Friday, October 07, 2016

Guitarist Donald Thaver Of 'The Moonglows'

Donald Thaver from The Moonglows

Mr Donald Thaver has passed away this on 17th of October, 2016, according to John Cher.  May Mr Thaver Rest In Peace.

The golden era of Singapore's music history has to be the 60's.  It was a vibrant and exciting scene even though in the same period, Singapore was struggling to survive economically and as a nation.

Many bands were conceived and born in the 60's.  Some should have been aborted in the first place.  But there were some good notable ones, such as The Quests, The Thunderbirds, The Silver Strings, The Checkmates, The Dukes, The Hi-Lites (later to become The Mandarins) and others.  

Among these well accepted and good bands was *Sonny Bala and The Moonglows (Donald Thaver centre back).  Sonny, was respected for his rendition of numbers by The Platters as well as other pop genres. The band were recording artistes as well and did a number of vinyl, with reasonable success under the Philips Records international label (Universal Music today). 

One of the guitarists for the band was a young, tall, slim gentleman by the name of Donald Thaver.  He played both the lead, the rhythm guitar and would sing when the need arose.

After The Moonglows, Donald formed his own band.  It was an interesting, attention grabbing name, 4 Plus 1. Donald's forte was Country Music as well as Standards.  

Such music at that time were well liked and indeed sought after by the expatriate communities, hungry for such music, probably to remind them of home.  A good place to showcase such music would naturally be the Orchard Road area where most of the expatriates lived.  Shaw House was one venue where the band played at. They did their tour of the Japanese Clubs circuit as well.   

After  4 plus 1,  Donald joined a country outfit known as The Outlaws. Very aptly named as they were performing in a club known as the Boots n Saddle Club, located at Sembawang Road, opposite the present Sembawang Shopping Centre.  Charlie Anchant was on the vocals, Ricky Tan (Bass), Syed Murati (Drums), Ivor Lesslar (Lead) and Donald Thaver (2nd guitar).
                Donald Thaver flanked by Jerry Murad (left) and Gina Vadham. 
                                    Ivor Lesslar with hat.

Towards the later years, Donald played with various bands.  Two outstanding ones were The Neu Notes as well as Transit. In 2015, Transit did four concerts at both The Recital Studio and the outdoor theatre of The Esplanade.  

When asked why the group was called Transit, band member Jerry Murad explained, with much laughter from the audience, that the band was of a certain age and were certainly in transit to somewhere else.

*Read about Sonny Bala here:

Article written by John Cher. All rights reserved.
Images: Ivor Lesslar.
You Tube Video: cjyeo.
                                       Transit @ the Esplanade                                                   
John and I had been thinking of writing shorter articles about our band boys and girls who are still active in today's music scene. This article is a start.  He made the arrangement to meet Ivor Lesslar (lead guitar with Cells Unlimited) and a close friend of Donald Thaver.  Just some coffee and a friendly chat, John got this latest story.  Again thanks to both for their willingness to help with information on this blog.

                                   Ivor Lesslar, John Cher, Andy 

                            Donald Thaver sings Things @ Esplanade.
Performance by Transit @ The Esplanade. 60's Band Members from: Adapters, Cells Unlimited, Dukes, Moonglows, Wagon Wheels.


Mohd Jailani Pianist said...

Played with Donald in one show at former SBC. I found him to be one of the most versatile guitarist I ever played with.


I don't know Donald but this is an excellent tribute from John.


Interesting read, Andy. I sang with Sonny Bala and the Moonglows back in the 70's at Ion Lounge/Apollo Hotel. (Cedric cork/drums, Aaron See/piano, Reynous Chioh/bass and Sonny).


I share the same opinion as Md. Jailani: The part about Donald Thaver and his versatility as a guitarist. Him and Ivor Lesslar too. Their talent and playing style cover many genres of music.

I had the pleasure of playing music with both of them. With Donald from January, 1987 for 20+ years. I learnt a lot from both of them. I love and respect them as musicians. We had a great time.

