Sunday, April 10, 2016

Blast From The Past: Pop 50's Unfamiliar Today

           Natalie Cole - Almost Like Being In Love - Video: Vadim Shinnick.

Songs I Love

Before Cliff Richard:

This article came about when I was searching for Natalie Cole's songs on You Tube.  She had passed away on the last day of 2015 and I chanced upon her singing, Almost Like Being In Love, a personal favourite. 

It is a 1947 song and a lovely one at that. What with Tan Swee Leong's death on the 18th December, just days before hers, I thought of our vulnerability and how fragile we mortals are. These professionals reminded me too of the unique heritage they have left behind as entertainers. 
Almost Like Being In Love is not well-known to many young people here (pardon if I'm wrong) and even to some 60's music enthusiasts.  So if you're keen to know what some of us listened to a long time ago before Cliff Richard and The Shadows came to Singapore's Badminton Hall, read on.

Not the usual Top Hit List, as many of the titles are unheard of these days and the songs are presented as they come to my head. But some are not that obsolete since they were popular during the 1950's but came a little before The Young Ones.  A couple of singers are still around. Twenty songs should be sufficient but it is my own compilation and personal favourites.
              Thumbelina - Dean Martin - Video: eocarcharia channel

Pop Songs Unfamiliar Today: Sung by 50's Legends

Almost Like Being In Love - Frank Sinatra - 1947
Chee Chee Ooh Chee - Dean Martin - 1955
Money Burns A Hole In My Pocket - Dean Martin - 1954
Lay Down Your Arms - Anne Shelton - 1956
Where Will The Dimple Be? - Rosemary Clooney - 1955

Green Door - Jim Lowe - 1956

Hana Ko San - Miyoshi Umeki - 1940's to 1950's
I'm Hans Christian Andersen - Danny Kaye - 1952
Thumbelina - Danny Kaye or Dean Martin - 1952*
Around The Corner - Jo Stafford - 1952
              Baby Let's House - Elvis Presley - Video: Adem Presley

Baby Face - Bobby Darin - 1926
'A' You're Adorable - Perry Como - 1948**
Ivory Tower - Gale Storm - 1956
Dark Moon - Gale Storm - 1957
Fire Down Below - Jeri Southern - 1957
Baby Let's House - Elvis Presley - 1955***
Any Place Is Paradise - Elvis Presley - 1956
Majorca Isle of Love - Petula Clark - 1955
Imitation of Life - Earl Grant - 1959
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard - 1956

None of these songs have been covered and recorded by our local vocal or band groups.  Are they still being played on Singapore's English radio today?

Do you have some songs to add to the list?

*A song I teach my grandchildren.

**Tan Swee Leong usually sings this song to entertain. It was one I heard from him when we were gathered at a party at Grandma Mary's home. 

***Lost the precious 78rpm piece which would cost some today. The mumbling Elvis and echo plays are killers! 

Part 2 will come on soon. That's when I document songs recorded by our own local bands but unheard of today.
Images: Anne Shelton, Bobby Darin, Little Richard (horizontal); Petula Clark, Miyoshi Umeki, Perry Como (vertical).

You Tube Videos.

This article is copyrighted.


Victor said...

You are right, Andy. I have never heard the jazzy Almost Like Being In Love, whether sung by Natalie Cole or anyone else. Does that qualify me as being young? LOL.


Hi Andy,

Thanks for the above posting.
Andy, I would like to share with you some of my long lost favourites songs of the 50s.

