Friday, September 23, 2016

Sunglasses Turn To Moonglasses In Singapore

Marlon Brando, the bravado with 
his shades and the big bike.

Shades On Stage

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Sunglasses:

Sunglasses have been fashion accessory since the 1940's but others believe that these spectacles with dark coloured lenses have existed since the 1920's. 

Some people thought they were invented because film stars needed them to protect their eyes from the extremely powerful arc lights on movie sets; others felt that sun glasses were invented for the beach.
Dark Dark Sunglasses by The Kittens
Video: shinsuke oldiesjuke.

Simply, it's just a pair of dark glasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the blinding sun. Then came the UV ray and computer professional theories and later the LASIK operation which hyped the wearing of this fashion trend. 

Sunglasses has a history in itself. A long time ago, in the US, they were commonly known as shades and Marlon Brando (image on bike) had them for his 1954 movie On The Waterfront and Elvis Presley (right) wore them while jamming in a scene for his 1970 bio movie, That's The Way It Is. These dark-lens spectacles were known to have dated way back when into Roman times and 12th Century China.

Pop stars known to wear sunglasses included, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Freddie Mercury, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Boy George, James Dean, Bob Marley, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. An endless list?

Except for Yoko Ono and a few other lady singers, most female stars do not put on dark glasses for obvious reasons.

Call them what you may, sunglasses were identified differently in various countries. Known as glares in India; speckies in Australia; sunnies in Africa, UK and NZ. The Scots called them glecks and the Middle East, cooling glasses.

In Singapore they were ordinarily known as sun glasses, shades, black specs, sun specs or simply dark glasses. 

Our Singapore band boys wore them constantly. And featured images were our own pop stars from The Quests, The Jets and The Stylers. Know them?

There were different types too; Aviator, Oversized, Shutter Shades, Tea Shades, Wayfarer and Wrap Around. The more starry-eyed youngsters in the 1960's, to show off their expensive taste, called them Ray Ban.

Cursing first, "Damn sun." Then, "Alamak, I left my Ray Ban Aviator at home!" 

Moonglasses

What surprised me was in the early 1960's when everyone was rock n rollin' on the ballroom floor at Paya Lebar Airport night club I saw a dancing couple wearing a pair of sunglasses. No difference actually because they were ordinary shades worn at night. 

It could have started because of Roy Orbison's (left) iconic glasses. There was a cult following when our Only The Lonely pop star made night sunglasses a cool habit among singers. 

Because of his own experience with prescription glasses in 1963, he ended on stage one evening wearing a pair. The idea must have caught on. And they called them, moonglasses?

There were singers who needed to wear them permanently, even at night. They were: Jose Feliciano, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Ronny Milsap and Roy Orbison.

Like cats we copied, and soon the band boys were wearing moonglasses on stage at night. Their excuse was simple; the glare of the stage lights were blinding. So moonglasses were in vogue for a while during Singapore's 60's music craze (images below show *Malay singer Ismail Haron and *Chinese guitar group The Bees). 

Walking the evening streets in Singapore in the 1960's it was easily noticeable that the trend had caught on like wildfire. As the Pokemon phenomenon is today, just imagine a whole lot of youngsters walking around in the middle of the night, with dark glasses on their faces, shading themselves from the moon glare?

I remember one evening when a group of us, some with moonglasses, had to walk to a makeshift carpark (not many beautiful carparks like they have today). It was after a performance at a Changi beach club.

There was a loud thud and we saw our drummer boy fall on the sandy shore. He had bumped into a coconut tree in the dark of night. His pair of moonglasses was still dangling on one ear when we went to 'rescue' him.

Are moonglasses still popular today? Of course but not so spectacular as it was yesterday. You can still see Silver Strings Michael Bangar wearing them during performance, day and night.


Do you have stories to tell about your shades?

*Singers and bands are versatile. Ismail Haron, who had passed on, was a Malay and The Bees was basically a Chinese guitar group but they sang and played western music as well.

Images from: A Personal Collection and Google.

Article is original and some information from Wikipedia and Internet sites.

Roy Orbison and Moonglasses. 
Click below to read:

http://singapore60smusic.blogspot.sg/2009/03/roy-orbison-pretty-woman-moonglasses.html


                                         Ooh, here's a nasty one!
'Sunglasses' - Sandy Posey. 
Video from YouTube by BladeSteve2007. 
as suggested by stephen han.

images: from google.

19 comments:

LAURENCE LIM (VOCALIST THE TREBLES) said...

Very comprehensive coverage. Nostalgic n memorable. Well done!

YHOO ANSWERS said...

Well I think famous singers wear sunglasses to look cool and different from others.

YAHOO ANSWERS said...

It's a trademark and there are some celebrities who claim they are sensitive to bright lights like Bono of U2, he doesn't like camera flashes.

I think it's a bit strange and as a performer it's better in most cases for people to be able to see your face rather than hide behind a pair of glasses. But then I guess a lot of classic artists also wore them like Roy Orbison, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles etc. I think they helped make glasses more acceptable but Wonder and Charles wore them because they were blind not to look cool onstage.

JOURDY said...

Yeah mostly to look cool and make some sort of fashion statement. Then again if you've ever been on stage it can be insanely bright at times and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a pretty scene if the paparazi caught you making a weird squinty face the whole performance :)

LAURENCE LIM ('GRANDFATHER' FOR 'YOURE THE BOY' YOUTUBE VIDEO said...