We all did gigs together for many any years. All our gigs over the years were done with hardly any publicity. Very low key. At one stage we were the region's premier function band.


Fabian Foo said...

Dear Andy,

This article is informative about the local musicians in the 60's. It is credible that John Cher has great friendship with some of these musicians and still keep in contact with them.

My salute to him and you for keeping us informed of such details from that era but it is also heartening to see some of them still very keen to perform to their best in this time.

Let us continue to support many of our local musicians as and when they contribute their time and effort to bring good 60's music.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Again many thanks for all who have written in. Donald Thaver is popular with both his musician friends and his audiences. He has performed on numerous occasions all over the island for so many years.

I must thank both IVOR LESSLAR for helping us with the story and JOHN CHER for writing it.

Let's keep the party going.

John Cher said...

Dear Andy. To your credit, you have just earned another feather in the cap. From 3.15pm yesterday (Friday, 7th October) when this article was posted, to 9.15pm, yesterday, merely 6 hours later, the story was in 1st position in the TOP TEN POSTS OF THE WEEK! This is quite remarkable. Congrats Andy!

There is undoubtedly a large group of people who support your blog and who, equally, support the personalities of the 60s/70's music scene. Your blog is without doubt the most active and the most referred to by people who cant get enough of "Oldies".

Thanks for enlightening us with your comments, Irene Yap, Michael Bangar, Fabian Foo and of course, Mohd Jailani. On a personal note, I am flattered by the kind comment of everybody's favourite, M.C Mr Larry Lai. Thank you very much Larry!

I must express my sincere appreciation to Ivor Lesslar as well as you, Andy, for making this possible. I share your conviction that as far as is possible, the names of these musicians who were all responsible for creating SG's music history, should be documented and remembered by the present and future musicians of our country. The musicians of that turbulent era of SG, have in more ways than one, help to entertain and give inspiration to a whole generation of Singaporeans, the common folks who otherwise would have been denied a relatively cheap form of entertainment. Music, has been, is, and always will be good clean fun!

For having lifted the spirit of all the common folks, salute to all the Donald Thavers of Singapore!

My best wishes to all fellow lovers of Singapore's "Oldies" Music!

John Cher

Linda said...

Such a great post, Andy! Thank you so much for sharing. Thanks, as well, for your kind comments on my blog. I appreciate them very much and am going to check out the Thanksgiving link you share. Hope you have a great week! :)


Hi Andy! I just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work with the blog. I've been reading through it for the past month and learning a lot about a genre and decade I unfortunately never got to experience.

I actually have a question I'm hoping you might be able to answer for me. You see, I'm a film student from Australia and am really interested in using some of the music that I've read and been listening to thanks to your blog. One band which has really stuck out to me is 'The Melodians'. There cover of 'House Of The Rising Sun' is perfect for a short film that I'm making right now.

I was just wondering (and hoping) that you might know who published/mixed/recorded the song? Or even what record label they were with at the time of the song's creation as I'd like to contact them and ask if I may use the song.

Thank you once again! Keep up the recommendations! Loving the tunes! <3


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Sabine,

Just managed to read your mail. Give me a bit of time to see if I can get the details and listen to the You Tube recording.

Thanks for the visit.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

SABINE BATTEL please write to me again enclosing your email address which I shall not publish on the comment page.



17TH OCTOBER 2016.


Sometimes life can be as unpredictable, within a short time, it has become history. My condolence to his family for the loss.


So I've heard too. From Ivor Lesslar. Jerry Murad and me wanted to go see him last two Saturdays. Was told we can't. He was too weak.

RIP Donald Thaver!


May Donald rest in peace. Any wake information please.


Oh dear... May God Bless His Soul.


Thanks Andy. Sorry to hear bro. Hope his passing was calm and peaceful.


Sorry to hear the sad news. May God bless his soul.

FABIAN FOO said...

Oh dear. Sad to hear of another 60's musician leaving us. RIP. Condolences to the family.


Hi John,
Read your Donald Thaver write-up.