Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas Songs 2018: Jackie Evancho, Sia, Mariah Carey, My Lil Snowman, Santa's Coming For Us, O Holy Night


These 3 songs are for all my viewers, friends and support writers who have been reading and helping out with this blog. Thank you and God Bless.
Ray Massey: Daily Mail:

I was looking for new Christmas songs to refresh my blog pages since the current list drew nearly 3,000+ readers i.e., A List of 60 Christmas Songs from the '60s. The figure is encouraging because there are thousands of such lists on the internet. So to create this year's happening I am only highlighting three songs on this post; personal favourites.
Mariah Carey with her Lil Snowman, a real, rock n roll treat for the hots. 

Song One:

The first is by an established singer who needs no introduction. It's with a rock beat and a Christmas roll. And this festive one is called Lil Snowman. With so much heat in his music, the Iceman might just melt. Lyrics are simple, for the children actually, but I love the '60s rock-a-billy rhythm. 

The singer is voluptuous Mariah Carey with a 2017 song. She needs no introduction and has a long hit list. With a music history of 14 studio albums, which includes a soundtrack and two Christmas ones, the second of which has this song. It is very Elvis, very Chuck Berry with that cling cling cling jazz. 

Lil Snowman is by Maria Carey. It's got that 60's rock n roll beat Seniors love? 

YouTube Video from Payton Samuels. Thank you.

Song Two:

Another Christmas new song is by a lady called Sia - no not Singapore Airlines - but just Sia. She is from Down Under and is everything that a singer needs to be: she's a producer, a director, etc. She does pop genres and acid jazz. And this festive number is a hit. 

Lady singer Sia, great show lady with that kinda song today's people love to hear.

She has a powerful voice and it's called Santa's Coming For Us in off-beat pop which is well-received today. It made the charts and was popular especially in Canada, New Zealand, Israel, Japan and South Korea. 

I doubt any bearded friend will come to visit us since our apartments are devoid of chimneys. But who knows, with flying electric cars being produced soon, he might just stop by our balconies or windows (first image).

Lady singer Sia, great show lady with Santa's Coming For Us. Merry Xmas. Video from Jinx Promotion. Thank you.

Song Three:

When youth sing the classics. Born at the beginning of this century, she's only 18 and was discovered by America's Got Talent in 2010 at the age of 10. She's one of the youngest debut artiste in US music history. 

In the same year, she recorded O Holy Night and the classic became an overnight success. Her rendition claimed #1 on the Billboard Classical Album Chart. Young, fresh and a very pretty girl, Ms Jacqueline Marie, Jackie Evancho has all the ingredients to be a success in the music field. 
Jacqueline Marie, Jackie Evancho: a flawless voice, strong, pure and vibrant.

What I love most is her clear, strong, pure and vibrant voice; so listen to her interpretation of a song that brings new meaning to the phrase, holy night. It doesn't sound like a commercial package. 

According to a composer, her voice has no flaw in it. Ms Evancho is also known as a classical crossover artiste. To me, it's just a label, coined to suit. She can carry any song.

Check out YouTube and listen to her interpretation of the Phantom of the Opera favourite, Music of the Night. Meantime, here she is from yours sincerely.


Jacqueline Marie, Jackie Evancho has all the ingredients to be a success in the music field. She sings O Holy Night. Video from Jackie Evancho World. Thank you.

Images and Videos have been acknowledged. Thank you.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Nancy Wilson: Goodbye: 1937-2018 A Lot of Livin' To Do

I'd like to thank Horace Wee and Stephen Han for their constant contribution to this blog. Without them and other contributors, this blog would go off track.

Goodbye Nancy Wilson:

My sister-in-law introduced me again to Nancy Wilson in the 1980s. Her stacks of Wilson's vinyl albums kept me agog for a long time.  Later when she moved out, she gave them away, unwilling to lug heavy-duty paraphernalia.  I was in shock, seeing Wilson's best selections gone to the karung-guni man (rag and bone guy).

Ms. Wilson has passed away at 81 years on 13 December 2018 and we all send our condolences to her family.

She likes to be known as a song stylist although she has other labels pinned on her like a torch singer (a very classic term indeed), the baby, Honey-Coated Voice or a jazz singer. But she is a stylist because, with 70 albums recorded in 50 years, that's a lot of special music by Nancy Wilson.

If I can connect myself to one song, just one, it will be: A Lot of Livin' To Do (Bye, Bye, Birdie: 1960) because it's when I first heard her in a record shop a long time ago in the mid-sixties, way before I remember her again afterward. Not her own original but a lovely song so vibrant and vigorous.