Fashions have no boundaries. It's just a passing fad. What about the 'drain pip trousers' period. What about the 'Tony Curtis' hair style. Not long ago being bald was trendy and macho.

Each era has its own history, so moonglasses was a fad, nothing wrong, nothing silly but it was the fashion of the day.

Cheers.

FRET NO MORE said...

Sunglasses make other people uncomfortable, keeping them on while talking to someone makes you look suspicious or arrogant, it's like avoiding eye contact. Which probably is confused with acting cool when it's really just being a bit insensitive to social cues. But maybe this is what you want on stage, looking aloof and cut off from the rabble in the audience.

KMONK said...

If you are playing outdoors on a sunny day, there is nothing wrong with wearing sunglasses. If you are playing indoors or playing outdoors at night, there is no reason to wear them.

TWITTER said...

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MICHAEL BANGAR (RHYTHMIST SILVER STRINGS said...

My sunglasses/moon glasses reason: I had eye surgery and adviced by eye specialist to wear them when sunny and bright. Since then it's become a habit. Shades! Same reason - UV rays in the day and in the night, glare of the lights when playing on stage.

I like the looking COOL part too. Making old geezers like me look a bit stylo mylo.

Cheers.

HENRI GANN (TREKKERS LEAD AND POST WRITER) said...

I was at the Roy Orbison Concert and my wife too. It was definitely a memorable experience to see Roy Orbison in Concert.
The other artiste who gave terrific concerts that I remember very well were the Everly Bros and the Gipsy Kings.


http://www.vintagerock.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=161:my-evening-with-roy-orbison&catid=1:all-features&Itemid=2

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ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

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radhi m. said...

Can truly relate and retain this outstanding post. Very well written.

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

MUSICIANS WEAR THEM ON STAGE.
MOONGLASSES.
STYLO MYLO.
READ ABOUT ITS HISTORY...
CHECK BLOG CONNECT.

Andy Young
WHO ARE THESE SINGAPORE POP STARS...

Ivor Lesslar
Andy Young Reggie Verghese (Quests) &
John Ali (Pest Infested)

Andy Young
Hi, IVOR, thank you sir for the support. How are you. The quiet man with the noisy fingers. Can you send this posting to Michael too. Appreciate.

Ivor Lesslar
Andy Young Hokey Dokey.

Andy Young
THANKS IVOR.

Stephen Han
I remember a song called “Sunglasses” by Sandy Posey.
A very comprehensive write up on moonglasses.

Andy Young
THANK YOU STEPHEN.

Moody Cash
O yea m wearin' dark eyeglasses coz not only Stylo-Mylo but to hide my tears n cheeky eyes. God bless.

Stephen Han
I can recognize Roy Orbison ,Elvis Presley and Michael Banger.

Andy Young
Hey MOODY CASH, I just love your name.
It's got character. And thanks for lovin' this post.
First time you made a comment.
CHEERS, sir.

Andy Young
Thanks STEPHEN.
Yes, you're right, being a man on the go and always attending shows from the 60s.
How many shows have you watched all these years.

Stephen Han
Andy Young, Countless

Andy Young
Victor thanks for sharing the post.
Not the first time.
And all others who LIKE this post.
KAMSIAH.

Andy Young
Can anyone else guess the other two local pop stars.
And the one on the record cover.
Famed ISMAIL HARON, who sings TOM JONES.

FREDA HANUM
You can write out such an interesting article out of sunglasses or shades whatever...so amusing! Andy 👍

ANDY YOUNG
Yes, Freda, Moonglasses was huge in the 60's.
Not sure about the 70s.
We were all practically wearing dark glasses at night.
No kidding.

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Andy Young
Victor thanks for sharing the post. Not the first time. And all others who LIKE this post. KAMSIAH.

Andy Young
Can anyone else guess the other two local pop stars. And the one on the record cover. Famed ISMAIL HARON, who sings TOM JONES.

Stephen Han
Andy Young -I watched Ismail Haron at West Point

Freda Hanum
You can write out such an interesting article out of sunglasses or shades whatever...so amusing! Andy 👍

Andy Young
Yes, Freda, moonglasses was like such a phenomenon. All young folks were wearing dark glasses at night. Like orang gila. But it was a fashion trend. Very stylish. Haha.

Stephen Han
Andy Young -Ray Ban was the hot brand then.
·
Koh Daisy
Love my sunglasses/moon glasses / a go go glasses to this day … have had many photos taken …hiding behind those glasses.😁😁😁

Andy Young
Show the pictures. Will be awe-inspiring for 60s folks and the new generation.
THANKS DAISY.
[It's on the blog posting and shows an image of 5 ladies and sunglasses.]

Andy Young
Your song is up Stephen. As you mentioned and credited in your name. THANKS very much. I love SANDY POSEY.

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Freda Hanum
Andy Young, Yes I love wearing sun glasses too, feels stylish hehehe😁

Andy Young
Yes, nice. It's one of the most effective facial accessories a lady could wear...

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Andy Young
Hi Manny, bought a small collection of his records some years back.
I don't know him personally but love his vinyl status with VIGILANTES, GUYS and ANITA SARAWAK.
His rendition of Malay translated English melodies are great.
I also understand he passed away about 10 years ago.
Thanks for writing in sir.

FACEBOOK said...

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