2008/07/19

Naomi & The Boys

Naomi Suriya & The Boys, with the original members featuring Robert Suriya, Peter Richards, Moses Tay, Henry Richards and Joe Ahmad. Their first great hit, "It's All Over" was composed by Robert Suriya.

Over the years, their successful recordings included Happy Happy Birthday Baby, I Know, Please Baby Please, Poncho, I'm The Loser, I'd Like To Know, As Life Goes On, Blue Mist, How was I To Know, It Doesn't Matter, Old Photographs, Why I'm Walking, I'm Crying Inside, Happy Birthday Sweetheart, If You Change Your Mind, A Woman's World, Bad Loser, I'll Never Be The Same, Don't Be Surprised, Today, He's Mine, Life I Wanna Lead, among others. A compilation of most of their recordings were released on CD some years ago.

10 comments:

JoeWuSeattleWaUSA said...

OK, I will confess, I had a very huge crush on Naomi Suriya when I was a teenager. Not that I ever met her in person. Her voice just caught my attention the first time I heard "It's All Over" on Rediffusion. Then I saw the EP on display at the record store nearby Bras Basah Road, where I would walk by everyday on the way to and from school. One look at her pretty photo and I knew I just had to buy that EP.

I ended up owning several Naomi and The Boys vinyls. Come to think of it, I believe I had a more complete Naomi and The Boys collection than I had of The Quests and all the other Singapore groups that I followed. Lord knows how many school lunches I sacrificed for the love of this girl whom I had never even met.

Turned out that Naomi Suriya was a constant topic of conversation among the boys at my secondary school. Looking back, I knew many of my friends also had a big crush on Naomi, but I didn't care. In my heart, I knew she loved me the best and was only toying with the affections of the other brats.

When I left Singapore in 1968, having to leave all my precious vinyl records behind, I did not physically hear any Singapore 60's Pop Music for the next 35 years. But my favorite songs always stayed on my mind, they never ever left me. All the Singapore singers and bands who galvanized my teenage years with pride and joy, they were my only links to my happy childhood days. As the years rolled by, the Singapore memories stayed strong only because of these songs that were always playing in my head.

Who could ever forget the wailing voice of Naomi Suriya? That poor girl always seemed to get stuck with a no-good, lousy cheating bum of a boyfriend. Even the one boy whom she loved the most left Singapore and never came back. No wonder she's still singing her heart out today for the loss of that biggest love of her life.

Today, when I hear Naomi singing her sad songs, I cannot help but feel bad that I never even said goodbye to her when I left the island. I guess I must have really broken her heart, the poor girl.

But I still love you, Naomi Suriya, wherever you are today. I promise you that the love we shared (in my head) in Singapore when we were young will never die.

Joe Wu

Anonymous said...

I was very surprised to come across this post today. Joe, I wish you had met Naomi. I know you would love her. I do. You see Naomi Suriya is my ex-sister-in-law. I remember going many times to pick her up after her shows and having sing-alongs in the car on the way home. I adore her and her sweet spirit even more than one can imagine. She was the glue that kept her family together. A talented person to be admired. I remember one time being in England and the girl in the beauty shop raving about Naomi and her music. I have lived in the States since 1975 and sadly to say, haven't seen her much over the years. Naomi, wherever you are, I hope you see this and know how much I enjoyed our days together and how I miss you, Love Julianne

JoeWuSeattleWaUSA said...

Dear Julianne,

Thank you so much for writing in.

I don't know if you have seen this video clip yet, but last year I uploaded at YouTube what I believe was Naomi Suriya's very last public performance, and that was in 1982.

Video clip courtesy of Alphonso Soosay, who also told me that was the very last time he saw Naomi. Yes, that girl seems to have vanished into the thick American smog.

Naomi & The Boys - Happy Happy Birthday, Baby
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpa7jfxUnsE

Anonymous said...

i met naomi when i was playing on stage in seremban at the kgv hall in early sixties. i,like others loved her at first sight and sound (her songs!}. today,i'm past sixty, i still play her songs late into the night thanks to youtube and joewu.i still admire all the local bands that had the courage to face the teens brought up on western music and singers. the quests,stylers etc.i wish ihad all my collection of record to play instead of lending out and never getting them back. from vseb

JoeWuSeattleWaUSA said...

Dear Vseb,

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

Naomi Suriya was a truly special singer, wasn't she? A real pop goddess who belonged to us, her devoted Naomi And The Boys fans. And what a worthy pop queen this girl was!! Forty years after she ruled the airwaves of Singapore and Malaysia, her musical legacy is still as strong and energetic today as ever before.

Vseb, you are a most fortunate soul, indeed, to have met Naomi Suriya in person, and in the early 60's, too, which was before she and The Boys made it big. I can only wish that someday I would have the opportunity to meet her in person. I understand she's residing somewhere in the United States, and if I could, I would go from door to door looking for my childhood goddess.

Naomi seems to want to shun the limelight now, but I am hoping that YouTube can help keep the light burning brightly for Ms. Suriya among her faithful devotees. Those people who still have their Naomi And The Boys records or CD's are very blessed.

Anonymous said...

I came across Naomi and the Boys for the first time a few months go, thanks to a link from a new Singapore TV Series, set in the sixties. You are right - this music has a real emotional appeal even for a Englishman now lucky enough to be living in Singapore. I hope Naomi is still going strong somewhere - wouldn't it be great to have ber back in Singapore one more time...?

cdgrayling

Flameevans said...

Please could anybody hook me up with some of Naomi & The Boys music!?!

Anonymous said...

Dear Flame Evans,

Try Universal's 100 Greatest released in Singapore in May 2009. Contains 8 tracks from Naomi and The Boys. You might also want to check out their double cd release from 1994 released on Polygram. But that is now rare and really hard to find.

Regards.

Joseph.C.Pereira.

livecompany100@gmail.com said...

Hi. My name is John Richards. My father Henry was the original bass guitarist for the group. I came across this blog while searching wishfully for info on the group to present something special to my father on his 80th Birthday on April 1, 2013. So glad I found it. My father would be chuffed when he sees some of the youtube clips with the album cover on them. Hope to hear from band members that knew my Dad. Would like some contact numbers in hope they may want to pass on a birthday greeting or even come to Perth, Western Australia
where we have lived since 1965.

Pharimala Pillai said...

I am Phari from Malaysia. I am a huge fan of Naomi and the boys band. When I was about 9 or 10, I had the opportunity to watch her life performance in our little club when my late dad who was a Railway Station Master at that time organized the event.
I was too little to remember the whole event but my favorite song that she sang was Happy Happy Birthday Baby. Her records were sold after the event and my dad bought it too. We used to play it all the time. Unfortunately when record players went out of style, we lost all our records when we moved house. Anyway I remembered every lyric and in my forties,I performed her song very often when I was singing with my band in Seremban for weddings and events. Her song was a hit each time I sang it. I still adore her and just yesterday looked up the internet for stuff about her. She has a very mesmerizing voice.I don't sing with my band anymore but I still listen to her songs and sing at home !