Saturday, November 17, 2018

Donald Trump Honours Elvis Presley With Medal Of Freedom

Mr Donald Trump, President of the United States, honoured Elvis Presley, King of Rock and Roll with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom on 16 November 2018 at the White House. It is the highest honour given to a civilian of the US.

Accordingly the 60's icon, "defined American culture to billions of adoring fans around the world. Elvis fused gospel, country and rhythm n blues to create a sound all his own selling more than a billion records."  Six other recipients were also awarded the Medal.

Turning back the clock, Mr Trumped recalled an Elvis concert he attended, where members of the audience and fans were screaming and going crazy, ripping the hall apart. To appease the crowd, the usual announcement was made for most Elvis shows, "Elvis has left the building." 

Instead, Mr Trump misquoted saying, "Elvis has left the house." 

Elvis Presley with 'How Great Thou Art,' heard in the White House. 

He was clearly in a happy mood. He described Elvis as legendary and the popular Grammy awarded gospel How Great Thou Art was played for a moment.

Congratulations, Mr Trump. One of the best moves that you made. I can hear Elvis fans screaming now. 

And Elvis. The medal has been reserved for you, a long time ago. The question was, who's going to give it away.

Images: Google 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Marvel Super Hero Stan Lee Is Gone @ 95 EXCELSIOR!

Stan Lee
28 December 1922 - 12 November 2018

Marvel Comics creator of many of their superheroes, Mr Stan Lee is dead at 95 years young. He's gone, *ever upward! To the heavens.

He will certainly be missed by many who love comics since he had created famous superheroes like Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Captain America and others. These characters have depths in their personalities and the series is considered to be a form of modern Literature.

He became a phenomenal success and profited from his corporation since the 60's. If I am not mistaken the comic market crashed in mid-1990's and the business was affected much.
The 1960's Spiderman Theme song from the television series. In the 21st Century, it was revised and became a bigger hit on the big screen.* Check the details below. Above video by battyguy. Thank you.

With CGI (Computer Generated Images), the heroes came alive on the giant cinema screens and the whole world of superheroes thrilled the world once more.

Stan Lee was huge in Singapore with thousands of fans buying his comics and watching movies of the superheroes he created. Even Seniors are buying up these comic books to read or collect. Local cinemas are always full when Marvel superhero movies are screened.
Stan Lee's comic characters from the covers of older booklets. The paper was newsprint and if touched for periods of time, the ink would smear on our fingers.

As a child, I started reading this colourful booklet every day but it was another superhero from a different comic label. I remember the paper was made of newsprint and had my fingers all dirty with the ink on them. But the comics were cheap. And you pay a few cents for first-class entertainment in your hands. 


Spiderman Theme Song:*
It was first produced for the TV series and elevated to full orchestration scale with Spiderman Homecoming (2017). As human beings, we can allow ourselves to improve and expand just as well. We're all superhumans one way or another.

Comic Stories Connections on this blog:

'Spiderman Homecoming Theme 2017'. Thank you. Video Benjamin Squires.
Composed and arranged by Benjamin Squires. Original Spider-Man theme composed by Paul Francis Webster and Robert "Bob" Harris.

Images: Google and Stan Lee's Twitter masthead below:

Monday, November 12, 2018

Circle Game - Joni Mitchell: Do Lyrics Age?

Songs I Love:

Circle Game
(With reference to the lyrics please.)

This song's been recorded by more than 200 international artistes but it wasn't much of a hit for the singer-composer who recorded it.

I have no comment about its popularity but love the lyrics and what it meant to me then and how different the lyrics are today with a senior's mindset. 

Some lines connected well:

We're captive on the carousel of time

We can't return, we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.

It's natural but commonplace that we should think back and regret painfully that certain aspects of our life could have turned out differently?  But go along that line and we could end up psychologically perturbed and be in a tumble. So just be happy with our lot? For me, yes.

At Carnegie Hall in 1972; singing with her audience. Video by Hannah Green. Thank you

In the composition, written by one of the greatest Canadian songwriters ever, Ms Joni Mitchell described the young man in question as one who's turned sixteen springs and sixteen summers. He's like my grandson and other children announcing with pride, "No I'm not twelve, I'm thirteen, a teenager." It's like hey I'm no kid anymore. But the advice:

Take your time it won't be long now, Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down. Yes, drag your feet or wish you were 48 instead of 84. So as the years go by and the boy turned twenty his dreams would have lost some significance. 

For me, at this age, as one of the painted ponies that go up and down, there are hardly any more dreams, except that the grandchildren would grow up safe and have a full life. Hopefully for them: There'll be new dreams and maybe better dreams and plenty, Before the last revolving year is through.  

Joni Mitchell was one lady I thought I could meet during my long stay in Winnipeg, Manitoba but never did. Not during the mid-80's.

he's born on the 7th of November 1943.

