Saturday, May 08, 2010

Larry Lai King Of Singapore 60s Airwaves (Pt I)

"Larry Lai was a household name in many homes with Rediffusion of the 60s in Singapore. Djs' were the celebrities playing the music we like. Many teens spent countless hours listening to songs requested through Larry Lai. 

As he would say many years later in Andy's blog that he would find stacks of song request slips attached to the windshield wiper of his car from fans every morning. 

My personal word to Larry is "how can we forget you fulfilling a sentimental song request from the Valentino Bros to the Valentino Sisters, both of Tiong Bahru, for "TELL LAURA I LOVE HER and TAKE GOOD CARE OF MY BABY."
For the Larry Lai Story, see Andy's Blog 

(From Henri Gann)."


The original 2010 article:

When I first met Larry Lai in the mid 60s, it was amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy stage at St. John's Ambulance Brigade Headquarters in Beach Road. He was the Master of Ceremonies (MC) or compere for the dinner and dance that evening as he made a formal introduction to announce my performance.

After nearly 45 years, I met this kindly gentleman again, but this time around it was amidst the solitude of a neat and air-conditioned coffee house in a vintage suburb at Serangoon Gardens in Singapore. Larry was busy with his lap top as he coaxed it to play Frankie Cheah's Woman In My Life, Sugiman Jahuri's Misty and a number by Peggy Tan I couldn't remember. "That's a brand new lappy I just got free," he remarked. As we sat in a corner and before our conversation even started, a lady at the next table called across.

"Hah," she said, "I can recognise that voice anywhere! You are Larry Lai aren't you, from Rediffusion?" It was more an announcement rather than a question. Because he is such a gentleman, Larry continued his conversation with her a while. At the end of the chat, she proudly claimed that she was still an ardent fan despite the years that had gone by. I looked at him and said quietly, "Wow. That's how powerful you are!"

So as Larry sipped his thick *kopi susu and I my **teh-tarek, he decided to tell me, after much persuasion, his long and interesting love affair with Rediffusion. As he was about to recall the year he left Outram Secondary School, I suggested lunch first...

(Many of you, in Singapore and abroad, know Larry Lai. Perhaps you'd like to tell your story too about this very pleasant gentleman.)

*For the uninitiated: *coffee/milk **frothy English tea/milk.

Thanks to Larry Lai for the drinks, meals and interview.

Image: © 2010 Larry Lai Collection. All rights reserved.

Orginal article: Andy Lim.


Thimbuktu said...

Hi Andy,

I stumbled on your "Singapore60s Andy Pop Music Influence" Blog. Great nostalgic stuff...your blog is awesome!

Coincidentally, your latest blog topic is on "Larry Lai: King of Singapore 60s Airwaves", I would like to like your blog to Outram Secondary School Alumni Group on Facebook.

Perhaps Larry's classmates and Outramians were trigger off their memories to walk down mamory lane of our schooldays "nong nong ago".

Thanks and Regards.
James Seah

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi James,
Thank you for visiting. Your blog is awesome too. I love the variety yours provides.

Please feel free to link this blog to Outram Secondary Alumni Facebook. If there are school mates out there with pictures of Larry please let me know because this posting is only the first.


Thimbuktu said...

Thank you for your nice comments, Andy. Appreciate your consent to link our alumni group on Facebook. In case you could contact Larry, pls invite him to visit FB or email me at

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi James,
You are welcome. Larry is aware as he visits this blog sometimes. I have already written to him about the FB.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you for writing. I will certainly visit the website you mentioned as my knowledge in music is greatly limited.

Lam Chun See said...

We didn't have Redifusion during Larry Lai's days. But I recall that he was host for the immensely popular Rado Show isn't it?

Anyway, I have a video tape of Larry Lai in action from the early 90's; but this time he was doing a training video for the NPB called OJT,

By the way, I think there is a song which I think is very appropriate for your blog; at least the lyrics are:

"I love all the good old ways we used to do the same things that we do now"

Listen to it here.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you for the information. I remember watching Larry Lai on the Rado Show, mesmerised by his grace and mannerisms and the way he conducted himself on the show. And he was articulate.

I never had a chance to enjoy his Rediffusion days because I never had the Box. It was always the radio at home.

Thank you for the song too. I think the lyrics are definitely appropriate for this blog.

Anonymous said...

Cliff Elvis Engelbert Leong is a name often associated with Rediffusion requesters, ie, they request pop songs of the day and have a list of friends they dedicate that particular song to.
Wonder how Mr Larry Lai feels about such requesters.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I remember those days too. There was a classmate whose REAL name is Ernest Sebastian Ricky Tan. And he's a requester.

What if there had been a Ricky Sebastian Ernest Tan asking for the same song?

Must ask Larry about it.

Thimbuktu said...

Hi Andy,

Thank you for your kind courtesy on the blog topic at
Rock and Roll Days site with a link to your interesting blog.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you too for visiting my site. I guess we live in this virtual to support each other too, like we would in the physical world.

Anonymous said...

Hey I remember larry. I used to work in Rediffusion and he was there at the time with his other croonies like Joseph Tan, Eric Lim, Victor Khoo, Vernon Cornelius, Honey Zain etc etc. Those were the good old days.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you sir. Wouldn't you like to tell us who you are and how you know Larry and the rest of the staff at Rediffusion. Were you an ardent fan of the station?

Bob said...