Horace Wee, famed hot rod guitarist from the '60s and afterward has this to say about her when he relayed the message of her passing:

"I saw her in the early years when she broke into the scene. Still, remember she was young and gorgeous in a white frock/dress highlighting her ebony tones. It was a jazz gig (long before her entry into pop) and showed off how good her jazz 'chops' were. I don't remember where it was but only a small jazz club.

The consensus at the time was that she had the potential to follow in the steps of jazz great female vocalists like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. She remained elegant in her late years, unlike a lot of African-American women who bloat up as they get older." 

Stephen Han, a pop 60's local music enthusiast, who also writes for this blog has witnessed many performances all over Singapore. He writes: "I was head over heels when I was treated to the Nancy Wilson Concert at the National Theatre in the '60s. 

She was a young and budding singer then, specializing in jazz and pops. Ms. Wilson sang beautifully and I enjoyed every moment of her performance.
RIP Nancy Wilson, you still got a lot of living up there with the other music greats. So a temporary goodbye then. 

Images: Google. 

YouTube Videos.

Monday, December 10, 2018

National Theatre Singapore Charity Concert 1965: Robin Chng

Robin Chng has kindly written this article to highlight a charity show staged at our famous theatre on 27 March 1965. He was the organising committee secretary. I am still wishing that more Singaporeans like him could donate music stories to this blog. . Thank you so much, Robin, for your generosity and contribution.
"273 EXCLUSIVE CHARITY CONCERT 1965" at the National Theatre.
The Gan Eng Seng School Old Students Association.
More than half a century ago when tragedy befell a member of our group of bosom buddies (former classmates in secondary school), we got together and decided to help raise funds for our unfortunate buddy who became paralyzed as a result of a swimming mishap. A fellow paralytic Johnny Ang whom older readers would probably have heard of also chipped in (National Library archived articles from The Straits Times) after learning of our buddy's plight. As mentioned in the articles, we got together to help raise funds for paralytic Tham Kok Seng to enable him to purchase a possum machine. It would have been a cinch today with crowd funding but alas this was in the sixties.
As pop bands performances were a draw in those days, we decided to organize a variety concert featuring local pop bands, a magic act, dancers and even someone who could coax music from a saw with a violin bow. After forming a committee and assigning the various roles amongst ourselves, we went about seeking sponsors, artistes/performers, emcee, choosing a date for the concert and booking the venue. The date and venue for the concert - 27 March 65 and The National Theatre - were duly chosen. Quite aptly, we named the concert "273 Exclusive" as it was to be held on 27/3/1965.
As it turned out, the concert opened to a sellout crowd much to the delight of the organizers and all participants who made the event possible. I have kept the concert's programme booklet all these years - the accompanying photos capture the programme booklet in its entirety. All the participants who are still around today are probably grand-fathers/mothers. They would be proud to show this record to their families their sincere contribution to Singapore's cultural and LQ heritage. Seniors reading this article are likely able to remember the distinguished guests, radio personality, the then Minister of Health and all the artistes who performed there that night. Younger readers may have also heard of them, perhaps from their parents.
On a side note, many of us from the pioneer/Merdeka generation are deeply saddened that our National Heritage Board wasn't able to gazette the National Theatre for conservation. Singaporeans from all walks of life had generously and proudly contributed their hard earned money to the "a-dollar-a-brick" fundraising campaign. Most notably, even trishaw riders and coolies contributed too. This despite their meagre and irregular earnings. Together with funds jointly donated by the government, our National Theatre was officially opened on 8 Aug 1963.

Throughout its 23-yr span, many famous pop stars and bands performances were held there. Regrettably, this iconic building had to be demolished due to structural problems and was torn down in Aug 1986. A crying shame I might add. Structural problems could easily have been corrected with the building technology available then. Our country's finances were sound too. Conserving the theatre was thus clearly doable.
Everyone who had heeded the call to give generously towards the building fund were thus dismayed. It was truly a "peoples" National Theatre, built in no small part through the support of the citizens and yet didn't deserve to be conserved. 

Were you at this concert with a star-studded cast of Singapore artistes? Do write in to tell us. 

This article has been written by Robin Chng. 
The article and images: Copyrights Reserved.
Read about his brother Jimmy Chng and The Decibels:

Saturday, December 08, 2018

A Short Tribute To Zul Sutan. R.I.P. Good Sir.

Zulkifli Bin Sutan, one of the famous faces from band Tania, passed away peacefully on the 5th of December 2018. He was not in good health and was 61 years young. Zul, as he was better known, with his iconic beard, was one of the most popular and talented Singapore musicians on this little island. 