Happy Birthday, Ms Mitchell.
Hong Kong singer, Agnes Chan and Penny Lim with Silver Stones from Singapore, recorded this song. 

A few Asian singers recorded this song. Just for reference, below is a shorter list of singers who have recorded Circle Game:

Tom Rush

Buffy Sainte Marie
George Hamilton IV


Penny Lim and The Silverstone
The Travellers

Ricky Ely

Ian Campbell Group
Tokyo's Coolest Combo

Agnes Chan

Maureen McGovern
Ian Campbell Group 
and others.
A Carousel of Life where painted ponies go up and down in the Circle Game.

Connect Circle Game Recordings:

An original article.
Google images and gif.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Singapore DPM Tharman Finds Andy's 60s Music Blog Most Interesting

DPM Tharman on his Facebook profile picture. 
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam, in his usual cool and unhurried way, could have browsed through this blog after I provided him with a copy of the Tharman Quotes Elvis article last week on Facebook. I have never sent a posting to any VIP, let alone a VVIP. It was my first time. But below is his encouraging reply. Thank you very much, DPM.
Sunday 4 November 2018 4.47pm. Dear Andy, Thanks for sharing the blog post with me. Your whole blog is most interesting. It adds to the memories of those of us who grew up with the music of the era. Best wishes, TS. The Tharman Quotes Elvis Article:

Friday, November 02, 2018

November Twilight: As 2018 Ends After Christmas

Julie London had a quiet song called, November Twilight. She's known for her 'Cry Me A River' big hit.

Gone Till November, November Has Come, November, November Boogie, 8th Of November and November Twilight are pop songs about this month.

It's November, my month because it's this time of the year when I was born but a long time ago. So it's my favourite season.

There are some sweet songs about this cool, autumnal spell, definitely more than two dozens, but my post is about every named month on the calendar; so let's find out how many melodies there are.

This list is but a fraction:

June In January - Bing Crosby 
February Brings The Rain - Julie London
Melancholy March - Julie London 

April Love - Pat Boone 

April In Portugal - Les Baxter
First Of May - Bee Gees

Then there's 
June Is Busting Out All Over - Rodgers/Hammerstein 
July Morning - Uriah Heep 

August, October - Robin Gibb
September In The Rain - Frank Sinatra, Carole King 
September Morn - Neil Diamond

When October Goes - Barry Manilow 
This October - Julie London
November Twilight - Julie London 

November Rain - Guns n Roses
I Can See The Sun In Late December - Stevie Wonder
December Song - George Michael.
The cover of London's famous Long Play she recorded depicting months.

Julie London woos Calendar months? 

On the same subject, Ms London had specially recorded a Long Play record in 1956 using all the names of the months for the titles of her songs. Unique indeed. Here they are:

June in January 
February Brings The Rain 
Melancholy March 
I'll Remember April 
People Who Are Born In May 
Memphis In June 
Sleigh Ride In July 
Time For August 
September In The Rain 
This October 
November Twilight 
Warm In December 
Thirteenth Month.

All calendar months were featured in many pop songs of the past. Most of them are still playing over the radio today. April Love, April In Portugal, First Of May, an instrumental Come September, were some of the top hits in Singapore.

These particular songs were heard on radio, Rediffusion, in cabarets and hotel nightspots during the 60s and available on vinyl too. At that time most music was copied from the west and resurrected on vinyl with local artistes and bands singing and playing them. 

Then Neil Sedaka came, with one of his biggest hits and highlighted the calendar girl. The world and Singapore went wild.

A nostalgic November to all.

CALENDAR GIRL (N.Sedaka/H.Greenfield). Video by mjuzik PL. Thank you.

I love, I love, I love my calendar girl
Yeah, sweet calendar girl
I love, I love, I love my calendar girl
Each and every day of the year

(January) You start the year off fine
(February) You're my little valentine
(March) I'm gonna march you down the aisle
(April) You're the Easter Bunny when you smile

Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl
I love, I love, I love my little calendar girl
Every day (every day), every day (every day) of the year
(Every day of the year)
Cover of Julie London's record done in 1956, special indeed those years.

(May) Maybe if I ask your dad and mom
(June) They'll let me take you to the Junior Prom
(July) Like a firecracker all aglow
(August) When you're on the beach you steal the show

Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl
I love, I love, I love my little calendar girl
Every day (every day), every day (every day) of the year
(Every day of the year)

Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl
I love, I love, I love my little calendar girl
Every day (every day), every day (every day) of the year.
November Twilight. Julie London. YouTube, Thank you.

Images: Google.
Original article: 
Andy Lim.
Re-edited on: 3rd November 2018.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween Chills With A Bewitching Waitress

An illustration of what the waitress looks like, a mix of Indonesian and Chinese petiteness. She was of course dressed in a more simple outfit.

