Similarly with our local band boys and their recordings on vinyls. Checking a personal library there was Henry Suriya who recorded DONNA, The Christones had AURA LEE, our teacher star across the causeway, Frankie Chia sang about his CHERYL MOANA MARIE and the Dukes with their popular original instrumental, SELINA.
The selection made for this posting is hardly sufficient to prove any statistical endeavour but here are five detailed samplings of local pops classics with ladies' names on their titles.
Recorded at Kinetex Studios in Singapore, lead guitar Benny Chan, with Hann Hussein (rhythmist), Laurence Lee (bassist) and Amir Samsudin (drums), produced four original instrumentals on their EP with one piece bearing a lady's name. Called SYLVIA, it was composed by Lee and Chan. Anyone heard of Sylvia? Beautiful song. And lady too?
I have listened to Checkmates many times when we were in shows together in the past. Like other bands they used to play Shadows and other 60's instrumental hits on stage. Their music was always solid, tight and more importantly on this vinyl, original.
Lead Benny Chan was in Singapore recently and had just appeared at the Esplanade this month of November with the group. Just wondering if Sylvia came to watch the show.
Coming from the Philippines, d'Starlights boys were so familiar with Singaporean audiences that they were gladly accepted as belonging to the local community. Famous for their appearances in the El Amigo Nightclub at The New World Amusement Park, they were associated with quality control music.
On this EP called, IT'S SOUL MAN, the five boys sang and played, LOUIE, LOUIE. Written by Richard Berry way back in 1955, it was about a Jamaican sailor returning to his island to see his lady love. With this group in control the song is one beautiful and hot soul beat dedication to Ms Louie. And for this lady, at least, we know who she was.
NB: d'Starlights were known to have exhibited their karate prowess on stage before their performances. Some of their members had passed away these few years. One or two from the group had written on this blog to make these announcements.
A group that needs no introduction is The Quests. Because they were so popular in the South East Asian region, EMI Columbia allowed them to record current covers. So in 1969, they produced four songs for another one of their EPs without any original.
The particular vinyl had a note from the group on its back sleeve cover since they were coming home to Singapore that year from their stint in Hong Kong. Together with three other international hits The Quests included PROUD MARY.
This fast, hot John Fogerty lady had become such a classic that nearly every Singapore band had performed this Creedence Clearwater Revival hit on stage.
The lyrics explained that Mary was born in the Bayou and worked as a washerwoman.
CCR made it number one, Tina Turner gyrated with the number, exhibiting her sensual legs, wearing the shortest skirt ever and Elvis Presley wowed every fan with his version. There was a long line of artistes who wooed Proud Mary.
In case some readers are not aware, two of the Quests had passed on i.e. Reggie Verghese and Jap Chong. Lim Wee Guan and Henry Chua are still as active with their drums and sold guitars.
Chua had his SHANTY played by our Wind Symphonic recently (please read another posting). I meet Jimmy Chan for kopi at Tiong Bahru Market. He's a pianist and still at Marina Mandarin. A very nice guy.
Before the October Cherries, they were called The Surfers and had cut four tracks with EMI. This particular vinyl was so popular the producers could have made thousands of copies. You can get it anywhere today if you look hard enough.
Titled HOORAY FOR HAZEL, we have another hit to add to our short list of lady-named songs recorded in Singapore. This vinyl was done at MacDonald House, Orchard Road. Hazel belonged to Tommy Roe and the song gossiped about a woman who could win the hearts of all men but later mistreated them.
Again, their popularity guaranteed (and sales of course), I remember this group had a large fan base both locally and overseas when they became October Cherries. Imagine competing with Roe on the hit parade charts. Hooray for Surfers.
Listening to them and having met singer/guitarist Peter Diaz (an October Cherries anchor man) recently in a short chat, I would say The Surfers were one of the better groups this side of the Pacific.
The Trailers were another household name in the 1960's. With their stronghold at the Palace Cinema in East Coast Katong, the T-Dance became a phenomena because of Benny and The Trailers.
So when the group was up and soaring in our oriental skies, they produced four melodies that were favourites with the locals. Two of them were from the West. Together with PHOENIX THEME, ALI SAN and the U.S. hit DING DONG SONG, The Trailers added their tim-sum mix with another lady's name called LARA'S THEME, a big hit in 1967.
The specially Chinese PHOENIX THEME glued the four songs air-tight. All melodies were already separate hits singly but as Trailers instrumentals, this record was one of the most sought after during Chinese New Year 1967. Even our Malay and Indian friends knew the song as , Kwoh Sin Nien.
Lady Lara was one foreign attraction. Set in Russia, the movie told of a KGB Lieutenant General searching for Lara Antipova, the daughter of his half brother. She must be SOMEWHERE MY LOVE.
Victor Woo is still playing lead with his New Trailers today. PHOENIX THEME was played during a Channel News Asia television documentary in 2014 discussing Singapore's Treasure Hunt. It was hosted by pretty Anita Kapoor and archaeologist Lim Chen Sian. I was a guest.
So Sylvia, Louie, Mary, Hazel and Lara, where are you all?
The record covers are from a private collection; pinterest.com
You Tube Video: lvlalaysiaboleh.