Sunday, September 13, 2015

'Fabulous Echoes' Once Called 'The Rock n Rollers'

The Untold Event About HK's Top Filipino Band

On 7th September, 2015, Ernest Dizon (left) wrote to me on the Comment page in my Fabulous Echoes posting  dated *Monday 18th May, 2009.  

He must have a reason for writing this short but interesting personal tale about Hong Kong's well-known Filipino group from the 1960's of which he was a member. 

Although I found some difficulty editing his story (especially where the informational pieces are concerned) I thought it best if I published the article and hope he would write again to verify certain items. I thank Mr Dizon for the note and for taking us back to those years when Sri Lanka was Ceylon. 

The letter has been edited for ease of read:
"The original name of the Fabulous Echoes were The Rock n Rollers and the very original members were Ernie Dizon, my brother Reny Dizon and the three Ruivivar brothers.

We started for fun on a hot summer day when we went up the roof on Kimberley Road (Hong Kong) and started singing and harmonizing. During one of our fun practices, the band leader Tony suggested that we started a proper band. So we rehearsed daily in all seriousness.
One day an agent from Sri Lanka introduced himself as an employer looking for a band to play in Ceylon.  That's the old name for Sri Lanka.  So to make my story short we managed to get the contract and boarded the ship that we were supposed to play in. It was called, **MV Victoria, The Lloyd Triestino.  We loaded our instruments into our room on the ship and for the first contract. Believe it or not, we were nine days at sea.

I was the first to notice Sri Lanka in the distance when we were about to land because I could not sleep and went up on deck to enjoy the breeze. I saw a light house on the Northern tip, got excited and started calling the other members of our band.   In the meantime, all the other passengers were clapping and shouting because we had arrived in Ceylon after a rather long and weary sea journey.  
We played at the Orchid Room and the Green Room (location not mentioned).  In a sudden twist of fate which robbed us of a chance to go to Europe our boss Donovan Andre passed away because of an ailment. He was planning to combine our cabaret acts into one single production.  Fate awaits no one and sad to say, we took a KLM airline back to Hong Kong!

We truly regretted the loss of our boss.  He was such a pleasant, humble person and so simple in his ways.  He was also very kind to us. We stayed in Wallace Place in Colpya, Sri Lanka (unidentified location).  It was a very memorable trip for all of us."
But the rather tragic story did not stop the members from carrying on to become the fabulous group that it was afterwards. 

Thanks again Mr Dizon for the very generous contribution and the story that not many people know about. Please write in again if you read this posting.


The Fabulous Echoes were just as famous as the Filipino group D'Starlights here in Singapore 60's.


"On board it is as if you were staying at a Riviera hotel ... On this small but complete floating city, passengers will have the opportunity of spending their days absolutely free of care without any need to forego their most cherished habits."   Built in 1953, it was sold and ended its service in 1974.

Images: Ernest Dizon Google+; Google.
You Tube Video: from shatinterry.


SLIP NOTE: 15th September, 2015.
Breaking News:
Clean City Singapore Smothered By Others

The haze in this region seems to be getting worse year by year. At its most unhealthy level last night @ PSI 240+.  A neighbouring country doesn't seem to be able to do much controlling it. When Singapore offered assistance their authorities turned it down.  Perhaps a little bit of soap for face, and lots of water for fire, might help? I have a piece of advice, "Jangan suka dong, malu malu kucing... (pop 60's Indonesian song)."



Hi Andy

The write-up is interesting that also provide good information on how the group come about in the 60S.

Their most memorable song without a doubt was [A little bit of Soap], I believe most would remember even today.

The music is simple yet pleasant to the ears. Thanks.



Really down memory lane, but D'starlights were more memorable. Tks.


Thanks for sharing Fabulous Echoes story.

SUNNY WEE said...

Good oldie. Thanks.


One of the number of albums I have framed up at my shop.

("lovin' Feeling" Album with Satisfaction, The Wedding, Wooly Bully, Hang On Sloopy, King of the Road, My Love Forgive Me.)

MLIM said...

If i'm not mistaken, there's a song called, A LITTLE BIT OF SOAP, may be from them?

chakapchakap said...

Band member:
Cliff Foenander was a Sri Lankan (Ceylon) musician, born in Colombo, who performed in South East Asia and Las Vegas. He died in Australia on the 21st November 2000.

Cliff grew up in Colombo, and in the 1950's started performing in clubs around Ceylon. South Asia's oldest radio station, Radio Ceylon (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation) gave Cliff his first exposure in Ceylon and across South Asia, including India.

Cliff later joined Hong Kong based group 'The Fabulous Echoes' and built a fan base in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan.

