Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Dr Lee's Rendition of Silverstein's 'The Giving Tree'

To all the children on Children's Day:
So you think only Singapore seniors are active? Think again. My friend Dato Dr. Lee Yan San (image 2 left) who hails from Penang is not only a good medical doctor but a great singer as well.

He has a family that backs him musically during his singing stints at home, on stage and in the recording studios. He has provided me with a few CDs and I have encouraged him to put his songs on You Tube.

Recently Yan San took a popular story/song from one of Shel Silverstein's (image 3) vast collection, recorded it with his music group and posted it on You Tube. It's called, The Giving Tree (image 1) and made popular by Bobby Bare in the 60s.

It tells a touching tale of a tree so giving with a boy that not only does it provide the child with a shade but allows itself to be cut down and be made into a boat. The song ends with the tree, now a stump. And the child? You must listen to the song to appreciate what the lyrics suggest. Actually the song reminds me of Elvis Presley's, Old Shep, with a slightly different theme of course. The Giving Tree is posted on the right bar.

Shel Silverstein was an American poet, singer, songwriter, composer, screenwriter, cartoonist and author of children's books. His books have sold over 20 million copies and translated into 20 languages (Wikipedia).

On a less serious tone here's another dose from one of Silverstein's books, Falling Up. It is called, Danny O'Dare:

"He did a dance called the Funky Chicken,/ He did the Polka, he did the Twist,/ He bent himself into a pretzel like this./ He did the Dog and the Jitterbug,/ He did the Jerk and the Bunny Hug./ He did the Waltz and the Boogaloo,/ He did the Hokey Pokey too. It's easy to see... Danny O'Dare wants to dance with me." You'll be surprised to find out who Danny is!

[About image 2: Yan San also has a knack for making friends. He met We Will Make Love 60s British megastar Russ Hamilton several years ago and they became great buddies. Russ had since passed on.]

1. If you like to read more about Russ Hamilton and Yan San check him out by clicking Labels below.

2. If you like to read Silverstein's books go to the bookshops or libraries. Tons of them around. Get Falling Up and Where The Sidewalk Ends. Read them to your children or grandchildren on Children's Day.

Images: 1) from You Tube, 2) from YS Lee Collection, 3) Google Images.



Dr. Lee said...

Thanks Andy for putting up "Giving Tree" a cover of one of my favourite Bobby Bare songs written by Shel Silvestern. I am so thrilled to learn that you have been a fan of Shel Silvestern also. He is such a talented man!
Lee Yan San

Andy Young* said...

Thanks Yan San for allowing me to showcase your talent.

As I mentioned in my email to you we should all meet one day in either Singapore or Penang for a big get together.

Dr Lee Yan San said...

Thanks so much Andy. In fact I have been introducing your site to quite a number of my friends since I first came across it..

It is indeed one of the best music sites I have come across.

Uncle Dicko said...

Hi Andy and fellow seniors,

First we must thank Andy for having the inspiration and courage to suggest this.

What do I think ? It's obviously a great idea to meet up with other good seniors especially from across the causeway for
"camaraderie' and to forge new friendships....you'll never know what this can lead to !

Penang is always an attractive place for many of us. I have lots of fond memories of this jewel which I first visited in mid 60's.

Shel Silverstein Biography said...

Shel Silverstein began writing when he was twelve years old. He would have preferred to be playing ball with children his age, but he had no athletic ability. Also, girls showed no interest in him, so he began to write.

He was not familiar with the style of any famous poets. Since he had no one whom he could mimic, he began developing his own technique.

In the 1950's, Silverstein enlisted in the armed forces and served in the Korean War.

During his time in the military, Shel Silverstein worked as a cartoonist. After completing his military duty, he was hired as a staff cartoonist for "Playboy" in 1956.

Silverstein contributed several poems. In 1963, he was convinced to write for children. One of Silverstein's most popular books, "The Giving Tree," was published in 1964.

Ironically, just a few years prior, editor William Cole rejected this book, claiming that it would never sell because it fell between the interests of children and adults.

In 1974, Shel Silverstein wrote "Where the Sidewalk Ends," which won the New York Times Outstanding Book Award, 1974, and went on to win the Michigan Young Readers' Award, 1981, and the George G. Stone Award, 1984.

He was drawn folk music in 1960 and later became a respected composer. He wrote the lyrics for and composed "A Boy Named Sue" in 1969, which became a number one hit for Johnny Cash.

He appeared in and composed music for the film "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Such Terrible Things About Me?," which opened in 1971.

For a full reading click the connection to his Biography.

Andy Young* said...

I have made the suggestion for the Penang trip. It leaves for everyone else to nibble at the idea or just leave it in the fridge for another day.

Shel Silverstein's biography is a good read. I have included him in my blog because I have always been a fan of his and the fact that he wrote some pop music.

I also jumped at the opportunity when Yan San produced the You Tube rendition of Silverstein's 'The Giving Tree.'

Mine is a personal and fun blog but it is no mix-bag without a theme.

The theme is always 60s pop music from Singapore and how imports influence this genre.