According to his daughter, although unwell these past few months, Mr Zul was still doing his turn at a local Mexican restaurant. He was a very dedicated musician and started it all at the age of 17 years. 

He was honoured with an Artistic Excellence Award at the COMPASS (Composers and Authors Society of Singapore) ceremony in September 2018.

Condolences to his family. 

RIP Zul. 

This blog welcomes comments from readers and friends of Mr Zul. Please...
Cover performance of "Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd" performed by Zul at the Esplanade Theater Singapore 29 Nov 2013. Video: Zul Sutan.
This tribute comes a little late so do excuse me. I was away and was without my trusty computer.

Image: Taken from Mr Zul's Facebook page.

Friday, November 30, 2018

A Star Is Born With Lady Gaga's La Vie En Rose

Songs I Love:

After watching the latest movie version of A Star Is Born with Lady Gaga singing La Vie En Rose (Life In Rosy Hues), I realised that oldies, featured in tons of movies, are truly goldies and that they become hits again with the younger listeners. 

Without further ado, here's the latest lady to sing this classic signature song composer and French singer Edith Piaf, written in 1945 and released in '47. 

Covered by quite a number of famous vocalists like Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Tony Martin and Bing Crosby, it has been featured in many movies as background and as a feature song. Grace Jones recorded it and Madonna sang it during a tour.

Strange though when I asked local musicians, many of them have never heard of this song, let alone familiar with the lyrics or the melody. Jazz and standards enthusiasts know this one though. Pronouncing the title is a challenge in itself, so roughly it's like: /la vee ong roz/

Just enjoy it folks, the latest 2018 version by the lady with the loveliest voice today Stephanie Joanne Angelina Germanotta.

Latest News:
Both stars are in placings for awards?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mars Landing November 2018 NASA's InSight: Like Fireball XL5 Song

NASA Insight Lander launcher has zoomed its way to Mars as predicted by Fireball XL5 song. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

We'll cruise along the Milky Way
And land upon the moon
To a wonderland of stardust
We'd zoom our way to Mars...

              Fireball XL5 Full Theme Song - Video by tucsondog.

NASA InSight Mission has finally landed on Mars on 27 November 2018 "for the eighth time in human history (Jim Bridenstine: NASA Administrator)". The broadcast went around the world. 

When I watched it I remember that one of my favourite songs was Fireball XL5, a theme song for the TV Series of the same name. It took many years but again fiction has become reality as the lyrics of this song predicted the landing somewhat. I used this song whenever I appeared with the Silver Strings to perform live at the Celestial Room nightclub at Orchard Road.

This song which was also performed during the concert at the Orchid Country Club on July 23/23 in 2009 was not played much by local bands in the '60s. It is a simple and catchy song and loved by those who watched the '60s television series when such shows were produced, without the need for IT and computer graphics. I stopped singing it because some band members think it is "too childish."

There were many more instrumentals and songs about space travel, the universe and flights to the moon and other planets. Do you know any of them?

Fireball XL5
Composer: Barry Gray/Vocalist: Don Spencer.

"I wish I was a spaceman/The fastest guy alive/I'd fly you round the universe/In Fireball XL5./Way out in space together/Conquerors of the stars/My heart would be a fireball, a fireball/Every time I gazed into your starry eyes.

We'll take the path to Jupiter/And maybe very soon/We'll cruise along the Milky Way/And land upon the moon/To a wonderland of stardust/We'd zoom our way to Mars/My heart would be a fireball, a fireball/And you would be my Venus of the stars."
NASA Insight Landing Launcher 2018 United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 Rocket Vandenberg Air Force Base California May 2018

Robert J Sawyer - Novelist, Futurist, Keynote Speaker/Best novel Hugo and Nebula Award Winner wrote on his website.

"And finally the song is getting the recognition it deserves: the latest edition of the Penguin Television Companion has named it the number 2 greatest theme song of all time. Most US viewers may not know it, but the British and Canadians of my generation certainly do.

Interestingly, the HBO series, From the Earth to the Moon used it as the theme music for one episode, too - the episode Spider - about the designing of the Lunar Module." 

Information from: 1. 2. Robert J. Sawyer Website.
At Cape Kennedy, Florida in the late '80s USA. Huge site with Control Rooms, etc.

