SINGAPORE 60's: ANDY's POP MUSIC INFLUENCE IS MY PERSONAL MUSIC AND MEMORY TRAIL. PICTURES TELL STORIES BUT I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO YOU TUBE VIDEOS, AUDIO TRACKS OR IMAGES. THEY HAVE BEEN UPLOADED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES SO INFORM ME IF COPYRIGHTED AND THEY WILL BE DELETED. ANDY LIM (NOVEMBER, 2008).
Saturday, August 12, 2017
The Peggy Tann Story Part One: By Henri Gann
Henri Gann trusted me when he decided to let me in on these stories about our pop music stars from the 50's onwards. I respect his wishes and remind readers that his publishings have been copyrighted.
I must thank him again for the time and effort he took to research Ms Peggy Tann. This posting is a National Day 2017 gift from Henri Gann to the people of Singapore. ******************* Near 1,200 viewers since its release. 😃👍 ******************* Remembering Peggy (Part 1)
"Peggy Tann could very well be Singapore's next great singing star. She had several necessary qualities to reach stardom. A style and identity, talent and showmanship and a desire to be a big name artist."
... popular Hong Kong Radio DJ Tony Orchez (1962).
She was a singer, jazz pianist and organist and a fashion icon in Singapore 60s. She had excellent taste in clothes, food and music ( Tony Orchez '62 ). She was elegant, classy and beautiful; the type of girl you would see in the fashion magazine like Her World or today's Vogue.
Music, Dance Halls, Hotel Lounges and Jazz Music in Singapore 60's
Jazz music was popular in Singapore 60's. At that time, it would not be uncommon to hear the music from a 3 or 4 piece jazz band echoing from the hotel lobby. I can recollect the deep distinctive notes from the double-double bass, the sweeping brush strokes of the snare drums, the sexy expressive sound of a saxophone and a smooth voice of a singer-pianist whenever I walked past the Adelphi Hotel or the Raffles Hotel. This was the jazz music of Peggy and the HH Tann Orchestra.
Peggy and HH Tann Orchestra
Peggy Tann was an all round musician. She was not only a singer but could also play the piano and the organ which is an instrument few can master because of its difficult bass pedals. She had her music training in classical piano and her vocal coaching at the school.
Peggy was inspired by her father HH Tan who was himself a talented musician. He was a saxophonist and a band leader with his own orchestra. It was an unusual career for him considering that most of the professional musicians of his time in Singapore were either Eurasians or from the Philippines.
He was also a very modest man who shunnedpublicity (Straits Times Jan 28, 1972). He gave Peggy a head start by focusing her early appearances only in exclusive places.
In Singapore 60's, it was very difficult for a young musician to gain entry into the business. In the report " Musical Practice of Jazz in Singapore " of the National Archives, it was mentioned that within the musicians' group, there were those who played for the 5-star hotels and others that played for the amusement parks cabarets: New World, Great World and Happy or Gay World.
The main difference between these two types of musicians was the ability to read notes. The Trekkers members had the opportunity to meet professional musicians such as Charles Lazaroo, Winston Filmer, Sam Gan and Louis Soliano when we had our short stint playing at Radio and Television Singapura and at Rediffusion.
We were also fortunate to have met the up and coming musicians like Philip Chinand his Blue Combo and the Key Notes when we were at the Great World Cabaret Battle of the Bands contest.
Peggy's ability to read music from her classical piano training together with the guidance from her musician father put her at an advantage over many of the amateurs and she gained professional musician status in a very short time. She was still in her teens when she achieved professional status.
Tough Tenure: In the same article, ballroom dancing was also reported as a popular form of entertainment. It was said that while the VIPs and expatriates would go to the 5-star Raffles, Adelphi and Cockpit Hotels, the locals and off duty military personnel would often patronise the Dance Halls or Cabarets of the Amusement Parks.
It was at the El Amigo Nightclub of the New World Amusement Park where Peggy had her early start in show business like many that came after her. The club was at Kitchener Road located in a historical part of old Singapore and named after the British Earl Kitchener from World War 1.
It was also in the Jalan Besar area, formerly a very rough area part of town. Still, it was here that Peggy first learned about jazz while playing as a duet with her dad. The tough tenure at the club gave her the equivalence of the experience that legendary jazz artistes from the New OrleansPreservation Hall of America would have gone through.
Please make comments if you wish, especially if you are familiar with Peggy Tann and HH Tann. Part Two would follow soon. Happy National Day 2017 to all Singaporeans near and far. Images and Collage: Henri Gann (right). Copyrights Reserved (California, USA).