Above vinyls were selected because of sleeve covers:
Whether it's in English, Chinese, Malay, Tamil or any other language the love message is clear. With or without Valentine's Day, writing songs with romantic themes has been the mainstay for many a lyricist or composer in our pop music world. Similarly on our little island.
Robert Suriya, the Fitzgerald brothers, Shirley Nair, Fu Su Yin, Yusnor Ef, Kassim Masdor and many others have written love songs that have become hits here in Singapore. Adrian C. Tills, an expatriate who was in Singapore in the 60s, composed quite a number for local consumption.
Two of them were released on a single by Philips and sung by Roy Stevens with The Thunderbirds' accompaniment (Sleeve Cover 1). The first song, Wont You Be My Girl pleads, "I know you're the idol of other boys too, But none of them love you as much as I do, So please, please baby won't you be my girl?"
The flip side encourages the lover to Give It A Try because, "There's so much pleasure in lovin, Lovin is a sheer delight, So love me, and you'll see, Everything I say is right..." Mushy? Not so for listeners in the 60s.
Cecilia Lim (Sleeve Cover 2), popular with Chinese fans, covers four romantic hits in English from the 50s and 60s under VOC Records with, Please Help Me I'm Falling, Harbour Lights You Belong To Me and the irresistible, To Sir With Love echoing every schoolgirl crush with the lament, "If you wanted the moon I will try to make a start but I would rather you let me give my heart..." I am sure you are familiar with the other 3 love songs that have become international hits.
Sleeve Cover 3 is a Malay Extended Play, with dashing good-looker Jeffridin and his Siglap Five, recording 4 songs. One of them is about a lad who was abandoned by his girl and Kekaseh Ku Pergi (My Love Has Gone: by local composer Mohd. Ali) describes his bitterness, "Kini aku hidup sepi, hingga aku menanti..." (I live in loneliness and am still waiting...).
Another track composed by Jeffridin himself, relates his Termenong (Day Dreaming) woes while the third song, composed by A. Karim, tells of a particularly spoilt girl-friend or Gadis Manja who has stolen the singer's heart.
The romanticism in Chinese songs has the proclivity to be too sentimental and sugary for the western crowd but one of pop 60s Chinese singer, Zhang Xiao Ying's EP (Sleeve Cover 4) has managed to deal with the subject wisely.
The vinyl has songs that repeats a theme. The title track, He Who Knows My Heart (Zhi Xin De Ren) tells of a lover who reminisces her soul-mate. The EP has three other tracks. Hen Bu Xiang Feng Wei Jia Shi (Bitter Sweet Memories As I Wed) is about a girl who still yearns for her previous boyfriend although she is married. Ghastly!
She Mo Hua Wei Ni Kai (What Flower Blooms/Opens For You) could have sensual connotation. Surprise, surprise. And the final track Wo Ai Jun Lai Jun Ai Wo ( Loving You, Loving Me ) accentuates the flavour of the day again.
You won't be googling for most of these songs would you? Might spoil your day. Valentine ones are just supposed to say, I love you and I want you. No heartaches, ever! Or so you think.
Happy Valentine everyone.Chinese vinyl translation by: LKM and SM. Thank you both.
Images/original article: Andy Lim Collection.