Tuesday, January 11, 2022

''Play It Again, Sam.'' Singapore 60's Music Living Legend

Sam Gan Pianist - A Singapore Music Living Legend 

It was a new year surprise when Sam Gan wrote all the way from Perth with a lovely letter about his music beginnings. 

Thanks Sam and a great 2022 to you. Have a safe and pleasant year.

A New Year Letter from the Ole Vic.

Hi Andy,

I did my First performance at the VMH in 1951 as the winner of the Junior Section of the Singapore Chinese YMCA Piano Competition and played the winning pieces with the Governor of Singapore Sir Franklin Gimson and Lady Gimson presenting the trophy to the winners of the competition. I was 11 years old then and my music teacher was Mr. Benjamin Khoo. 

The next year, 1952, I won the Radio Malaya Series 3 Talentime, again performing at the Victoria Memorial Hall with Kingsley Morando as the compere and the Radio Orchestra conducted by Corr Reif... the numbers I did was a medley of the top songs of the month that included, "In the cool, cool, cool of the evening, Cuddle up a little closer, Jealous Heart and the piece de resistance a Boogie Woogie number composed by Winifred Atwell. The prize money was $25. 

My music teacher for Pops was Mr. Cecil Wilson who was at that time, the bandleader of the Great World Cabaret Orchestra.  After winning the Talentime I was dubbed as the Boogie Woogie Wonder Boy and began doing a lot of performing at different events... all for free... my late father was the one who wanted me to be famous doing all these performances when all I wanted to do as a young boy was to play football, table tennis and other things young boys do... but he was the motivator and I'm eternally grateful for his wisdom and foresight.

Sam Gan, Perth, Australia. 1.1.2022.


Come on my reading friends, let's write in and comment about Sam. He's in his 80's now. Play it again, Sam.*

Sam Gan plays, "I love you for sentimental reasons."

*"Play it again Sam." 
No one really said these words in the movie, 'Casablanca' [1942]. The actual words were, "Play it Sam," spoken by actress Ingrid Bergman to piano player Sam  [Dooley Wilson].

Sam Gan with Michael Bangar behind him in dark glasses. 

According to Mr. Bangar, they all had the pleasure and thrill of jamming with the Maestro at a gig when he was in Singapore on holiday about five years ago. Extreme left was Horace Wee [red guitar], keboardist Hans Solo behind and Francis Danam on bass guitar. Jerry Murad is hidden by the music stand and the late Andrew Soh was on drums. 

[Comment/Photo by courtesy of Mr. Michael Bangar.]



Hi Andy,
Keyboard maestro SAM GAN turns 82 this January 31st.
Same day, as Saxman Leo Fernandez, turns 72.


Didn't know he's still in Perth.
Can recognise him.
I Hope it's the same Sam I know.
Brother of Abel Gan - Western Union Band.


Yes, Andy,
Abel Gan keyboard player of Western Unio Band is Sam Gan's younger brother.

Richard R. said...

ANDY... but off cos, As a teen, as a radio fan, listening throughout the day...
*Play it again,SAM* Can be heard over the airwaves, caressing the ivories.. On those unforgettable evergreens.
Thank You, SAM, for those memories,


I met him in Perth. A fun guy.

SAM Gan said...

Hi Andy....Thanks for posting " I love you for sentimental reasons" I quite like the intro because it was not planned when I recorded this song on a Yamaha Clavinova, at a friend's music school in Kuching,(2010 ?) as part of a CD I was doing for the family of the Late Dato Amar Wee Hood Teck, a well known figure in the Singapore/ Malaysian horse racing circuit with wins in the Singapore Gold Cup with Siapa Rajah in the 1970's ,and brother of Dato Wee Cho Yaw, the scion of UOB, as a tribute of my friendship with him...no rehearsals, ONE Take....the inspiration comes from the sound of the First Left Hand note (Eb).
Please checkout Pulau Bali from the same Youtube channel you found for "I love you for sentimental reasons" and also my interpretation of " Elenor Rigby. "
I will try and post the rest of the CD with my pianistic interpretations of some Chinese Classics like The Moon represents my Heart, Lover's Tears to name a few.
Cheers and thanks to all who commented....Much Appreciated form Perth .....Sam Gan


I was thinking back and I now remember that I had met up with a Tonni Wei who ws the SAF Bandmaster. He told me that Sam Gan was his mentor and that he did play at the Tanglin Club back in the old days.

Sam told him to pursue music seriously and the rest is now history. Guess Sam forgot to add this to his many accolades that he received.

Guess humility prevails with our dear old Sam.

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