Devil Woman by both Cliff Richard and Johnny Lion are different songs but with the same title. I had featured both songs in a Hungry Ghost Month and a Halloween posting earlier on this blog. 

Since Halloween is around the corner, let me relate this story that discusses a very pretty waitress in an Indonesian restaurant in Singapore. She is beautiful, especially with her bewitching looks.

This particular Indonesian restaurant has dishes that are authentic and an atmosphere that is cordial. The food is similar to what my mother used to cook at home when I was a child, a treat of home food.

Black Magic Woman by Santana. Video by courtesy of Thank you.

I was with my wife and a lady waitress came to serve us. This one was a stunner!  She had porcelain skin and quality features, with remarkably high cheekbones, definitely a photographer's delight.

Surprised by her stunning beauty my wife got into a conversation after complimenting that her face was flawless. She beamed with delight. She also had a petite nose, "Hidung macung..." (sharp nose) when we both described her. Tall and slim she would fit any modelling agency's resume.

But her most unique feature was her eyes. They looked pearly and sea green and seemed to shine under the dim restaurant lights that evening. But there was something different about them.

We placed our orders and in the midst of eating, she came to our table and told us that she was of mixed parentage. I honestly forgot the racial combination, extremely exquisite to remember. Very interesting.

An illustration of a lady in meditation. This waitress vanquishes evil spirits.

She was multi-lingual too and we heard samplings of the languages she could speak; she rattled off in Dutch, French, Spanish, Chinese, some dialects, Indonesian and bits and pieces of other languages. My wife and I were both fascinated.

Since the restaurant was not busy that evening, my wife asked how she managed her beautiful self. Her answer. in delightful Indonesian:

"I drink a jug of water every night before bed and I believe the water cleanses the toxins in my body."

But her beauty was not the actual attraction because what she told us surprised us that Halloween season. 

She explained that she practised meditation very seriously; this regime helped her maintain her beauty and physical fitness. She went on to explain that she was able to "distinguish the good and evil spirits that come before me when I meditate. They appear like images out of a book."

She was able to manage these spirits and send the negative ones away. She was also able to see dead people as some of them would walk around her sometimes. Shades of Bruce Willis, black magic and sorcery! She could tell the future, read your palms and quietly whispered in my ears, "Seduce you!"

A clairvoyant! OK! My wife was taken aback by her tale and behaviour and was becoming a little concerned but the waitress carried on to explain her supernatural abilities:

"Dead bodies should not be cremated because they can feel the pain. Burial is best," she concluded. The piece of rendang (Indonesian beef dish) in my mouth seemed to have melted down my throat. I swallowed hard.

"I know!" she looked at us with her darting eyes. "I can hear them scream when I go to the Mandai Crematorium to watch them burn."
Witchcraft by Frank Sinatra. Video provided by from YouTube. Thank you.

Strange that she was standing beside us all the time, while the other waitresses were busy with their chores. My wife and I could feel the chill of the air-conditioning.

"I have an aunt in Bali," she carried on, "and I have helped her get rid of a persistent troublemaker in her large bungalow in the suburbs. It was a JIN (an imp)." Apparently, the JIN came back when she was not around.  People in her kampong (village) laughed at her in disbelief when she told her stories. They said that she was a mental case, that she's GILA (crazy). 

When we left the restaurant we thanked her for her stories and gave her a small tip. She thanked us too with much gratefulness and enthusiasm. As we left everyone looked our way as she had an aura about her. To have left was a relief for us.

The next time we came round again, the head waiter told us she had already left. Why? The boss didn't like that she talked too much. According to a new head-waiter, she had troubled some customers.

I forgot to ask her name. 

Happy Halloween 2018 everyone!👿
Witchy Woman by VictoriaM1 from Deviant Art Website. Thank you for pix.

A short list of songs pertaining to the topic: 

Voodoo Child - Jimmy Hendrix Experience 

That Old Black Magic - Sammy Davis Jr 
Witchcraft - Frank Sinatra 

Magic Carpet Ride  - Steppenwolf 

Ghost Busters - Ray Parker Jr 
Magical Mystery Tour - Beatles 
An Indonesian Balinese Imp (Indo: JIN) that causes mischief and havoc if it is found in any household. It is usually a small creature-like nuisance.

Black Magic Woman - Santana 

You Can Do Magic - America 
Good Luck Charm - Elvis Presley 

Superstition - Stevie Wonder 

Magic - Olivia Newton-John 
With A Little Luck - Paul McCartney and Wings 

Do You Believe In Magic - Lovin Spoonful 

Witchdoctor - David Seville
Witchy Woman - Eagles
Images: Google

Friday, October 26, 2018

Economist Elvis Presley & DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam:

Elvis Presley and Deputy Prime Minister, Singapore: Tharman Shanmugaratnam

I have always appreciated Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, with his quiet humour and intelligent ways. Look at his eyes when he's being questioned and you can see them darting back and forth behind those glasses. He's one for a quick reply but scribbles on paper first before he provides an answer. 

