Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day 2017: Singapore 60's Love Songs

Above types of vinyl were selected because of sleeve covers. Videos vary.

Whether it's in English, Chinese, Malay, Tamil or any other language the love message is clear. With or without Valentine's Day, writing songs with romantic themes has been the mainstay for many a lyricist or composer in our pop music world. Similarly on our little island.

Robert Suriya, the Fitzgerald brothers, Shirley Nair, Fu Su Yin, Yusnor Ef, Kassim Masdor and many others have written love songs that have become hits here in Singapore. Adrian C. Tills, an expatriate who was in Singapore in the 60s, composed quite a number for local consumption.
                      kt jong video: Love Is Blue: Heather w Thunderbirds

Sleeve Cover 1
Two of them were released on a single by Philips and sung by Roy Stevens with The Thunderbirds' accompaniment. The first song, Won't You Be My Girl pleads, "I know you're the idol of other boys too, But none of them loves you as much as I do, So please, please baby won't you be my girl?"

The flip side encourages the lover to Give It A Try because, "There's so much pleasure in Lovin, Lovin is a sheer delight, So love me, and you'll see, Everything I say is right..." Mushy? Not so for listeners in the 60s.

Sleeve Cover 2 
Cecilia Lim, popular with Chinese fans, covers four romantic hits in English from the 50s and 60s under VOC Records with, Please Help Me I'm Falling, Harbour Lights You Belong To Me and the irresistible, To Sir With Love echoing every schoolgirl crush with the lament, "If you wanted the moon I will try to make a start but I would rather you let me give my heart..." I am sure you are familiar with the other 3 love songs that have become international hits.
                   biskutkerin video: Jeffridin n The Siglap Five - Kasihku Pergi

Sleeve Cover 3 
This one is a Malay Extended Play, with dashing good-looker Jeffridin and his Siglap Five, recording 4 songs. One of them is about a lad who was abandoned by his girl and Kekaseh Ku Pergi (My Love Has Gone: by local composer Mohd. Ali) describes his bitterness, "Kini aku hidup sepi, hingga aku menanti..." (I live in loneliness and am still waiting...).

Another track composed by Jeffridin himself, relates his Termenong (Day Dreaming) woes while the third song, composed by A. Karim, tells of a particularly spoilt girl-friend or Gadis Manja who has stolen the singer's heart.

A point to note here. These Malay melodies are love songs and unlikely produced for the specific purpose of celebrating Valentine. It is just a coincidence that they are about love; in fact, many songs from the 60's have similar themes.

Sleeve Cover 4:
The romanticism in Chinese songs has the proclivity to be too sentimental and sugary for the western crowd but one of pop 60's Chinese singer, Zhang Xiao Ying's EP has managed to deal with the subject wisely.

The vinyl has songs that repeats a theme. The title track, He Who Knows My Heart (Zhi Xin De Ren) tells of a lover who reminisces her soul-mate. The EP has three other tracks. Hen Bu Xiang Feng Wei Jia Shi (Bitter Sweet Memories As I Wed) is about a girl who still yearns for her previous boyfriend although she is married. Ghastly!
                           eosyeo video: Chang Xiao Ying 張小英 - 我爱你一万倍

She Mo Hua Wei Ni Kai (What Flower Blooms/Opens For You) could have sensual connotation. Surprise, surprise. And the final track Wo Ai Jun Lai Jun Ai Wo ( Loving You, Loving Me ) accentuates the flavour of the day again.

You won't be googling for most of these songs would you? Might spoil your day. Valentine ones are just supposed to say, I love you and I want you. No heartaches, ever! Or so you think.

Happy Valentine everyone.

Chinese vinyl translation by: LKM and SM. Thank you both.

Images/original article: Andy Lim Collection.


nomore said...

Hi Andy...this is my special comment since in 2012...nice post the Valentine's Day....!!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi nomore,
Glad to know you're back again.

Come on, start writing again and tell us what happened to you this past year after the Japanese tsunami.

I will be glad to post your experiences on my blog. Many Singaporeans would love to hear your stories.

Thanks for visiting. Please write soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm a university student and I have chosen to write about _____ for one of my projects. When I chanced upon your blog, I was intrigued by its content as I'm an avid music fan.