Songs about Space Travel and the Universe:

Telstar: The Tornados
Rocket Man: Elton John
Supersonic Rocket Ship: The Kinks

Space Oddity: David Bowie
Lucky Star: Madonna
Space Truckin': Deep Purple*

Space Cowboy: Steve Miller Band
Bad Moon Rising: CCR
Aquarius: The 5th Dimension

Shining Star: Earth, Wind n Fire
Across The Universe:  Beatles
Saturn: Stevie Wonder

Here Comes The Sun: George Harrison
Good Morning Starshine: Oliver
Moon Dance: Van Morrison

Marie Tang sings Fireball XL5. Click connection to read:

(This is a non-profit, non-commercial posting to help preserve the music of our youth. Lyrics/music are the copyright of the respective owners. Surfers are encouraged to buy their music.)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Greatest Showman: Musical Bonding: Zendaya, Zack Efron, Nicole Scherzinger n J2

2017 musical about circus people with a soundtrack worth listening to.

I have a sweet little granddaughter (10) who is so much into the arts that she just loves to draw, sing and dance. She is also a ballet dancer, a junior black
belt holder and live concert enthusiast but I shall just focus on the songs for this posting.

I started introducing her to pop songs and one of them was from Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1999). She was very young then, so together with her brothers (11, 6), they sang and enjoyed the lyrics of Jason Donovan's Any Dream Will Do (1991). Elder grandson was already enjoying the Blue Diamond's version of Mr Sandman (1960).
Julie Andrews, Jason Donovan, Kermit from earlier musicals and TV series and the late Blue Diamonds. Asia's and Europe's favourite duo.

When the three of us watched the movie, with Donny Osmond in the lead they both registered the songs so easily and learnt to sing them just as quickly. I continued with the soundtrack and movie from Phantom of The Opera (2004). One musical led to another and at the end of a few weeks, she ended up remembering sing-a-longs from The Sound Of Music (1965). Three musicals at one gulp.

What really happened was, that a
fter a heavy dosage of pure Nicole Scherzinger and Sarah Brightman singing Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom selection, we both slowed down listening to the sound of Julie Andrew's music and her Von Trapp family. Yes, the two children didn't mind, Do Re Mi and other Rodgers and Hammerstein's classics.

Sarah Brightman and Nicole Scherzinger both sing for Phantom Of The Opera musical.

For a change, I introduced them to the Muppet Show (1976) and, Rainbow Connection (1979) - Paul Williams - but the lyrics were not easy to explain. Somehow they managed. My granddaughter fell in love with Kermit, the third generation love call. But they are still struggling with, "Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors..."

Nicole Scherzinger with her rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera'.

The tables turned one day when we both had nothing to do and she requested, "Grandpa, can I listen to the soundtrack from, The Greatest Showman?" (2017)

"What?" I asked her, standing up from the sofa. "You know Wolverine!"

"Yes I do," she replied in her usual sweet way, "but his real name is Hugh Jackman. And have you heard of Zendaya and Loren Allred?"

I blinked but then realized that through the months we had connected well and naturally. So now it was her turn to teach me the latest songs. We turned on YouTube and listened to Showman: From Now On, The Other Side, This Is Me, Rewrite The Stars (Zendaya, Zack Efron), A Million Dreams, Come Alive and Never Be Enough (Loren Allred). And she had watched the movi a few times.

Zendaya with Zack Efron singing 'Rewrite The Stars' in 'The Greatest Showman'  (2017).

I struggled to learn just one and its lyrics but never really succeeded. How easy it was in the '60s to learn so many songs in a day. Now the kids are doing it just the same and easily too from the internet.

"So how many of the Showman songs are you familiar with?"


'Mr Sandman' with the late Blue Diamonds. Such a wonderful brotherly duo. 

"Would you like to take up piano lessons?" I asked her.

She looked at me and smiled. 

"You listen to Maroon 5's Sugar and I'll think about it," she replied.

Tough call.
Zendaya: 'Rewrite The Stars' (left) and Loren Allred: 'Never Be Enough' from the musical, 'The Greatest Showman'.
With Dr Victor Wong, Ms Nora Tann, MD: Tanora Enterprise, granddaughter J, myself and Joey Koh, Uni mate, at the newly renovated Victoria Memorial Hall, Singapore. 
Loren Allred: 'Never Be Enough' from the musical, 'The Greatest Showman'.

Images: Google.
YouTube Videos.

There is no intention to promote any movie or song. This experience is genuine and written for my granddaughter to encourage her to write a diary or engage in free writing. 

If there is any copyright infringement, please write on the Comment Page and videos or photographs will be deleted immediately.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Andy 60's Music Is 11 Years Young Today


Gif from Google

Happy Birthday. 

Thanks to all who have been supporting it these past 10 years. 

Andy Young.
Above Statistics from Flag Counter 22 November 2018 map showing 204 different countries.
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22 November 2018
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80,000+ viewers per month (February 2018)

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