So what has Mr Tharman, Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, to do with a 60's music blog? A surprising connection.

He quoted a famous superstar from the 60's at the end of his speech. During the Group of 30 International Banking Seminar  on October 14, on a lighter note and to the delight of serious looking participants, he recited famous lines from The King of Rock n Roll:

"This was an economist called Elvis Presley, who unfortunately deceased now but made a significant impact on economic thought. And in one of his master treatises, he said, 'A little less conversation, a little more action, please. A little less fight and a little more spark. Close your mouth and open your heart, and baby, satisfy me.'"

Elvis Presley: A Little Less Conversation... From the movie 'Live A Little, Love A Little'. Video from Jimmy Cool. Thank you.

In context and as Co-ordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies he felt that there should be an urgency for more action and less conversation amongst the economists and policymakers across the world. Everyone thought so too, listening to the applause.

Mr Presley would have been pleased to know that he's being quoted using a song composed by Mac Davis and Billy Strange in 1968 for his movie Live A Little, Love A Little.

Images: Google
YouTube Video: Jimmy Cool.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

International Stars @ National Theatre: Stephen Han

The National Theatre Singapore 60s had many international stars on stage.

Mr Stephen Han (right) was a pop sixties enthusiast way back when. He is still one today and a regular concert goer for many of the pop 60's shows so currently in demand amongst the seniors.

When I asked Stephen if he could write an article again for this blog he agreed. He writes well, has such a good memory, that remembering names and occasions have always been easy. This piece is the second by Mr Han. he has written one about meeting Rita Moreno at the Cathay Cinema.*

Again thanks, Stephen.

Singers, Bands, Local And Abroad:

The National Theatre had been demolished many years ago but the memories of the many concerts and shows still linger in my mind.

The first concert I attended in the early 60s was performed by Brenda Lee a.k.a. Miss Dynamite. Her voice was so sweet on numbers like 'Walk Away' and 'Johnny One Time' and so powerful on 'Dum Dum'. Petite and pretty Miss Lee was a great attraction with the crowd.
Brenda Lee: 'Dum Dum'. Video from Heath Wilson. Thank you. Great sound.

I can also vividly recall that other American recording stars like Eartha Kitt, Nancy Wilson and my idols, Pat Boone and Johnny Mathis had also performed at this theatre. Popular big bands like Xavier Cugat, Edmundo Ros, Perez Prado and the German band James Last drew large crowds. 

During the British Invasion when the hits of the Beatles and other bands were popular, lots of groups from the United Kingdom came over to showcase their talent. I had the pleasure of watching The Bee Gees featuring the late Robin Gibbs as lead singer. Others who came included The Hollies, Dave Clark 5, Herman's Hermits, Freddie and The Dreamers.

There was a Taekwondo (TKD) variety show that featured the physical might of Rhee Khee Har. His wife was a local singer, very p
opular those years, called June Mok. Do you still remember that name?
It was an unforgettable sight watching Mr Rhee, a powerful man, displaying his kata (form) and quick-as-lightning TKD kicks. Bricks and planks were smashed to smithereens when he used his weapons, his hands. This Korean martial art was popular during the 60's. Even the Filipino group D'Starlites displayed their ability before each music performance.

Many of our Singapore concerts like these ones discussed were organised by pioneer show promoter, Johnnie Young. (Johnnie was a good friend of Stephen Han as the picture below shows; extreme right: Johnnie Young, with sweater: Stephen Han.) 
One of Johnnie's notable shows was the Sanyo Spectacular in 1969. It featured the well-known dancing duo, Sunny and Betty Low. They were a brother and sister team and wowed the audiences in the 60's with their rock n roll and famous Cha Cha Cha and Mambo steps and costumes.

Crowd favourites included Sakura and Rita Chao who sang with the backing of The Stylers, a band so famous that they were the accompanying guitar guys for many top singers and recording artistes for both the Chinese and English crowds.

As I write this article the sound of 60's music can be heard ringing in my ears.
John Calvert @ The National Theatre:

"I still recall my younger days at the National Theatre in the John Calvert Magical-Rama Show - Top Gunter."

"I saw John Calvert Magic Show at the Sky Theatre. He was assisted by the pretty Pixie Monteiro.

"He was good in hypnosis. During his show, he would invite about ten people and sat them on chairs and hypnotized them and made them perform funny acts to make his audiences laugh. I remembered he drove a car blindfolded through the streets of Singapore - Stephen Han."

Dates and venues may not be accurate as many postings on this blog have been written from memory. 

Written by Stephen Han.
Images: Stephen Han (Copyrighted). 
YouTube video: Heath Wilson (2013).