Wednesday, November 03, 2010

"The Jets" Instrumental Group From Singapore

(Image from left: Rhythm guitar: Herald Chiang, Bass guitar: Alan Poh. Drums: Richard Tan and Lead Guitar: Edward Tan. (Philips ME-0127-JE recorded in May, 1965).

This posting is not about the Qantas A380 in Singapore that was supposed to have "engine failure", nor is it about any Boeing or Rolls Royce mechanical problem. The Jets is a Singapore band.

Since the term denotes speed and power, it was not surprising to find half a dozen other instrumental groups using this name. The four boys, who were active on this island state and the Asian region, formed in October 1963.

A telephone call to one of these boys, an old friend, resulted in an interesting chat that revealed much, but bassist Alan Poh, being the busy businessman that he is, was not able to take time off for more discussion regarding his versatile and popular 60s guitar group.

Alan, who is still running a successful family insurance business today, promised that we should meet when he had more time, as it had been more than 40 years since this group of Jets disbanded in December 1966.

                You Tube Video by Malaysiaboleh: Singapore The JETS 1960's guitar group

So once again I am quoting the information from the back sleeve-cover of the Extended Play record (image).

Some Sleeves Speak (Edited):
"For an instrumental group formed only a year ago, THE JETS have established quite a spectacular popularity and - true to their name - with remarkable speed too.

However, success has not been that easy for THE JETS because of the keen competition that prevails nowdays in the world of pop instrumentalists. It has been a matter of 'Triumph Through Trials' indeed, for much perseverane, tolerance and above all sincere keenness were demanded of each of the boys before their efforts could be rewarded with a recording contract.

Vital to their success as an established group of pop guitarists - in great demand for TV performances and for the entertainment world - is the driving force behind them - Robert Lim, whose dynamic skill as a true leader has proved and is proving a great stimulus to the group.
In this EP album THE JETS present to you such scintillating numbers of their own composition as Aurora and The Meteor by Edward Tan. Fantasy and Escapee were composed jointly by Alan Poh and Edward Tan."

The group had also recorded four more guitar instrumentals: Blues Away, Express Train, The Big Beat Beat and Alice In Dreamland on Philips ME- 0130-JE in July 1965 (below).
In a third Philips EP, they accompanied Wilson David (popularly known as 'Singapore's Elvis Presley') with I'll Never Be Mad At You, Yours I Love To Be By Your Side and Jezebel. Again two of the songs are Singapore originals and composed by Alan Poh.

When 3 fresh members joined Edward Tan to form the new Jets in 1967, they recorded an EP on the Blue Star label cutting: Five Hundred Miles, Unchained Melody, When I Was Young, Fever.
But that is another story and posting.
Do you know the rest of the boys?

Image and You Tube Video: Universal Music Singapore and Malaysiaboleh.
Article/Image: Andy Lim Collection.


FL said...

I heard about this group, The Jets, through reading the Radio Weekly (RW)in the sixties. RW, 30 cents a copy then, used to highlight British & American artistes, and also, local pop groups. I heard about their debut EP record then, however, as a school boy, I couldn't afford to buy the records. We got little pocket money then !

FL said...

I heard about this group, The jets, through reading the Radio Weekly (RW) during the sixties. RW (30 cents a copy then)used to highlight international pop artistes from Britain & USA, and also, local new pop groups. I do remember The Jets released a debut EP record. However, as a school boy, we couldn't afford to buy the records. We got little pocket money then.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi FL,
Yes, many pop 60s music fans read the Radio Weekly for information. You have such a good memory to be able to remember reading about The Jets debut EP.

How much did the records cost then? Was it about $4.00 for an EP?

Thanks for visiting.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Sorry FL. Both your comments got published inadvertently.

FL said...

Sorry, Andy for the double, I thot my first one did not get thro. During the sixties, a SP (single play) records used to sell at about $1.80 and an EP (extended play consist of 4 tunes) cost about $3 then. Well, those years, the amount is considered a lot of money! As a secondary school kid then, I got pocket money of about around 30 to 40 cents a day (for bus fares & foods). You read the RW, too ? It was a tabloid format back then.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes I used to read RW. It's a wealth of information for folks interested in Singapore pops and influence.

I wonder why our main library does not catalogue RW and put them on the shelves for easy reading.

The present process is time consuming and old-fashioned. Is IT at the library a joke?

Anonymous said...

alan poh is my chap!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks for visiting. I knew Alan when he was still with The Jets and had called him 2 years ago for an interview. Because of family work commitment he could not do so. I hope you can persuade him since you are his nephew.

Anonymous said...

Edward tan is my father.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Keane. I have already done so and we had a long chat. He's been telling me interesting things about the 60s music scene in Singapore.

Unknown said...

U where great wit the silver stings too...
See when u free meet my dad n i bring along those band photos..

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes, thanks for the reply. Will take your advice.

Anonymous said...

"When 3 fresh members joined Edward Tan to form the new Jets in 1967, they recorded an EP on the Blue Star label cutting: Five Hundred Miles, Unchained Melody, When I Was Young, Fever.
But that is another story and posting.
Do you know the rest of the boys?"

Hi Andy, do you happen to have band photos of the new Jets that were formed in 1967?


Andy Young
Here's The Jets, one of the top groups in the 60s. Cheers to Edward Tan who was a lead guitarist then.

Andy Young
Hey, Charlie thanks for the thumbs up.

Stephen Han
I like your story about The Jets

Hiroshi Deguchi
Do I detect a note of "Peranakan" or the feeling of "Tanjong Katong" in the JETS music to my Japanese ears.

Andy Young
You are so right Hiroshi. Very genuine peranakan sound. Man, you know local stuff well. The bassist is a peranakan. When we met, it was the usual peranakan patois.

Michael Lee
As a 14-year-old, I do remember the Jets a little. I have always been of the opinion that if you want to get anywhere and achieve something you have to do things your own way (like they did), Learn from others yes but not just copy. Cheerio.

Freda Hanum
Definitely heard of them... maybe during primary school days....🤔 trying to figure where.

Jimmy Appudurai-chua
They were as iconic as they come defo part of that instrumental group culture. The Jets, Trailers, Quests, Dukes, Checkmates, Trackkers, Muskrats, Tornados, Silver Strings, Stylers... Yes grew up admiring all these fab bands. Jimmy. Like yesterday.

Andy Young
Thank you all for the memories. Yes, one of the top bands' yesteryear. Still in touch with one of the boys, even today. I must thank all 12 of you for the thumbs-up and comments from STEPHEN, HIROSHI, MICHAEL, FREDA, AND JIMMY. And VICTOR as usual for sharing this post.

Jimmy Appudurai-chua
Andy Young I bet, I left out a few bands... Thunderbird, Firebyrds, Moonglows... Siglap five

Andy Young
Thank you, Jimmy, for the logistics. Hee Hee. Appreciate your help in these matters of concern. PETER, KALI, ROOP, JENNY, MERLIN, CHARLIE, SER KIONG and anyone else I may have left out. Thanks.

Jimmy Appudurai-chua
Andy Young you are so welcome dear friend