Monday, May 20, 2013

Pop Stars Could Not Perform In Singapore In 1970s

Can you guess who the pop stars on the left are before you read this article?

When eight international pop stars agreed to perform here in the late 1970s nobody wanted to sponsor them. According to a newspaper report these event companies in Singapore were not familiar with the western pop music world  and refused to bring them in.

Apparently none of the show promoters knew who these stars were when the list was provided as a reference. It is surprising because the singers and groups were the biggest names in show-biz and included: Elvis Costello, Linda Rondstadt, Manhatten Transfer, David Gates, Bread and imagine, even Eagles and Rod Stewart. Still don't know who's who, or do you?

These stars had concerts around the region in 1978 and were scheduled to appear in Australia, Hong Kong and Japan but some nightclubs and local promoters remarked that they had never heard of these most sought-after artistes. Others on the list were Shaun Cassidy, Bette Midler, country and western singers England Dan and John Fort Coley.

But some event companies denied the allegation explaining that they would not engage these stars because of problems with the local authorities.

According to them some of these artistes would be denied entry because of their hair length, considering past instances when top-notch super groups like the Bee Gees, Middle of the Road and Led Zeppelin were asked to leave immediately unless they had their manes cropped at Paya Lebar Airport itself.

Countering this argument a spokesman from a record company mentioned that groups like Manhatten Transfer were clean-cut, neat and wore the best suits in town.

Furthermore most of the artistes mentioned had record releases in Singapore and would charge less than S$20,000 for a show that included back-up singers, a full band and sound-system.  It was business sense to engage them. (Today it would probably cost half a million Sing dollars!)

Whatever the reason we will never know.  Perhaps these show promoters were familiar only with our local stars and those from Malaysia and Hong Kong?  Anyone with an answer?

Images: providec by Google except  the picture on the right which is from a private collection.

Information: from The Straits Times, Singapore.

If you still don't know, here are the answers: Manhatten Transfer (Pic 1), David Gates, Bread (Pic 2), Rod Stewart (Pic 3), Eagles (Pic 4) Linda Rondstadt (Pic 5), Heather and Thunderbirds (Pic 6).

If you enjoyed reading this article click to this one:



There are no figures available concerning how much an average concert promoter makes. Like most music industry professions, compensation depends on the level of success possessed by the artist the promoter works with, location, and what a given market will bear. The promoter assumes all the financial risk in putting on a show, so compensation also depends on how successful the promoter is at negotiating with vendors and creating sold-out shows.

Additionally, in-depth knowledge of their operating market and audience characteristics are critical success factors for any tour promoter.

(Could the above be the reason why they are 'ignorant')


Concert promoters or talent buyers are the individuals or companies responsible for organizing a live concert tour or special event performance. The tour promoter makes an offer of employment to a particular artiste, usually through the artiste’s agent or music manager. The promoter and agent then negotiate the live performance contract.


Included among the tour promoter’s various job responsibilities are: (1) obtaining venue, concert hall, entertainment centre, theater, nightclub or arena bookings; (2) pricing the event or tour; and (3) providing air, sea or land transportation (optional). However the promoter must have upfront cash and or sponsorship financing to pay for advertising the tours of the artists. Such advertising costs, usually referred to as a Media or Promotional Kit, commonly include television and radio advertisements, posters, newspaper and magazine adverts, online marketing and so on.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

All three short comments have been edited from Wikipedia. I could not obtain any information regarding the above as most event companies are unwilling to divulge the way they negotiate contracts.

Are you familiar?

ISABEL said...

Concert in Singapore:

It was the first time I had seen Rod Stewart in concert and wasn't too sure if i'd know many songs or what it would be like. It was excellent. I had a great night and knew nearly every song. Such a great performer. His back up singers had great voices too. The ending was quite strange though, just walking off the stage. Bizarre.

Posted on: 02/03/2009 at 07:23


Stories about The Bee Gees Part 6: 1971 -1974

After Japan they moved on to Kuala Lumpur for 2 more shows and on to Singapore. Problem during these last few shows was their hair style as according to government policy you are not allowed to have long hair. They finally got permission to do their gigs and then leave the country. Another strange situation during their Far East tour certainly was around their Jakarta show where heavy rains made it hardly possible and very scary to work on stage and it looked as if the show would be cancelled but they finally did play for over 60.000 people.