Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Songs: Visions Of Lara n Trailers

Singapore recording artiste Lara Tan or Ying Ying (櫻櫻) who usually sings in Mandarin pressed songs with The Trailers in 1967.  You Only Live Twice the James Bond theme was sung entirely in Mandarin. Other songs on the same EP (CEP 3008) and accompanied by the same group include Don't Talk To The Lifeguard, Single Girl and Dream Girl.

Lara Tan sings with The Trailers

Another EP (CEP 3002) titled This Is My Song has Dear Mrs Applebee, Downtown and Love Potion Number Nine. The above video is from a record and with Visions Lara sings, Run For Your Life, Puppet On A String and Sugar Town (CEP3004).

It was the usual path for many would be singers in Singapore 60s and Lara was no different. She sang at school concerts and in private parties for a while. 

The break came when she was spotted by an executive from a local record company, was contracted and trained in the skills needed to be a pop star. It was tougher for her because she did not like some of the songs she was singing.

After an exhaustive period Lara was provided with about 40 songs to select for her vinyl debut. Since Mandarin songs had a bigger fan base in South East Asia, Lara recorded covers of current English 60s songs and had them translated into Mandarin by a Ms Violet Chow.

To make the formula work she was backed by The Trailers, one of the most popular bands then. Where EMI had Rita Chao and The Quests, Lara was the answer to Cosdel's search for a female lead vocalist to front The Trailers. And like Chao and Sakura she had her share of singing a-go-go and off-beat cha-cha music as well.

So here after nearly 45 years under cover, Ms Lara Tan appears again on Valentine's Day singing Visions - a very popular Cliff Richard number - hopefully to revive days of yore that all you Seniors remember. It's for the young ones to appreciate too.

The Trailers
If you have stories to tell about your T-Dance days and golden nights with your girlfriends at the Palace Cinema, Hotel Prince Garni, Paya Lebar Niteclub,  Springdale, Singapore Hotel, South-East Asia Hotel, Hilton, Cockpit and other exciting venues do write in.  Valentine's Day must have been as exciting in the 60s and 70s as it is today.

To all my friends in the music business, the Bloggers group, writers, the old teacher friends I meet sometimes, the lecturer buddies from the universities, the new friends who write to me on the Comment page, the young students who ask for information and all the others who have made this blog what it is today, Happy Valentine's Day. Don't forget the flowers.

"Visions of you in shades of blue..."  Lost love?

Valentine's Day in Chinese - 情人节 - qing ren jie.

Image: Andy Lim Collection.
You Tube video by Mr. Rainbow.


her words said...

Hi Andy,

I am an undergraduate student majoring in music teaching, and in the course of my studies, I was introduced to and became interested in Singapore's popular music scene in the 60s.

Incidentally, "Freedom", was one of the songs played to us during our lesson. I feel really lucky that I am able read the stories of the people who wrote this song, and no less from the lead singer himself. I must thank both Byrt Mallanyk for writing about his experience and yourself for creating this blog.

Sadly, as a Singaporean youth, I too share the sentiments that the valuable experiences and personal histories of the past are under-appreciated today. In fact, it had never occurred to me that Singapore actually had a popular music scene in the 60s before I learnt about them in school. I really appreciate your blog as I enjoy the stories of Singapore's music scene that would have been otherwise left undocumented.

To me, the lack of awareness of Singapore's popular culture in the past is a very pertinent issue today. I have so many questions that I would like to ask you, and I'd appreciate it if I could discuss them with you via e-mail.

Thank You!

RONNIE SEE said...

Thanks Andy,
Happy Valentine to you and wife.
Best Regards.

Lam Chun See said...

We had Cliff Richard's EP with this song. Can't recall what were the others songs. Quite nice.

FreddieS said...


SLLL said...

Hi Andy,

It'd be great if you could share with me about how you enjoyed yourself as a teenager and the cinemas you frequented in the 50s! That would be ideal.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Chun See,
Glad you're in circulation again. Thanks for visiting the site.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you all for the comments, interest in 60s music and good wishes.

Special thanks to Ronnie and Fred too.


About The Trailers:
The ‘60s rock band. Lore has it that one female fan who was so besotted by lead singer Benny Koh, clambered up on stage and scribbled “Benny, I love you” on his pants with her lipstick.

Today Newspaper
7th August, 2008.

B45 said...

Thank you Andy for your kind wishes, my wife and I celebrate valentine day everyday of our lives...

dino martin peters said...

Happy Dino-amore day Mr. Andy! Keeps lovin' our Dino!

JENN said...

Friends represent a world in us, a world that resonates the rhythms of our heart. Happy Valentine's:)

Sent from my iPhone

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks B45, DMP and Jenn for comments and good wishes.


Daily Chinese Practice.

How to say "Valentine's Day" in Chinese - 情人节 "qing ren jie"

On Valentine's Day, what gift are you going to give to your girlfriend.

Zài qíngrén jié nà tiān, nǐ yào sòng nǐ nǚ péngyǒu shénme lǐwù?

情人节 qíng rén jié / Valentine's Day /

(Just a quick note on this one: 情人 means "sweetheart", "honey" or pretty much any other affectionate term you might call…)

DANNY KOH said...

Thank you Andy. Really enjoyed the Sweetheart Tree by Johnny Mathis..
Hope all's well with you and your loved ones. Wishing you a Prosperous and healthy Chinese New Year.



Hi Andy,

Thanks for the email and Happy Valentine’s day greetings. I was going to write to you in a few days time to tell you...

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Danny, Mike and Herb for keeping in touch. See you guys soon.

Yanlin said...

Hi Andy, my father-in-law is in his 70s and a long-lost friend of Lara and her husband. He's trying to connect back to them, would be great if you are able to help on this. Thanks alot.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Yanlin,
Thanks for writing in and visiting the blog.
If you leave me your email address, I will try and locate Lara through the Trailers or Facebook but will not reveal your email address.
It's the best I can do as I do not know them personally.