New dances like the Twist made way for pop music that had different beat variation. It also provided opportunities for local groups like The Crescendos to record. They were the first group in Singapore to acquire a recording contract with Philips, an international label. The song was Mr Twister, a Chubby Checker hit.
This first song, with Frankie on the flip (image), sold over 10, 000 copies in Malaysia and placed it in the Philips World Top Ten. Connie Francis didn't have much of a chance in Singapore with Susan Lim's rendition. Air time was important then, so the few radio stations and Rediffusion broadcast made it a top pop.
They became the talk of the town and scored with another, In The Good Old Summertime, and an original song, The Boy Next Door. Both songs sold over 10,000 copies each.
But ironically, the real twist came when the group, at their peak, decided to take a break because of personal commitment and recordings stopped by 1966. Worse, Susan Lim disappeared in a Malaysian east coast incident which left the band devoid of a talented singer.
The Crescendos started with John Chee, Leslie Chia and Raymond Ho in July 1961 and won the second prize in a talent show. When Susan Lim joined them, they were placed second in a Radio Singapore Talentime contest held on 30th December, 1962 and took part in various shows for charity.
They are part of Singapore's 6os music heritage as they opened doors for other local groups to record with international labels. Eight of their hits have been released again recently, together with other 60s recording artistes.
Image/Original Article: Andy Lim Collection.
The Crescendos group is under Universal Music Singapore.