Mike and Herb

Brothers Mike and Herb van Dort, aka the Beatles of Malaysia, recorded two SPs, accompanied by the Silver Strings. The song titles included I've Been A Fool, Let 'Em Come, I Don't Want You Around Anymore and What Can I Do (Composed by Shirley Nair)


Anonymous said...

Dear Vernon,

Of the two singles released the second single is more interesting. It was 1966 and the scene was surely changing. Dickie Tan had replaced the original lead guitarist and he steps out on the A side. Rhythmist Merlin strums in a funky style that was years ahead in terms of syncopation. On the B side the drummer adds a heavy beat. And this is still 1966. They might have started out as pretty boys but the two singles showed they had talent and depth.


JoeWuSeattleWaUSA said...

Talk about carrying around a television image stubbornly in your head for over forty years!

MIKE and HERB. This was a duo whom I only saw once on black and white TV Singapura, way back in 1966, but I did not even catch their names that day. I somehow still remember quite clearly their performance to this very day, yet I never ever caught the name of the song.

For over forty years I just assumed that they were The Cyclones, brothers Siva and James Choy. I found out recently that this duo was really Mike and Herb van Dort, the song that they sang that day was "I've Been A Fool," and the band accompanying them were The Silver Strings.

This song is a great sample of Singapore 60's Pop Music. The Silver Strings were sizzling hot back then!! Lead guitarist Dickie Tan was a legitimate guitar hero.

I had actually been searching for this song ever since I started recollecting my childhood pop music, starting in 2002, thirty-five years from the time I left Singapore in 1968, but it was like looking for a needle in the haystack because I did not know the names of the singers, nor the title and lyrics of the song.

But I had always loved the beat of the song and the energy of the brothers and the band. I could recall very clearly the steady rapping on the cowbell. It was like a metronome ticking defiantly from side to side.

Here is my four decades old recollection of Mike and Herb singing "I've Been A Fool" on black and white television in 1966.

When the music started playing, beginning with the loud fuzz guitar chord intro, and then quickly into the "Louie Louie" licks, the cameras panned towards a young man coming from offstage. He had long black hair, looking just like Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones. I believe he was wearing tight black leather pants, a black shirt, and black boots. As the cameras followed him, you could see him playing the tambourine to the beats of the cowbells as he made his way onstage.

Another young man could now be seen in the middle of the television stage, rocking to the beats of the song. He also had long black hair, black leather pants, black top and black boots on. Then this second man started singing the first verse.

"Don't wanna hear from you again anymore
Cos you have broken the promise to be true"

By the time the first refrain came around, the duo were now together on stage singing in harmony, and rocking side by side. Sounded as tight as The Cyclones to me!

"I saw you there
Giving him all the love you had"

And that's how I have remembered Mike and Herb in my head for over forty years. I don't recall The Silver Strings being there on television that day. I believe it was just the two brothers lip-synching to the audio tape of the song. Wearing those long black wigs, no doubt, to simulate the long-haired Rolling Stones. Very cool for 1966.

(P.S. My deepest apologies to Mike and Herb if I have remembered any of these details wrong all these years.)

Anonymous said...


Your wish has come to pass forty years after the event. Mike and Herb have tracks one and two on cd five in the new Universal compilation released today. May 22, 2009.