_____ introduced me to Rock in the 60s and 70s which has developed my keen interest in music. I listened to a couple of the songs by 'The Silver Strings' on You Tube and I like it very much.

I would be honoured to have a chance to interview you. It would be of great help to me in understanding the local music scene.

I would really appreciate any help you can provide in assisting me for this project.
Thank you very much!

(Letter has been edited.)

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you for your interest. Since it is an academic project, I have since replied your letter and will try to help you in any way I can.

Yahoo Answers On Love Songs said...

1. Alana asks: Why are there so many love songs, when there is more to this world than romance?

Why aren't there any good songs about problems that real people face? I know there are some, but what about normal problems, like a friend moving away and she's all youve ever known?

About the world changing too fast and you cant get a grip?

Answer from M&M: Music is used to express emotion, the most common, confusing AND relateable emotion is love, so while yes it does sell, it's also a common denominator that unites us all as humans, it's just the most common thing to sing about.

Also, in a way, your song about "a friend moving away and she's all you ever known" --Wouldn't that classify as love?

Music is used to express the complex emotion of love in a form that is simpler than trying to explain it with words, and yet, simultaneously just as complex as the emotion itself due to the feeling evoked by the music.

2. How many love songs are there in the English Language alone?

Too many to count. Mind you, you can say the same thing about any subject of song. There are just too many songs to count.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

To extend the posting on love songs in general I have established other articles for easy perusal.

Above are extracts about Love Songs by readers of Yahoo.

Anonymous said...

What about Tokyo Square song, Within You Remain or Wor ai nee? Isn't it one of the best love songs written by a Singaporean?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

You are right and it's one of the better ones, truly. Max Surin, unforgettable and still active and singing today.

Here are the lyrics, courtesy of

Facing the world with an empty heart
I could disappear into the dark

And you were the one
Who could make my dreams come true
My dear it's you

When you're not around
My heart stood still
Within you'll remain
And always will

Illusions say there is another man
Who would interfere into my plans

我愛你, I love you
我要你, I need you
More than I ever did anyone
I never felt like this before

我愛你, I want you
我愛你, I need you
We could be two lovers from the past
And the future is our chance

When you're not around
My heart stood still
Within you'll remain
And always will

我愛你, I love you
我要你, I need you
More than I ever did anyone
I never felt like this before

我愛你, I want you
我愛你, I need you
We could be two lovers from the past
And the future is our chance

You Tube Link said...

One of the pioneering bands of Singapore , Tokyo Square was formed in 1985 by Max Surin.
Together with his sister, Linda Elizabeth, the band had many local girls swooning after the boys, while Linda enthralled everyone with her powerful vocals.

However, it was only with their number 1 hit radio song, “Within You’ll Remain” with it’s unique blend of Chinese & Western instrumentation, famous “Wo Ai Ni (I love you)” chorus and catchy gu-zheng opening riff, that made Tokyo Square the talk of the town.

Tokyo Square is:
Max Surin (Vocals)
Linda Elizabeth (Vocals)
Adam Surin (Bass)
Mayuni Omar (Keyboards)
Fazli (Drums)


Anonymous said...

The truth is Thai singers copied from Tokyo Square who were the original singers.

Many Thais claim this song was copied from their songs. I read another post that Tokyo Squares copied this song from them.

Music is universal and for everyone to enjoy. But I have to set the records striaght if any one claims ownership to their country's.

Also to reply to fireborn, the small number of 169,000 hits, it is well known fact that most westerners don't appreciate if singers are Asians.

Also Asian record compnaies usually has limited resources to promote records in the US or in Europe

From: goldbullions

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

This blog only discusses local and Asian music and its influence from the west within the 50s to 70s period.

"Within You'll Remain" is out of range since it's from the mid-80s but I have let down the barriers for this one because it is like, "Shanty" and "My Lonely Heart", truly Singaporean.

Mr Jam said...

Enjoyed reading your post, but just want to make a correction. "Within you remain" was recorded by Tokyo Square but cannot be said to be "truly Singaporean". The song was written and originally recorded by a Hong Kong band called Chyna (the writers were Don Ashley and Peter Wong) and you can see the original on YouTube. Tokyo Square's arrangement is almost identical.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Mr Jam. Will need to check this out again but you may be right.

Watch out for the answer on this posting.

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