Thursday, December 22, 2011

Questing For A Singapore 60s Christmas Record

Having met five of them recently but separately, I decided to highlight this particular recording of our top local pop music stars. I had kept on the shelves this vinyl to wait for an opportune moment to post it. I am not the first to do so.

So when I was in touch with former rhythm guitarist Jap Chong and wrote to him about this EP, he explained that this special pressing (CHK 1063) was recorded before a live audience to enact a rousing Christmas party ushering in the season of plenty. It was the first time that pianist Jimmy Chan, the band's latest member, made a pressing with them. This vinyl was completed just before they left for their first trip to Hong Kong near the end of 1967.

For the new readers of my blog, after some changes in their line-up since they first started in 1960 and before they disbanded in 1970, here are The Quests (lst image) once again with (from left): Jap Chong (rhythm), Sam Toh (bass), Jimmy Chan (keyboard), Lim Wee Guan (drums), Reggie Verghese (lead) and Vernon Cornelius (vocals).

And how old were these guys then? In their twenties. Forty-four years down the road with Jingle Bells, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, White Christmas, We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Yes, and a Happy New Year too.
Images/Article: Andy Lim Collection.

If you have stories to tell about The Quests and other local musicians, pop bands and singers please contribute in the Comments column. We must keep our pop music heritage going for the young ones. Some of them know that we had a golden age of music once upon a time but most of them don't.

It doesn't matter what your story is, even if you say, "It was so hot at the Singapore Badminton Hall at Guillemard Road when I saw The Quests on stage the first time..." It is such an important comment because our young boys and girls don't know that we were devoid of air-conditioning in the 60s and we were practically fanning ourselves with newspapers, souvenir programmes and paper fans but at the same time cheering and screaming for our own pop stars, dancers, comedians and MCs on stage.

Your take on the stories of yesteryear is so important. Let's help each other and please give generously. Thanks.

The Quests will appear in a Queentown Festival get-together at their old school concert hall in September, 2013.


FL said...

Yes, I remember The Quests performed at the S'pore Badminton Hall in sixties. They were the top local group back then. I didn't get a chance to attend their concert. We were poor then and had not much pocket money to buy tickets! I remember my elder brother and myself use to share costs to buy vinyl records ! We used to buy some of the Quests' records like the one "Don't Play That Song", "Silly Girl" etc which featured Keith Locke as the singer.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks again FL for your nostalgic contribution. I appreciate your sending these anecdotes punctuated with so much honesty and sincerity.

Yes The Quests were definitely the best band in Singapore 60s. And although tickets cost less than $5.00 many people could not manage the sum.

It is good news that you bought vinyls of this group. I hope they are still in your possession as they are priceless nowadays.

Again, thanks for the memories. A Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chief,

Wishing You and All At Home

From: PYSP

Anonymous said...

Anyhooooo... Merry Christmas to you.


Anonymous said...



From: DK

JoeyKoh: said...

Hi Andy,

Wishing you and all at home Merry Christmas 2011 & Happy New Year 2012.


Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,

Thank you very much.
Merry Christmas and have a very happy new year.

BC Teoh.
Kuala Lumpur

DinoMartinPeters: said...

Hey pallie, great to hear from you Mr. Andy...

Hopes all your Dino-dreams come true!


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I have accumulated all the good wishes from both my private email and from the blog and put them together.

Thank you all for the support through the years, old and new friends of Singapore 60s music.

Anonymous said...

From Mary Ho:

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the video.. Its awesome. Very nice singing voice and prayer (referring to Esther Chan singing, 'The Lord's Prayer' an older posting).

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too. All the best.

God bless,

FL: said...

I remember hearing the voices of Larry Lai and Tan Swee Leong frequently over the Rediffusion in the sixties.

They were doing airwave shows,song request programs, pop charts, etc. Back then, my family could not afford to subscribe the Rediffusion, but my immediate neighbour did.

And that's how I got to know the "Terrible Twins" as a secondary school teenager then !

I also remember there's another Rediffusion host called, I think Mike..... something something ?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks FL for your contribution to this blog. I will send a copy of this posting to Larry as many of us still remember him and Swee Leong.

Hopefully he will get in touch with Swee Leong and send him a copy too.

Yes, the man was Mike Ellery. In fact he was Larry Lai's and Tan Swee Leong's boss but also organised and hosted many shows.

FL said...

Hi, Andy again.

Hey, thanks for furnishing me the full name of Mike Ellery. Yes, I heard his voice on Rediffusion, too.

Without Rediffusion then, we teenagers in our times would not get well connected to many pop hits of the 60s/70s and get to know the singers & pop bands.

Although radio (RTS) did have pop music programs, but mainly on Sundays then, e.g. Decca and EMI.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

Wishing you and your family a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR



FL said...

Hi, Andy, I heard that Keith Locke is presently in town (Singapore)! I heard this mentioned by Brian Richmond over radio FM 90.50 show this evening. Is there anyway to get Keith connected here or a video clip of him ? Brian also mentioned that Keith is now 75 years "young"! Am an ardent Keith's fan. If Keith is reading your blogs I wish him good health and a Merry X'mas. Also, a Merry X'mas to you, Andy and all your fans, too !

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Interesting piece of news FL. I heard it too some time ago.

Perhaps it's best to confirm it with Brian and to find out if Keith is singing somewhere on the island or just on holiday.

Would be great if he reads this column and reply to you.

Thank you for your good wishes and SEASON'S GREETINGS to you too.

他/她们都叫我,雁 said...

Hi , can you sell or lend me the vinyl record of the quests ??iam from event company that sourcing this record for te national day parade event !!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I don't sell or lend out vinyls. If you wish to ask for help get the organisers of the National Day Parade to write to me officially on my blog.

You don't use exclamation marks to ask for help. Would be nice if you say please and thank you.

I am surprised that you are in charge.