Friday, September 23, 2016

Sunglasses Turn To Moonglasses In Singapore

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

Shades On Stage



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!" 


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:

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

images: from google.



Very comprehensive coverage. Nostalgic n memorable. Well done!


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


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 :)


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.


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...

Thanks for following and liking the post:

Lillian Clark
Kendra Black
Zach Binder
Joel Comm
Rays Rozalin
Regina Baraban
Jessie Peters


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.



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.

jesi k said...

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ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi jesi k,

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You are welcome to comment but no ads.

Thanks for enjoying the blog.

radhi m. said...

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



Andy Young

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

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

Andy Young

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
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.

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.

You can write out such an interesting article out of sunglasses or shades amusing! Andy 👍

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.


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 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.
[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.


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...


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...


Jalani Mohamed
Koh Daisy
Freda Hanum
Roop Singh [LOVE]
Jimmy Appudurai-chua
Ann Rowena Lim
Ser Kiong Tan
Yip Dick
Moody Cash [LOVE]
Stephen Han

FACEBOOK said...

Eric Bronson Wong
Koh Sui Pang
Ivor Lesslar
Manny Said



yes i did. 🤣

CHIT CHAT said...

Moonglasses used to be the hype many years ago, with pop singers, musicians and rock n rollers wearing them in the nightclubs and on the lamplit streets... In Singapore too. Did you?


True. Moon glasses are one of the few accessories for men. I used to have a few for different occasions... 😂

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

hi, thanks for your response. Honestly, many seniors don't know this, unless they frequent nightclubs. Those were years of stylo-mylo show-offs. I was one of them, until I tripped one night at Orchard Car Park Food Outlet. No more moonglasses after that. 🙂

CHIT CHAT said...

Michael Lee
Andy Young In my opinion if musicians, singers and entertainers can't stand the sight of the audience they are in the wrong line of business. Without the audience and fans why would anyone want to employ them. The real reason to me is to protect their eyes against the very bright and damaging spotlights. Carbon arcs spotlight would be worse. Another reason is vanity - they think they look good with sunglasses.

Andy Young
Michael Lee hi again, thanks for your ever supporting role to help with these postings. Yes, you are knowledgeable where the technicalities of music are concerned. Spotlights do damage the eyes. And vanity too. 🙂 Musicians are very vain.


Many maybe but certainly not everyone.

CHIT CHAT said...

Andy Young
Michael Lee yes, perhaps some are. Not all...

Michael Lee
Honestly, if you look at top class entertainers - how many of them wear sunglasses.

Andy Young
Michael Lee yes, mostly don't I think.

CHIT CHAT said...

Andy Young
Thanks Mike for being the early bird.

Andy Young
Thanks Tin LL for always LIKING the blog posts. Appreciate.

Colin Colin
Think sunglasses makes a musician looks cool, it gives them a kind of morale booster that fans adore them.

Andy Young
Colin Colin yes, you are absolutely correct. a 'morale booster'. True. Thanks for taking time off from your chendol business. Must go visit you again.

CHIT CHAT said...

Cedric Cork
I’m a Musician but I just started wearing Sunglasses 🕶 Day & Night ! Cos’ I just had my Cataract removed, Doctors orders to keep out the Glare !’ Sunlight & normal House lights !!

Andy Young
Cedric Cork hi, get better soon. Saw your picture on your FB post. I am sure you have many pairs of sunglasses.

CHIT CHAT said...

Stephen Han
Sunglasses were in fashion during the late 50s and 60s

Andy Young
Stephen Han Thanks for visiting again. Enjoy the song.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Angela, Rose and Ser Kiong.
Thanks for the visit...

You fashionable folks must have pairs of sunglasses with you.
Chat about it?
And Fabian too? 🙂

Thanks Irene and Rowena for the power support.
And Jimmy too, Thanks Mr. Appudurai-chua.


CHIT CHAT said...

Jennie Law
Sunglasses is to protect the glaring lights that shine on stage..I encountered it myself... I cant open my eyes, cnt read the lyrics properly. No joke.

Freda Hanum
This article really had me thinking. I remember Teepees had a photo session with us all wearing shades, I guess for a change of image, but we did feel good and mysterious hehehe, but never on stage performing, only our drummer at times... she could be audience shy... Nice interesting topic Andy😊

Freda Hanum
😆Complimentary picture to you Andy... of Teepees all wearing shades for photograph taking... haha 😄😄

Michael Lee
Freda Hanum Style mesti ada tetapi tidak kala.

CHIT CHAT said...

Thanks Jennie, Freda and Michael for the funny comments and leisurely chat.
This topic has really kept those who read it article talking.

I think that's important...
Appreciate all your contribution to this post.

CHIT CHAT said...

Irene Yap
I remember it was kind of groovy for guys to spot moonglasses. Back than groovy was the word to use. I only wore sunglasses with prescription as I was a little myopic. Only wore them when I needed to see clearly like driving or watching a movie. Usually without them and slightly blind

Freda Hanum
Irene Yap Yeah that's the word Irene ... Groovy... hehehe😄

Koh Daisy
I remember those days! Had a whole collection of sun glasses… wore them all the time. Makes you look mysterious and you could steal glances at your target without being too obvious. Sunglasses can hide your flaws, enhance your looks and give you a sense of security. As you grow older they help protect your eyesight and conceal your age. Love my sunglasses.

Andy Young
Koh Daisy hi, you've got all the reasons for wearing a pair in a spectacularly expressive way! Wow! Thanks. I'm running off the buy another 11 pairs!!! You are convincing.

Richard Khan
Helps with bright lights viva los Vegas 😂

Richard Khan
I'm naked without my shades 😎

Stephen Han
Sunglasses were the rage in the 50s and 60s.It seems everyone had a pair of Sun glasses.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks to all FB folks who responded; it just shows how popular the subject of sunglasses/moonglasses can be. It was a rage in the 60s, especially with moonglasses since I don't see many people using them nowadays.

CHIT CHAT said...

Andy Young
Thank you so much Raymond for being the second in line to honour the blog.

Chee Chien
Andy Young Great Job! Keep it up! 👏👏👏

Andy Young
Thanks Chee Chien. Must meet for kopi with Wen Hing soon.

CHIT CHAT said...

Ivor Lesslar
Hopefully The Second Half Will Sail Thru Peacefully.

Andy Young
Ivor Lesslar yes, we all hope so too and make more music. Thanks for the visit Ivor. Cheers.