pen Pals Column listing names of  people, both males and females with their full addresses in print. The fun part was these requests for pals came from all over the world. And the Internet wasn't even born yet!

I had never published my own name under a pen-pal's column but I knew it was a thrill to have it on the pages where you stated the full significance of your identity, with age included, together with your home address and country with an extension describing your hobbies and preferences.

The hobbies were always about the same, i.e. stamp, coin and record collecting, sports indulgences like badminton or table-tennis and the inevitable, listening to music.  Some of these individuals had requests for a personal photograph or postcards of your home country.

But it was so much fun as we used ordinary white paper with lines, a fountain pen (we didn't have ball-pens in the 1960s) to write our "missive" to this stranger in a strange land far away. Our instruments of writing, so to speak, also included dark-blue ink and it came from a bottle (called Quink I think).

Red ink was a no no but there were instances when pen pals wrote in green but it had nothing to do with greening the earth.  As a rule of thumb black-ink was never ever used but Charlie Brown didn't think so.

Then there was the final ritual of putting the sheets of paper into the envelope, the glueing of the flap and the final lickin' and stickin' of the stamp on the top right hand corner (emphasised) of the envelope.

A run to the nearest post-box sealed the deal and you waited anxiously for the next 30 days for a reply. 

Did you have pen-pals?  Come on, tell us.

You Tube Video.

Songwriters: Scott, Fitzgerald / Obika, Lemar Return To Sender lyrics © EMI Music Publishing.

Images from Google.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Will Talk And Singapore Will Listen: Robbie Williams

               Robbie Williams/Nicole Kidman - Somethin' Stupid.

Songs I Love

Nicole Kidman and Robbie Williams were in Singapore's newspapers recently. The actress' father passed away on the island and the pop male singer had a concert during the Formula One Race at Marina Bay last Saturday. Such a coincidence.

At the beginning of this century I was introduced to Robbie Williams when I first heard his duet with Nicole Kidman singing, Somethin' Stupid. I love this particular recording but not the older one by Frank and Nancy Sinatra.  I  didn't think the lyrics were suited for a father and daughter dialogue and found their version corny.
Again, the Sinatras' cover was pale compared to the one above (personal choice) recorded in 2001. I was struck by their interpretation  and on-screen chemistry (on video) of this cute classic composed in 1967.  But strangely, although it was a hit for Williams I forgot all about him after the song.

When I toured China's provinces in the mid-2000s I managed to buy a few inexpensive CDs there. They were supposed to be originals with authentic brand markings (unless you scrutinised the labels). The price was the give-away as the albums cost two Singapore dollars each.  I didn't test the five copies I bought and took them home.

Sexed Up

Surprise, surprise! Three of them were blanks and except for pretty pictures of the singers with printed title tracks there was no music *(so always buy originals or choose individually on-line), but one album which I specially bought had Robbie Williams' Sexed Up cover with 30 of his songs in it.  Luckily it played and I realised I had not given Mr. Williams a chance. I must admit that he's a fantastic singer. 
        Actual footage - Williams', I Will Talk and Hollywood Will Listen.

I Will Talk and Hollywood Will Listen

I enjoy his songs like I Will Talk and Hollywood Will Listen, the big hit Feel, the intoxicating Rock DJ, Come Undone and a few others on the album but what attracted me most was the evergreens he recorded which included, Beyond The Sea and Straighten Up and Fly Right, the first, a Bobby Darin hit, and the second a Nat Cole classic.

He had recorded other standards and some are on his album, Swings Both Ways.  The songs Dream a Little Dream of Me, Putting On the Ritz, Little Green Apples  were beautifully rendered as he sang duet with some of  the biggest names in today's pop world like, Lily Allen, Michael Bublé, Kelly Clarkson, Olly Murs and Rufus Wainwright.

            You Tube Video: Williams singing: Paul Anka's My Way

My Way

Selling nearly 80 million copies internationally Williams covers were just as popular.  Some of them that I love would include: I Started a Joke, It was a Very Good Year, Sixteen Tons, It's De-lovely, The Lady is a Tramp, Me and My Shadow, Mack the Knife, Muñequita Linda (Te Quiero, Dijiste) and That's Amore.

Then there was the song about the street performer and tap dancer Mr. Bojangles, One for my Baby, Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone, That Old Black Magic, Things, We Are The Champions, Ain't That A Kick In The Head, Well Did You Evah? and My Way (below). 

There are about 60 of these songs, spiced, mixed, tossed in the recording kitchen and presented most deliciously by Master Chef Williams.
Actual footage Williams with Gene Kelly's Singing In the Rain.

Singing In The Rain

During the concert at the Formula 1 Meet @ Marina Bay Sands last Saturday Robbie Williams was literally, Singing In The Rain and the heavy September showers drenched both the singer and crowd but not their spirit. 

The man did not disappoint. He sang classic pops like, New York, New York, Hit The Road Jack, We Will Rock You, I Love Rock n Roll, Proud Mary and the dessert  of the evening, Elvis Presley's hit from King Creole, Trouble.
                 Actual footage Williams with Elvis Presley's Trouble.

This is a 60s music blog but you can understand why I wrote about Robbie Williams.  "I'm singing in the rain /Just singing in the rain/ What a glorious feelin'/Why does September /Seem sunny as spring?"

Like my son remarked when I asked for his comment on the show, "A true professional indeed. He gave his all."

(There are tons of articles on Robbie Williams but this is the only posting that lists his 60s music numbers :-) 

*Careful of buying so-called cheap CDs in certain countries. Check Comment page below. 

 Robbie Williams Channel. Copy and Paste:

Images: You Tube and Google.