Sunday, December 07, 2008

'Andy Young' Was Only An Attractive Stage Name

(1) Andy Young n The Silver Strings' at the Kallang P.A. in 1964.
From Lim To Young:

My moniker was changed for no other reason except that having a Western-sounding name in the 60's was the in-thing. 'Young' was stylish and suitable. It followed the Hollywood practice when 'Rock Hudson' and 'Engelbert Humperdinck' were names that could attract the crowd. 'Roy Harold Scherer Jr.' and 'Arnold George Dorsey' could not.

Furthermore, we had, in Singapore, a well-known Singapore entertainment entrepreneur called Johnny Young. He was the man behind most of the pop shows and stage performances that we had in the 60s. Everywhere you can see banners and posters of these shows organised by 'Johnny Young'. As the months went by my name stuck and I was known as Andy Young.

For our group, everything came into place. Was it a gimmick? No, it wasn't. It was done in fun and we enjoyed the name game change. Thinking about it now, it was really silly. Why would I change my meaningful Chinese surname into a Western one?

(2) Advertisements like the above were common in the 60's.
First Gig At PA:

As far as I can remember, this gig (image) was one of my first with The Silver Strings. The occasion was a dinner and dance at the former Kallang Airport in the Mountbatten area on the East Coast. The main airport building became the People's Association, one of many organizations built by the People's Action Party government to encourage citizen participation amidst a new and upcoming Singapore island state. Their large get-together was organized by a commercial house and that was where we had one of the first few performances as a group.

Suits From Sam Tailor:

Resplendently dressed, we had suits and pants made by Sam Tailor, a very well established tailor situated at Tanjong Katong Road on the East Coast of Singapore. Sam, a Singapore Cantonese, was exceptionally skilled in tailoring suits for the famous and was one of very few in the trade to specialize in adorning Singapore 60's bands and vocalists. And he made tons! Good for him! But, unlike Sam, we played more for sheer enjoyment than anything else. Money was not an incentive then as we basked in the limelight of musical entertainment.

And if you look at the image carefully and noticed the boots? Yes, they are Beatles boots. The mop-hair quartet was already established then and, 'She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah', could be heard all over the nightclubs, restaurants and bars in sultry Singapore.

(3) The Velvetones. They became the Firebyrds and recorded with Philips.
Silver Strings Line-up:

Image 3 was the first band I sang with.  Called The Velvetones, they practised in a large bungalow house at Lorong 39 near where I lived. Check 'Velvetones' below to read the details.

Image  1 shows the 2nd line-up of the Silver Strings when lead guitar David Chan, a handsome and dashing Hainanese replaced Richard Chia, the first guitarist who played lead for a while. The first rhythm guitarist was Wilfred Chew or 'Ah Chew' as we knew him. It was at Ah Chew's big, bungalow house in Tanjong Katong that we had our practices then. He was a very generous person and sometimes played with his large Hofner f-hole sunburst guitar on stage.

Drummer Osman Khan, an Indian Muslim became 'Danny Boy' and, as the same story goes, a more attractive sounding name that I gave. He was a joy to behold, small, quiet and polite as he got lost amidst the bass drum, side drums and symbols when he took his place with the percussion. This man doesn't seem to grow old.

Audie is the bass guitarist and leader of the band. He still is today. Each of the three guitarists had a Hofner, the only guitar-type that was affordable for an up-coming band. So while they had instruments to hold, Danny Boy had his side-drum I had to make do with the microphone in my hand. That was the way the band culture went in the 60s in terms of photo taking. And that was the rule we followed.

Images/original article: Andy Lim.
Newspaper advertisement: Straits Times Press Singapore.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wah, groovy and handsome.