Hi Andy,
Was wondering if you or anyone else listened to Larry Lai presenting The British Top 20 on Rediffusion circa 1965. I have not been able to identify the instrumental signature tune nor the title/artiste that opened and closed that prog. all these years. The tune remains clear in my mind, but all searches have proved negative.
Any help to identify that tune is greatly appreciated


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Bob,

Have sent your mail to Mr Cool himself. Give him till tomorrow to reply.

Thanks for visiting.

Anonymous said...

From LL:
Yes, I remember. The programme was called 'Spinaround' and I used John Barry's 'Hit and Miss'.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

The song is also on You Tube.

Bob said...

Hi Andy,
Many thanks.
I'm afraid it was not 'HIT AND MISS' as this tune has been in my music collection.
So it may have been another programme I got confused with.


Felicia said...

Hi Andy!

I’m from Mediacorp Toggle Tv. We would like to engage Larry Lai in one of our upcoming productions.

I can be reached at

Hope to hear from Larry Lai himself soon! Thank you!


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I have passed on the message. Hope he calls you.

Felicia said...

Thanks Andy! Appreciate it.

We are actually on a tight schedule as our shoot starts next week, so it'll be good to get in touch with him soon, hopefully by today.

Thanks again, and nice blog you have here!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Felicia,

Actually my blog is not the place to look for artistes and DJs. You need to approach event companies for service. He happens to be my friend. To tell me discreetly that you need to get him quickly is not my jurisdiction nor my problem.

Glad I could help.

Edmund said...

Hi Andy got this link from th fb group "On a little Street in Singapore. I last spoke to Larry Lai in 1997/98 when I returned to Spore for 2yrs after being away for 20yrs. He was Djaying a late night program on Gold FM I think and his voice was a Blast from the past! I had to ring him cause he played track from the movie "The Eddie Duchin Story". He told me there was no CD available but that he had digitised it from an LP and not all tracks could be salvaged. Could you pls tell him that I managed to borrow an LP of reasonable condition here in Australia and have converted in to CD. If he is interested I could send it to him FOC! for all the great times and memories of his Redifusion days

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

No problem Edmund. Write to me again, leave me your email address. I won't publish it but send it to Larry. Then you both can communicate.

Thanks for the visit. Would be nice if you make some comments time and again on the blog.

Unknown said...

Hi, I have a question about Rediffusion in the 1960s. What was the opening track/song when it started broadcasting every morning. This trivia was just thrown to me. Thanks.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Nor Afidah,
Sent your question to Larry. Let's wait for the answer. Thanks for visit. Hope you're a regular.

henri gann said...

see The Trekkers Dedication to Larry Lai " King of Singapore 60s Airwaves" with Driving Guitars
on YouTube

Anonymous said...

Hello everybody
Someone mentioned Joseph Tan at Rediffusion.
It's Joseph Goh actually. Sorry for interrupting.

HH said...

I also enjoyed browsing your blog a lot. You have a lot of knowledge about local musicians of those days! Do you think I could meet you for coffee to talk about whether any of these musicians would be right for the show I'm working on?

Merv said...


I'm Mervin, only one of two direct nephews of Peggy Tan that you had graciously mentioned in your blog post. (She didn't have any children, my father was her only sibling, thus she was the only next-of-kin relative I had from my father's side of family).

It is with deep sorrow and regret to announce, my beloved auntie has been called home to be with the Lord Jesus at 7:55am today (11th May 2016). She has left with us a treasure trove of her beautiful music, and sweet memories of her beautiful soul too.

God bless,

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Merv for information. I have up your letter on the front right bar for a few days. May she rest in peace.

Would be nice if you could do a write up of your aunt for the blog. I couldn't even find a picture of her on the internet.

It is a shame isn't it?

Thanks for visiting blog. Please come again.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

This posting has been rejuvenated with the Larry Lai video by Henri Gann from the Trekkers, 60s music group.

henri gann said...

Hi Merv
I have an interesting and beautiful photograph of your aunt Peggy which I will forward it to Andy. She was a very good friend of my uncle William Tan when they were at school. I have never met her but know that both she and her dad were well accomplished musicians. Love to hear your story on her musical career. Thanks for informing the blog on her passing.

Jeremy Lau said...

Hi, can anyone share some information about an announcer named Johnny Lau at that time? I really would like to know more insights during his time at rediffussion. I wasn't even born yet.

Ron Knight said...

In 1982,I had the great pleasure of meeting Larry Lai and his colleague Peter Boudewyn when Larry owned and operated Soundlabs recording studio. I was in Singapore for three weeks, meeting with the Singapore Broadcasting Corp, and a few advertising agencies. I was introduced to Larry who made me quite at home in his studio, and we recorded some radio commercials together, really enjoyed ourselves. I plan on returning to Singapore in the not too distant future, and am wondering if anyone might know how to reach Mr. Larry Lai as of now?
Thanks, and kind regards!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Ron,
Write to me again, leaving your email address (I won't publish) or phone number.
I shall hand them to Larry and get him to connect with you.

anonymous said...

I’ve been trying to locate Larry’s wife for years now but failed..., I asked some friends in Singapore but no one could help me... I’m a very good friend...

Thanks & regards

[This mail has been edited for obvious reason.]

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi I,

Ida said...

Thanks a lot, Andy, your help is much appreciated.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hey Ida.
So glad you both connected, I've been told.

Patrick Wee said...

Thanks for the blog and memories, Andy. Assisted Swee Leong and Larry Lai when I was in Hearthrob in Melia @ Scotts for the Dunhill Hour. Unfortunately Swee Leong and Mike Ellery passed on when I was overseas. Would like to connect with Larry, now that I am back.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hello Patrick,
If you leave me your phone or email address [I won't post it on the blog] I'll send them to Larry Lai.