Sunday, February 08, 2015

Mike Ellery: Passionate Promoter of Singapore Pop

Mike Ellery With Millie Small (My Boy Lollipop)
Mike Ellery passed away on 3rd February 2015.


 It is with great heartfelt, and mournful grief, as I write this...

Mike Ellery was the greatest broadcaster Singapore has ever known.  There was, and still is no one who has such great instantaneous abilities - suddenly picking up records and presenting a most interesting 60 minutes show! He was a great add-libber.

He knew his music - always up to date with the latest hits, well-tuned and informed with classic standards, Jazz, Broadway, Operas, Classical   Music and more!

Here was an 'Ang Moh' who was very aggressive and very passionate promoting local music.  He very much loved The Quests and maybe that's why I was hired as a Deejay without even an audition, and he'd hope in March 1969, that I could be styled as the first local personality DJ.  Like those of Capitol Radio, London.

 To me he was a very difficult taskmaster, always demanding of me, and hard to please!  The kicks he gave me were worth it, as it made me the perfectionist I still try to be today.

Lucky the many DJs who went through the "Mike Ellery School of Broadcasting"  They were and are great and different.
Mike Ellery was also instrumental with impressario Donald Moore to bring scores of international pop acts like " The Yardbirds", "Walker Brothers", " Dave Clarke Five" and "Herman's Hermits" to name a few. In addition, some of the biggest names in Classical Music and Ballet World.

 Long after he was my boss I still call him "Mr. Ellery" because he was my teacher and I had great respect for him.

I last spoke to him on the phone a month ago; he was by this time on a wheelchair after a stroke, but he was cheerful as ever, business as usual. To him the 'Show Goes On'.

 Mike Ellery - Pop Pioneer, Founding Father and Giant of Local Broadcasting, Passionate Promoter of Singapore Pop.

Copyrighted: Acknowledge Writer and Blog Owner.

Thanks Vernon for a very sincere, moving and informative piece about Mike Ellery.



ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...


Philip Tan said...

I am indeed saddened that two icons of the Singapore 60s music scene Mike Ellery and Rita Chao have passed on. I was part of that era. Was also a follower of Rita and Sakura. And of course not to forget Mike Ellery's cool voice on Rediffusion. May both RIP.

Anon said...

Yes that brown box we had before we could afford our own radio.

Anonymous said...

Talking about Rediffusion, it was being revived as part of our heritage. What happened?

Anon said...

Audience are fast shrinking... Young people can't relate.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I never thought it's worthwhile. Youth are carrying thumb-drives and iPods in their pockets. Instant gratification.
Some old stuff should just be laid to rest.

Or download programs for sale to general public? Just an idea.

FL said...

Andy, thanks for your article about the late Mike Ellery. I used to hear his voice over the Rediffusion in the sixties when I was still a secondary student. Very chatty and lively voice as I recall. I remember he hosted quite a number of entertainment programs then. After he left Rediffusion, we have little update about Mike. Of course, we feel sad that he has passed away.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Mike Ellery died of lymphoma at 82. The information was relayed to Vernon by Ellery's son. He died in England and had a career in Singapore as programmes manager since the mid 50s. Larry Lai, Tan Swee Leong, Chris Ho were some of the DJs (or broadcasting assistants as they were known in the early days) that Ellery had hired and mentored.

Spoke to Vernon yesterday and he kindly agreed to write the posting. Thanks again for writing and commenting FL.

CY Lin said...

Hey Andy, second month into 2015, scary... more so when we learn of the passing on of our peers. I know time is not on our side but I would like it to slow down a little especially when I'm enjoying good health, close family ties, warm friendships and secure surroundings. At the end of each day, I thank God for His protection and provision...truly am blessed.


Very nice blog. I really like this one. If you want to gather some good information on classical music updates in Singapore, you can find it at

SRT said...

Hi Andy,

I am a Year _ Mass Communication student from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. I chanced upon your blog while researching for an assignment. Really interesting articles you have about Rediffusion and its past! I would love to interview you, if possible, for a radio assignment about Rediffusion's golden days and your experiences with the radio station. Do contact me at my email... should you want to know more about it.

Thank you, and hope to hear from you soon!


Ngee Ann Polytechnic | School of Film & Media Studies
Diploma in Mass Communication | Year _

srt said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks for getting back to me! Really do appreciate your help and will contact Larry soon.

I actually contacted you as I was thinking of interviewing someone who used to listen to Rediffusion and their personal experiences with the radio station. However, as you've mentioned, Larry is the man since he was indeed one of the top DJs at that time! I've read your posts about him, they're very informative and interesting. I also find your posts about music eye-opening, especially those about Singapore's local music scene in the past.

Thank you so much for your help and time, I really appreciate it!