No Other Love - Ronnie Hilton
Willie Can - The Beverley Sisters
No One But You - Billy Eskstine
Pa Paya Mama - Bonnie Lou
Just Out Of Reach - Bonnie Lou
Wake Up Irene - Mark Thomson
Now & Then There's A Fool Such As I - Hank Snow
The Wayward Wind - Gogi Grant
Petite Fleur (Little Flower) - Chris Barber Jazz Band
Slow Poke - Pee Wee King
The Three Bells - The Browns
Band Of Gold - Don Cherry
Mi Casa Su Casa - Perry Como
Wanted - Perry Como
With A Song In My Heart - Perry Como
Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell - Georgia Gibbs
Wait For Me Darling - Georgia Gibbs
I Want You To Be My Baby - Georgia Gibbs
Kiss Me Another - Georgia Gibbs
I Get so Lonely (When I Dream About You) - The Four Knights
Honeycombe - Jimmie Rogers
The Happy Whistler - Don Robertson
White Silver Sands - Don Rondo
Tonight You Belong To Me - Patience & Prudence
He's Got The Whole World In His Hands - Laurie London
Mama El Baion - Luis Oliveira& His Bandodalua
Anna - Ray Bloch
My Own True Love - Margaret Whiting
On London Bridge - Jo Stafford


YUSNOR EF said...

Dear Andy,

Thanks for the beautiful songs.

Su G. said...

Ha ha ha. So sorry. I don't know any of them! I was only a kid in the 50's. Try me when you get to the 60's. I do know ALMOST LIKE FALLING IN LOVE but must be a newer version, certainly not the 1947 one...

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you all for the immediate response, Victor and Su G. for the honest reply. I guess you're both too young to know the selection but glad you appreciate and recognise Cole's, ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE.

But Yusnor and Chor Seng are familiar with most of them I think, especially Chor Seng who has provided a fabulous list of 50's hits. Thank you so much sir. It adds to my short one.

Unknown said...

Hi Andy
when we mention music from this era, my mind will turn to our mutual friend, James Choa, almost instantly. A few of James's favourites are; Walking My Baby Back Home, My Funny Valentine, and September In The Rain. These are the few that come to my mind immediately but James had a lot more under his sleeves!

The few great artists I know of from this bygone era are; Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, Glen Miller and of course Tommy Dorsey. All of these are big band music greats! Modern singers who tried to bring back the sound of these big bands, with some success, are; Michael Buble as well as Rod Stewart.

All the best Andy!


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

You are right sir. The big band music greats are in tune with some of the singers I mentioned. Gene Krupa and Lionel Hampton were in the Benny Goodman team and Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey heads of their own orchestras.

I was still a secondary school boy when I listened to Benny Goodman and his fab drummer Gene Krupa, still keeping the band leaders vinyl record and CD. Love BGAHO. Swingers they were!

Thanks for the educational response. Appreciate.

CYLIN said...


Your latest post brings back lots of memories of a young schoolgirl brought up on a diet of English movies (my father worked in the cinema at the four RAF base camps) and English pop songs aired on the local radio waveband.

I loved listening and singing along to Vera Lynn (she was the war veterans darling) - Bless them all; We'll meet again; When I grow too old to dream; Harbour lights; just to name a few.

Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page (who can forget her hit - How much is the doggie in the window ?), Doris Day - Que sera,sera - a perennial favourite.

Must say the one who made the most impression on this school girl was Eartha Kitt - very earthy (if there is such a description for a voice), sultry and soulful. And of course, the song - Under the bridges of Paris.

Was I being partial to female singers? No. I was just like the young females today who go crazy over Lady Gaga, Madonna, Adele!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Dear Lin,

Didn't think this post would appeal to you but I'm glad it did. So many songs spinning in our minds. I guess they become part of our psyche, just like the movies you were mentioning.

More importantly, thank you for sharing your memories with us when you visit the blog. That is a memory in itself...

chakap chakap said...

Many of the songs presented came before Cliff Richard and The Shadows hit the shores of Singapore. This was the pre-60's era where we had local pop groups and bands like, The Gaylads, The Flamingos and The Three Bambinos appearing on stage.

The Flamingos, like many combo bands, were the idols then, with all in full suits and ties, resplendent in either dark blue or black. A combo band would include a near full percussion like the conga drums, bongos, maracas and double bass. Most were non-electronic gadgets.

The guitar were semi-solids with F holes on them and blowing instruments like the saxophone, clarinet (sometimes) and the inevitable trumpet.

Imagine the piano that had to be lugged on stage before any show...