Tuesday, August 24, 2010

'Tidbits' Female Teenage Trio: Island's First RCA/Cosdel Artistes In 1968 - I Believe

1968 - 29th February: National Theatre, Tank Road, Singapore.

Tears of triumph streamed down the cheeks of the three young school girls backstage, as the packed crowd roared with approval when they heard the announcement over the loud speakers. It was the moment the Tidbits had dreamed of since the day they participated in the 1967/68 Radio Television Singapura (RTS) Talentime.

They could not believe it had actually happened and when compere Tan Hock Lye asked the three young winners to come up to the microphone to say a few words to the audience, Melina Wee (12) could only sob. "We are so happy we are crying." The other two Tidbits, Serene Wee (13) and Bernadette de Souza (12) sniffed in agreement. The occasion had over-whelmed them.

It had been a touch and go affair as all the finalists at the competition exhibited a high standard even though they were amateurs. But the trio "emerged as the undisputed champions (when) they sang their way into the hearts of all through their scintillating number, I Believe. And it was just the beginning..."

1968 - 1st June: RCA - Cosdel Cocktail Party, Singapore.

Three months after winning the competition and rounds of singing engagements, the trio were in the lime-light again. It was another memorable day on June lst for The Tidbits when they signed up with Cosdel (Singapore) Ltd, on the world famous RCA label, to record four songs for an Extended Play vinyl: SGE - 0001, beautiful digits indeed.

Since they became the first to record for RCA in Singapore and that it was ground breaking day, top officials from Cosdel and RCA were present to witness the union. Backed by Cosdel's pop guitar groups The Trailers, the songs were: I Believe, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Never My Love and Lace Covered Window.
1969 - 2nd Album, 'California Dreamin': RCA Victor, Singapore.

According to the producer's note on the back sleeve of their second EP, the Tidbits "have matured tremendously in their vocal harmony work (and) each individual singer in the group is now extremely polished and are soloists in their own right." The producers believe they had selected the most appropriate songs for the girls because of their "calibre of singing."

The EP title song, California Dreamin' (image - SGF 0017) was given a strong vocal harmony by the girls, backed with an infectious beat and a strong rhythm. The ballad Scarlet Ribbons' rendition was tongue-in-cheek but heart-throbbing. Bernadette contributed the lead voice with "beautiful harmony work" by the other two.

Tragedy had been given a brand new arrangement and the fourth and final song, Come Softly To Me was "unique with an augmentee to help the girls feel their vocal harmony". The note explained that a George Lim was the man behind the girls' success. The trio were backed by RCA artistes, the X-Periment, one of the "slickest band in town" then.

Comment anyone?

Image/Information/Quotes: You Tube. Tidbits RCA record-sleeve covers. Souvenir programmes (1968/1969).

Original article: Andy Lim.


Anonymous said...

I still remember vividly their sweet harmonic rendition of their winning number I Believe at the 1967/68 RTS Talentime. They were teens then. Wonder how they are now.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you KM. Yes, I have left a note below the article and hope other readers, who might know the whereabouts of The Tidbits, will respond and reply.

Maybe the members of the group themselves will read the article too.

Would be nice really!

Lam Chun See said...

Undoubtedly that was the most memorable (and even a little controversial) talentime ever.

Some other singers that come to mind was the Singing Nurse, and a guy who sounded like Tom Jones.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Chun See. You have a good mind.

Could the 'Singing Nurse' be Cynthia Lau and that 'Tom Jones' is Ismail Haron?

Anyone remember RTS Talentime, 1968?

FL said...

My family had our first TV set (of course, B & W) in 1969, so we missed the RTS's talentime 1967/1968. But the talentime program was broadcast over the radio if I remember correctly. I remember I tuned in the radio program and heard The Titbits and others contestants then. During those years, I used to buy the "Radio Weekly" mag that cost 30 cents. This weekly magazine used to highlight local talents and pop bands. It later became the "Fanfare" mag but I could not remember which year.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you so much FL for your generous contribution to a music genre that will soon be obsolete if left forgotten.

People like you, who has lived that age, help to bring Singapore 60s music back 'alive'.

