Friday, August 14, 2009

(4) Canadian 60s Music Influence: Four Lads

Although well accepted and internationally famous, many fans in Singapore in the late 50s and 60s were unaware that this vocal quartet were originally from Canada. The group first made their mark in the US in New York, when they accompanied *Johnny Ray (earlier posting) with Cry and A Little White Cloud That Cried (both 1951).

When they recorded with Columbia, The Four Lads had their first independent success with The Mocking Bird (1952) and their second with Istanbul (1953). Twenty singles were released by 1959 and all characterized by their closely harmonized singing. Recordings during these years were on 78rpm.

These hits also included Skokiaan (1954), Standing on the Corner (1956), Who Needs You (1957), and the million-seller, Moments to Remember (1955). The group also cut many LPs for Columbia, Kapp, and Dot. These were the songs Singaporeans listened to and collected before the transition to rock.

When rock n roll hit the world afterwards, one of the Four Lads remarked, "Well, after the Beatles hit we knew that the party was over. It was obvious. It was over as far as the recording studio was concerned. We made some records after that but nothing with any success. Not only that, but nobody wanted to record people like us - they wanted to do only rock. But we kept working, doing our thing, and singing to our audiences..." Contemporary Musicians Magazine.

*Robert Song, who fronted The Checkmates and The Stylers in the 60s, was Singapore's Johnny Ray. He was with The Gaylads (vocal quartet)/Flamingoes Combo too.There are many Four Lads Websites on the internet. It is interesting to note that The Four Lads are still active today.

Reference: (1) Canadian Encyclopaedia Historica. (2) Wikipedia. (3)
Original article: Andy Lim


Roger said...

Nice to read about them and their achievements.BTW, I like your pic of the Beatles Austria and the Silver Strings.

Andy Young* said...

Thank you. The Beatles from Austria are friendly, cheerful and easy-going. It was a treat to hear them too. They will be back for the President Charity Show on October, 11th, 2009. I certainly hope my information is correct.