Thursday, June 25, 2009

Crescendos: Singapore's First Recording Artistes

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.


sixties said...

The sixties enriched history in what music is concerned. Great names, like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and many others were discovered then and made us happy with their beautiful songs.

Anonymous said...

I share your view. Those were exciting days for us. Now we look back with nostalgia and recall the music and songs of the time and they make our day. MICHAEL LIM (NEWTON)

Andy Young* said...

Thank you sixties; you have a beautiful site there, with images depicting 60s style, fashion, politics etc. I shall certainly look forward to visiting your site again and again.

Andy Young* said...

And thanks to Michael Lim from Newton, for the positive view on nostalgia.

And we remember another Michael today, Michael Jackson. He was a superstar only seen at levels of Elvis Presley, John Lennon and James Brown.

Lam Chun See said...

We had this record. But I remember only Frankie.

Andy Young* said...

Yes, Frankie was the popular one, displaying her powerful yet beautiful voice.

Dannel Lim said...

Dear Readers, I am Dannel Lim, a JC1 student from St Andrew's JC. I am currently wokring on my Project Work which is currently on the 1960s music scene of Singapore. I would apprecitate it if any of you are interested to give an interview on your opinions if this heritage is worth conserving or if you would like to share your opinions on an overall view of this topic.

Please contact me at Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Yours sincerely Dannel

Anonymous said...

Hi Dannel,
Just seen your email. Will write to you soon.

JoeWuSeattleWaUSA said...

Hello, Andy,

The Crescendos' 1964 "The Boy Next Door" was a cover of a record that was originally released in 1963 by a girl group from Cleveland, Ohio, called The Secrets.

(1) Check out The Secrets here:

There is even an interesting story of the Secrets' actual recording session of "The Boy Next Door."

(2) Listen to their record "The Boy Next Door":

Yes, the good old days...

Your blogsite is a very nice walk down Memory Lane, Andy.

Joe Wu

Andy Young* said...

Hey Joe,
Thanks for the information and comments. I didn't read this until today. Appreciate your visits time and again to read my blog because I know you are an expert on Sing60s.

If you wish to contribute a posting please do so anytime and I'll put it on.

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year, 2010.

GST94 said...

As a secondary student, I would not be expected to be interested in this, but I guess I was blown away by the talents Singapore used to have. Sad that they are already gone.

Btw, how exactly Susan Lim disappear, I am just curious. Still, it is sad that she did, her voice, it's better than anyone of our current singers I suppose.

Andy Young* said...

Hi Swee Yik,

Thanks for visiting and I share your view about the talent we have but they are still around.

Although many have left the scene and become successful businessmen or professionals, some are trying to make an income that can hardly put them by.

Others are still strumming their guitars and playing at private clubs.

Susan Lim, as I have been told, disappeared at sea in Malaysia in the 60s while she was at the peak of her career.

Yes, her singing is definitely better than many of our singers today.

Andy Young* said...

I have visited your site and I think it's fabulous!