Please keep on writing whenever you can to provide first hand information about our own pop music history.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you so much FL for your generous contribution to a music genre that will soon be obsolete if left forgotten.

People like you, who have lived that age, help to bring Singapore 60s music back 'alive'.

Please keep on writing whenever you can to provide first hand information about our own pop music history.

Unk Dicko said...

Great memories Andy!
I still remember them through the Q-F and S-Finals and then the FINALS of that year! All in my family at Geylang were rooting for them, hoping and praying those 3 little girls would win. They had such an enchanting blend of harmony and picked the right songs that absolutely captivated many of us.
Their rendition of "Morning Town Ride" to get them into the Finals was another magical performance.
Keep up the blogging Andy.
You're doing a real fine job here.
And Happy Blggers's Day too!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks unk Dicko for the warm greetings and kind words. Really appreciate.

Yes, the Tidbits will always be one of the musical symbols of Singapore 60s.

And we were rootin' and tootin' for them.

AJ Chen said...

Thanks for bringing back the roots of Singapore music history.

A lot of young Singaporeans do not know about the history of Singapore music. I think its important to understand the roots
in Singapore music.

This blog is a good reference for
music lovers who want to know about
music made in Singapore.

I want to share music made in 1960 from Singapore with my readers in my music blog.

How can I contact u more in discussion on how we can further create more awareness and interest in 1960s Singapore music?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you for writing AJ. I am doing this blog only as a hobby because of my love for 60s music.

You may understand that the blog takes patience and a lot of time, especially if it is not out to attract business people for advertorial purposes.

You can write to me at:

mwfm said...

Thanks for the memories! I remember those talentimes - tf tan and ec tan and the masquerades wasn't that dick lee,s group with Rudolph van der van or something? And Mel and Joe? Great times! And we didn't have to study much and nobody had tuition haha

Anonymous said...

Oops I forgot to be anonymous. Can you please disregard my last comment I would like to remain anonymous on the net

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you for your comment and visit mwfm.

Don't worry, nobody can trace you as you are still anonymous.

Actually you are right, no tuition. And we can just enjoy our evenings on the telly.

Your memory is also great, remembering each name on that particular Talentime show.

Anonymous said...

I was just 15 when they won the contest. They were not the only ones crying, so was I.
Does anyone have an email address for them or their history.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you anon for writing. Does anyone have a connection to the TID-BITS? Do write in.

bluecool said...

Yes, I remember snippets of that very first Talentime, and do agree with Lam Chun See when he said that it was "a little controversial". "The Titbits" if I recall correctly is what the name of the singing trio was at the time (they later changed their name to "The Tidbits") were good, but I was among those who expected T.F. Tan to win with his rendition of "I'm Coming Home" by Tom Jones. And the most talked about topic during the heats was the perforemance of "My Bonnie" by an Ah Kua, whose name I cannot recall.

tonyee007 said...

It's T.F. Tan

FREDA said...

Yes Andy it was a fantastic talentime show at the National Theatre. The excitement of who going to be the winner was intriguing. That song "I Believe" was a spellbound and all agreed the Tidbits presented it very beautifully. I felt with happiness with tears for the Tidbits when announced they got in the 1st place winner. It was an unforgetable event. I have that song "I Believe" of them in my songs collections and each time when I listen to it, it gives me such an emotional feelings of them and the wonderful memory of that talentime held. I did participated in that 1967-1968 talentime with my classmates, of all the songs we picked "Love Potion Number Nine for the semifinals...tough competition, all are so good, we did not make it to final, however I do admired the Tidbits for their supberd voicing harmonising all the way. Yes I was there seeing the final Talentime show live at the National Theatre in 1968. It was an awesome memory!


This article is really interesting cause I was a great fan of the Tidbits. Couldn’t get the two EPS by them. Yes I remember Cynthia Lau as the singing nurse. As for the guy whose voice resembled that of Tom Jones he could be T F Tan

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephen,
I didn't know you wanted a copy. Gave away some months ago, the above record. It's quite a treasure nowadays, and pricey too.
Thanks for the comment.
You're a true blue 60s man and great supporter. :-)

Thanks Angela too, and Winston and all others who wrote in.