Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Fabian's Music Milestones In Rock n Roll Singapore

Fabian Foo supports this blog for its cause and has commented on the postings about our local music in the 1960's. He is also an avid photographer and a movie-maker having recorded many videos on You Tube showing performances by our local 60's music boys and girls.

When I asked him if he could write an article about his experiences as a young man enjoying his rock and roll years, he responded immediately and positively.  As he starts the engine of his vintage beauty, let's ride with him and enjoy his music milestones.

Thank you very much Fabian for this nostalgic piece.

Dear Andy,

Music lover of the 60's

From my young days of a 10 year old, I have been listening to music when my paternal uncle would play his singles vinyls both in English and Chinese. I remember that he liked Rita Chao and Sakura songs both in Chinese and English. As a young teenager at 14, my parents subscribed to Rediffusion and I started to listen to programmes like Top Tunes of The Week, To Each His Own etc. 

Mike Ellery, Larry Lai, Joseph Goh and many others were answering requests on radio and Rediffusion throughout the weekend. On some occasions I also made requests on radio sending greetings to friends and classmates. Also I participated in some programmes sponsored by Hacks and Hudson sweets guessing the top 5 songs of the week ( in the order of merit) and managed to win token sums on some occasions.

However in the year before PSLE examination, there is a red mark in one of my result slips, my parents immediately took away the Rediffusion subscription. I brushed up and assured my parents that I would get into and be within the top 5 students in the class. My efforts paid off and in the next semester I was honoured to be in the top position in class. It was a great Rock n Roll feeling in those early years of 1962 to 1965 when we had the Beatlemania craze, Rolling Stones, Herman Hermits, Yardbirds, Peter & Gordon, Lulu, Petula Clarke, Cilla Black, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck and many others. 
Those years in secondary education (1966 to 1968 ) were also exciting for me. I remember that a group of us ( cheeky boys ) will sit on the last row in class. We had pocket size transistor radios and when the subjects were not interesting, we listened to music and songs on the quiet. Also a few of us saved our pocket money (skip recess) and hit for Kwang Sia Record in Hill Street to buy our singles and EP. 
Those were the good old days when we saved and built up our vinyl record library and kept ourselves occupied by cleaning them every few months. The biggest regret is that the whole set of LPs ,EP's and singles were thrown away when we started our journey into married life and there is no space in our new home to store away those precious vinyls. What a pity as they are now worth every ounce. 

During the late 80's my passion for music continued and visiting Tower Records ( Pacific Plaza ) and other record shops had been a good pastime. I began to buy and keep some compact discs of the 60's music. The good time I had is knowing so many of the 60's musicians in the late 80's. We were then active members of the Lions Club movement and the club had some of the best 60's music makers in the local scene. Names like Veronica Young, Henry Chua, James Choa, Tony Kwek, Lawrence Lee, John Cher, Victor Lam and others. 

After each monthly meeting on Friday evening, the group of musicians would start to jam and we all enjoyed our fellowship and fun. The club did a great show for charity in September 1989 known as “Thanks for the Memories” and all the local bands performed to a full capacity audience at then The Neptune Theatre. We contributed our time and effort to help the needy but same time we enjoyed good music and long lasting friendship. That is the power and influence of music …

Fabian Foo 
Copyrights Reserved

               The Silver Strings Perform: Video by Fabian Foo December 2014
            Fabian Foo Videos on You Tube:

These items below that were mentioned by Fabian Foo are still around and we can find them if we look hard enough but they are hardly used today. The mint sweet was popular with school children then.

If you have a story to tell about your experiences in the past please write in and it will be published.
Images: A Personal Collection; Google.


Unknown said...

Hi Fabian Foo. Thanks for sharing your stories with us. I enjoyed reading them and the stories brought back some fond memories to me as well. The "threat" to terminate the Rediffusion audio service sounds really familiar. We have to live with "threats" all the time during our younger days. Wow! Never knew you were such a good student. Being "1st boy" is way out for me. Never thought of achieving it as I know it is beyond me! haha Recently my granddaughter, who is doing her Pr 1 at St Nick's told me she was "5th girl" and I told myself thats better than your grandfather ever did. Then I realised she was "5th girl" in the entire Pr 1 cohort! Quite embarassing! Anyway, I remember fiddling around with my Rediffusion set and added an extra speaker to the system. It was very loud and sounded "shiok". The only problem was that I cannot control the volume! And therefore it was a real nuisance to everyone at home. So got "threatened" to get rid of my "invention" or the service will be disconnected!

Your recollection about saving pennies and dimes to buy records was familiar too. One record I purchased through this method was His Latest Flame by Elvis. I remember Kwang Sia Records too but for a different reason. A fren of mine shared with me that when he was in secondary school, he was giving tuition to one of the daughters of K.S R boss. He told me that she was really pretty and he would have willingly gave her tuition for free! (not only the acadamic type of tuition)!

By the time Tower Records at Pacific Plaza came into the scene, my interest was looking for old movies, rather than music cds. One of my prized collection was a four set Johnny Weismullar Tarzan classic. The titles were; Tarzan Finds A Song, Tarzan's Secret Treasure, Tarzan's New York Adventure and Tarzan the Apeman. It costs $200.00! Two Westerns I was always looking for were The Proud Ones and Warlock but never found them there.

Finally thanks for posting the Silver Strings version of Dance On. That was almost exactly one year ago at Sentosa! How time flies.

Keep your stories coming Fabian!


John Cher

Linda said...

Andy, your posts are always a breath of fresh air! I love the vintage items and your header is beautiful!


Good read.


Thanks Andy for generous acknowledgement. Have a great day!



ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

From nowhere on the Content Top Ten list to number 2 within hours. Congratulations to Fabian Foo for his write-up about his teenage years.

I hope more readers would share their Singapore 60's music stories. Children need heritage to help them understand who they are and where they belong. Music is one.

Thanks to all the readers who have written in and given a thumbs up for this posting.

Unknown said...

Sorry Andy. correction; it should be TARZAN FINDS A SON (not A Song)

I must also mention that the LIONS Club days Fabian talked about was really enjoyable. I remember the jam sessions after the business of meetings was taken care of. Charlie and Dora were really hospitable and we treated the studio as if it were our own! Will always remember Charlie's favourite, WALKING MY BABY BACK HOME. One of Dora's favourites was Distant Drums.

Thanks again Fabian. Hope to see you at Pek Kio on Saturday.


John Cher

YK from CORP COMM said...

Dear Andy,

Greetings from Rhythm of Christmas!

We are very excited to have you attend Shun Ng & the Shunettes concert at the Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel on Sunday 6 Dec, 2015. The concert will start at 7 pm. Please be at the VIP counter at least 30 minutes before the show time.

Thank you and we look forward to see you at the concert.

Best Regards,
Executive In Charge

FL said...

Andy,thanks for Fabian's write up about his younger days and the music scene then. Very interesting to read about the happy pasts. Also, thanks to Fabian for his contribution to your blog. I still like the Redifusion box set of the past. It was where we older generation got to know the many pop bands and singers then. Based on our standard of living then, very few families could afford to own radio sets which were considered expensive items.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Rediffusion had always been a music gem for those in the 60's with its constant pop tributes every day of the week, nearly every hour I remember. It should have been called the Larry Lai loudspeaker :-) Larry are you reading this?

Thanks FL for comment and constant visit and support.