They achieved international exposure playing in Las Vegas, US, and perfored with rat pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, with Ella Fitzgerald and 'Satchmo,' Louis Armstrong. The band performed on the Ed Sullivan Show after they were seen in action at the Thunderbird Lounge.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks for the response from musicians and readers who knew the band. This group has been a long standing one with fans all over the region.

According to news pieces I read, the original members Cliff Foenander (story above), Terry Lucido, Jr. and Danny Ruivivar had passed away, with only Tony Ruivivar and Bert Sagum left in the entertainment industry as the members of the Society of Seven. In 2010, S of S returned to 'Outrigger Hawaii' after their long stint in Las Vegas.

AUDIE NG said...

Although the Fabulous Echoes were a popular Filipino group around, D'Starlights (Filipinos) who were mostly playing in Singapore had been the attraction here.

I noticed that you did not have much write-up about them. FYI I was their booking agent and they were managed by my good friend Mr Robert Ho who had migrated to Perth. Are you aware that I forced them to take up TKD to protect themselves from the thugs that harassed them and were jealous because they had a lot of female fans?

I recommended them to my TKD classes and stood as guarantor because at that time for someone who wanted to take up the sport he/she must not have a police record and be recommended by an active member.

I also intiated that D'Starlights demonstrated their TKD skills before their performances and put this idea to practice during my first concert with them in 1977 at the National Stadium.



Roman Tubeo said...

heard it first from my father tape when i was 5 and here i am listening to this undying classic music. thanks a lot for uploading this video. you dont know how much it means to me. thanks a lot.

(You Tube Comment)



FACEBOOK said...



Hi Andy,

Thank you for posting this interesting article. Not forgetting a big thank you to Mr Ernest Dizon who in the first place, shared his personal tale in the comment page of your blog.
I really enjoyed listening to 'A Little Bit Of Soap' & 'Another Saturday Night' back then and even now. What endeared me to the song 'A little Bit Of Soap' is how the singer pronounced the word "wash."
Audie and Chakapchakap also provided some interesting comments. I reckon both of them would have many more interesting anecdotes/insights to share with readers of your wonderful blog?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks to Audie who provided his interesting tale. You remember the gangsters too that roam the streets during those post-war years. They were quite a menace, controlling shop-keepers with their 'protection money' schemes.

Also thanks to the FACEBOOK supportive group and Jimmy Chng who once had a band in the 60's called, The Decibels. You are right about the 'Soap' song and the pronunciation of the word 'wash'. Could have been a combination of HK/US/Tagalog English? If readers have not listened to the song, please do. It was one of the most popular songs recorded by Fabulous Echoes.

chakapchakap2 said...

"A Little Bit of Soap", by Bert Berns/Russell, was a song, first sung by The Jarmels, who reached #12 with it in September 1961. It has been covered many times since. While it was a minor hit in the US all three times it was released, it reached the Top Ten on the Canadian charts, and Top Twenty in Australia in 1970. It was Davis' first charting single release.

"A Little Bit of Soap" was a huge hit in SEAsia when HK group Cliff Foenander and 'The Fabulous Echoes' released it as a single which held 25 weeks at number one in top ten charts in 1963 in this region. Foenander and the group also sang the hit in Las Vegas USA in 1964. It made Foenander a household name. Radio Ceylon, the oldest radio station in South Asia, played the number one hit across the Indian subcontinent.

See, what a little bit of soap can do.

FL said...

Hi,Andy, I happened to hear the Fabulous Echoes song (A Little Bit of Soap)for the first time was when I was a young kid around 13 years old. I played this song(a 45 rpm vinyl record) on my cousin's gramophone in the early sixties. It was one of my favorite songs, and it is still so to date. I remember I would play it again and again ! The group's next popular song to me is Dancing on the moon. Thank you for writing about this great band.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Dear FL,
Your constant visit and support for this blog is incredible. Thanks again for your story about the gramophone and playing a song you love repeatedly. I do the same too.

You are right about their next big song DANCING ON THE MOON, a great favourite with many fans.

Break 80 said...

Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts!

Centri Records, New York (independent record label: Rhandy Acosta). Promotes local talent from Queens, NY.

(I know this comment to be a disguised advertisement but allow it since the label is supposed to promote local talent).


Keep going. U reaĺly have d stamina. Those from d 60's n from our age group sure enjoý readìng it.

suituapui said...

We had their vinyl record - A little bit of soap. Didn't know they were Filipinos. Really talented those from that country.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks guys for the encouragement. suituapui I shall write to you soon. They are very talented.